We’ve spent the last three weeks asking people to nominate their local food heroes and let us know of any hidden gems they would like us to visit and more importantly share.
Less than a month into our #BMWTheTaste Tour and we have been inundated with suggestions around the country of places to visit, some are a little closer to home than others. One that had totally escaped our radar was Whelehan Wines in Loughlinstown.
Located in what once housed the very old school Silver Tassie pub and restaurant, now stands a bright, modern and spacious building which has been tastefully renovated to house one of the best selection of directly imported wines on sale in the country.
Although on the main Bray Road you will need to take a small spaghetti junction detour to find the place but it is well worth making the trip. The wine store and restaurant are very much interlinked, with hundreds of well laid out shelves and individual tasting notes Whelehan’s is probably one of the best merchandised stores you will ever experience.
Add this to the fact you can choose your wine and pay a market leading €5 for corkage and enjoy it over some dinner in the restaurant and you’re off to a pretty good start.
David Whelehan himself is very much involved in the day to day running and was busy on the floor the day we stopped by, he makes a point of visiting the wineries personally himself allowing him to carefully curate a very terroir driven list.
We stopped by early on busy Sunday evening, everyday the team has a selection of interesting wines on tasting and we were beyond impressed with the knowledge and selection on offer. After spending a good 40 minutes reading the many tasting notes dotted around as though they were the latest best seller you just couldn’t put down we eventually grabbed a table by the window over looking their cute outdoor terrace.
The menu is definitely a lot more exciting than your average wine shop/bistro, Whelehan had been more than fortunate with the calibre of staff in the winebar, with Head Chef Nick Clapham who is ex Seapoint in Monkstown and Martina Delaney (ex L’Ecrivain) out front, who not only buys in the wines with David but also is one of the country’s most loved and respected sommeliers.
With a heavy emphasis on the wine it’s no surprise to see each dish has a wine pairing, what we really liked was the fact this was available by the glass or the bottle.
Prices range from €5, which is practically unheard of in Dublin at present, here you need not fear God awful house wine, because they import all of their wines they can afford to keep the margins tight and reward the customer with a wine they hope you will love.
As we were only in for some light bites we started with big bowl of Pan Seared Gambas (€12.50) served on some toasted sourdough and smothered with roasted vegetables and a buerre blanc sauce which was a match made in heaven for our delicate glass of Domaine du Colombier, Chablis, 2015 (€7.50)
Across the table a perfectly formed, meltingly delicious Chicken Liver Parfait (€10.50) arrived served with a delectable “W” fig jam which was well paired with a keenly priced, silky smooth glass of Sliding Hill, Pinot Noir, 2012 (€7.50) from the Marlborough region of New Zealand, which is seen by many in wine circles as an area producing some on the best Pinot Noir in the world right now.
We finished off the only way you should in a wine bar, with a cheese plate (€12). Any wine bar worth their salt needs to have a cheese board that can put it up to the cracking wines on offer. Provenance is not something Whelehan’s shy away from with many local producers listed on the menu even down to their coffee which is their own blend made in Wicklow.
Our Wine Finds
Whelehan’s Wine is truly one of a kind, it’s the type of place you will happily go out of the way for. Interesting wines at competitive prices, great food and expert wine knowledge all served up with a relaxed, warm friendliness. We just hope we haven’s spoilt it for the locals by sharing their well kept secret.
Dinner for two, including one bottle of Sparklng Water and two glasses of wine came to €53.95.
Silver Tassie, Loughlinstown,
T: 01 901 1144