Wednesday 17 October 2018

Tables at this tiny Irish Michelin star restaurant sold out in just ONE minute

Heron & Grey. Photo: Tony Gavin
Heron & Grey. Photo: Tony Gavin
Damien Grey prepares some food at the Michelin Star restaurant Heron and Grey in the Blackrock Market. Photo: Tony Gavin
Andrew Heron and Damien Grey of Heron and Grey
Andrew Heron and Damien Grey at the Michelin Star restaurant Heron and Grey in the Blackrock Market Photo: Tony Gavin 6/10/2016
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

Tables at Heron and Grey – one of Ireland’s 13 Michelin star restaurants – sold out in one minute yesterday.

Reservations at the tiny 22-seater inside Blackrock Market for the first quarter of next year opened at 10am yesterday.

Some 3,000 people scrambled to book one of the 860 seats available until April 2018 via the restaurant's new online booking system Tock.

Potential customers from places as far flung as Australia and the US, as well as the rest of Europe, attempted to book a table at Heron and Grey.

Andrew Heron told independent.ie that despite the demand, he and partner Damien Grey have no plans to expand the restaurant, or to open for more nights a week.

The restaurant, which has earned Michelin star status for two years in a row, changes its menu every two weeks and is essentially run by a four-person team.

It opens three nights a week.

“People come in and say what are you doing the other three nights of the week – we’re cooking it,” Andrew says.

“It’s seasonal, that’s what dictates what goes on in the menu. We now have a year and a half’s worth of knowledge. We’re always trying to play on what’s available in the season.”

“For example we know that from the Comeragh mountains, we’re going to get the best lamb, it comes back in season again in February. We know for sure we’ll be dealing with lamb in that month.”

“We try to break every part of the animal down in a different way and take a nose to tail approach. One night you’ll get the neck of the lamb, another you’ll get a different part cooked in a different way.”

Menus at Heron and Grey can contain 11 courses, and they’re served over three hours.

“Some menus are suited to a meateater, some are suited to vegetarians, or someone who’s pescatarian. Our menu changes and adapts all the time. There’s a journey from an initial whack of flavour, or intense flavour at the start of the menu… and there’s a journey and a slow down towards the end of the meal. It takes three hours to bring you through that journey.”

“You’re typically looking for a customer who comes in and is just so engaged. We’re so engaged in our product so we love a customer that’s engaged.

“We evolve as our customers evolve every night. It’s an organic thing. We document every night what did we learn, what did the customer tell us.”

The restaurant takes influences from the west coast of America, Heron says.

“San Francisco is a great place to look to, it’s a food hub of America. Saison serves about 18 guests and the idea is the same mentality to us – take prime guests on prime nights and serve them the best you can.”

He added: “This has been a learning experience for ourselves. That’s what it is afterall - it’s treated as a test kitchen, we still test a menu every couple of weeks and bring it to our guests.”

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