Destination Dillisk

by Alison,  20/07/2014

Last weekend we were lucky enough to go to Dillisk. Dillisk is a pop-up restaurant that is currently running in Aughrusbeg, Connemara, Co. Galway. I say lucky enough because this pop-up is now fully sold out. We had never been to a pop up restaurant, so we didn't know what to expect.

Katie Sanderson and Jasper O'Connor are the driving force behind this beautifully curated experience. I call it an experience because calling it a dinner would do a disservice to the atmosphere they have created in what was up until recently an abandoned boat shed. Everything within the space appears to have been created with community and interaction as the goal.

From the minute we hopped into the local taxi in Clifden we were meeting and chatting to new people. On arrival there was a gorgeous rose gin and tonic to greet you and let you stand and chat to the other guests. The seating arrangement inside was one long sociable table. I can only image that the benches outside are in high demand on a clear evening as the setting is stunning and would directly overlook the setting sun.

The interior is decorated with unique objects. From items that look like they have been scavenged in the local area to some such as the beautiful maps that were made specially for the project. They have gotten around the lack of infrastructure in a unique way. The composting toilet is definitely a room with a view.

As for the food. This was simply lovely. Light, refreshing, satisfying and moreish are some words that come to mind. The menu is based around seasonal and local produce. Some items have been grown in their garden, others foraged in the locality and the rest sourced from local suppliers. The combinations were beautiful and unusual in my experience. Definitely a chance to try things I would never think to order. There were seven courses over the evening but nothing was ever too  much or too heavy. We left feeling satiated but not stuffed. 

Another nice part of the evening was that aside from the welcoming drink you need to bring your own refreshments. This again created a bit of a communal atmosphere as some bottles had a story behind them. Like ours. It was the last of the batch we brought back from South Africa in 2013 and it seemed a lovely way to celebrate some very special food. 

Throughout the evening there was a chance to chat to some of the chefs and it was lovely to feel their enthusiasm for the project. I was lucky enough to quickly meet Katie as I was checking out the view outside. What started out as a wish for them to spend a summer together in Connemara soon spiralled into a large collaboration as ideas took hold. 

We recently went to the Slow Food Festival in Lisdoonvarna and Darina Allen passionately spoke about Ireland's amazing produce and the fact that if the quality is there people will travel for it. Dillisk definitely supports this point. There were about 30 people in the restaurant when we were there and it seemed that everybody had traveled to get there. For us, Dillisk was definitely a destination worth travelling for.

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