Review: Underground Restaurant, Orwell

Joanna Schaffalitzky — 

Last Saturday night, my beau, my parents and I travelled down to Dodder Park Road in Orwell to sample a new underground restaurant, run by the very hospitable Sheila O'Kelly.

When we arrived we were shown to our table of four in the corner. There was another table of four, a table of six and a large table of eight arranged through her living room. We were a little close to the other group of four and the group of six when getting into our seats, but once seated there was room for everyone. The room itself is a warm red colour which is low lit, making for a very intimate dining experience.

Upon being seated we were handed a glass of Prosecco and directed to the menus on the table which detailed what we would be eating that evening along with the date of the next underground restaurant.

The starter was a selection of Mediterranean style starters; olive and tomato bread, hummus, tomato salad and thin lentil cakes (they were described as crisps on the menu, but were more cake like in their consistency). The tomato salad and hummus were served to the table in large bowls for sharing and the lentil cakes were served warm from trays. The bread, cut into thick slices, was passed around the tables on a large platter.

The tomato salad was delicious and very fresh tasting, I could've quite happily eaten the whole bowl of it myself. The hummus was also very tasty with just the right amount of garlic through it. I liked the flavour of the lentil cakes but found them a little dry, this was improved by eating them with the tomato salad. The bread was delicious and I had to have two slices of it, even though this was foolish with two more courses to come.

There was a nice pause while we waited for our main course of Boeuf Bourguignon with mashed potatoes and carrots. This was very flavoursome, and you could really taste the wine that was in the sauce, but not in an unpleasant way. Unfortunately I was unable to eat very much of it as I had been seated beside the radiator and had gotten a little too warm to comfortably eat hot food. But my both my parents and Jon thought that the beef was very good.

There was a choice of three desserts, though you were welcome to try all three if you thought you could manage it! I had the orange salad, but there was also tiramisu and chocolate mousse. The orange salad was again served in a communal bowl for the table, the tiramisu was dished out in portions and the chocolate mousse was served in tumblers. My mum and Jon had the tiramisu, which they both enjoyed, though it could have been a tad more boozy, and my dad had the chocolate mousse, which disappeared so fast, that when I went to take a picture of it, all that was left was an empty glass. He said that it was a proper chocolate mousse. The orange salad was nicely refreshing, though could possibly have benefited from having some blood orange mixed in with the normal oranges to add a little bite.

We finished up the evening with coffee for the boys and chamomile tea for the girls, which rounded off the meal nicely.

All in all it was a very enjoyable evening and the atmosphere throughout was relaxed and intimate, like any good restaurant. If I were ever to run a similar evening I would have gone about it the same way; a cold starter, an easy to prepare in advance main and cold desserts. The price for the evening was €25 per head, not bad for three courses and we brought our own wine (no corkage charges) I would definitely consider going again, maybe in the summer, to see the change in cuisine.

The next underground restaurant will be held on Saturday 13th March, if you're interested in attending contact Sheila at for further details.


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