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The Irish Heather


John Jameson
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I have been reading through the various threads on DOV and decided that I might as well start the DOV Irish Heather before somebody else does.

It is 1115pm and I've just finished a 13 hour shift, my second in as many days. Yesterday we served the DOV menu to 85 guests & fed over 60 from the Heather's regular menu. Booze sales were off the scales with over 200 pints of Guinness alone sold. Our lunch was strong which is fairly standard for a Friday and in the Salty Tongue Deli we made sandwiches to order for 42 people.

Tonight we served the DOV menu to 78 guests, fed 52 guests from our regular menu and catered a party of 32 in the Shebeen. Booze sales again were strong, but I was delighted to see an increase in Whisk(e)y sales due mostly to a Staff Chat on how to beef up the check average. Our Lunch was 32 pax, and the Deli was closed due to staff shortages.

Tomorrow I have capped it at 54 for DOV. We usually have a brisk Sunday afternoon with late lunches and "quiet pint" drinkers. In addition we have a reservation in the Shebeen for a wake of 40 plus (not all at one time)...young chap passed away, very sad. It is also my night off, see you at WEST.

Last night we had 2 cancellations which we refilled with walk-ins and a no-show of five. I called the no-show this morning and was greeted with the level of ignorance that I expected..."with all the bookings that you had I didn't think that you would mind". Last night also delivered a curve ball in the form of a regular customer who turned up with 22 guests instead of the 16 that he had reserved. Fortunately, I was able to slide a couple of later seatings over to the Shebeen's mezzanine and thereby accommodate the larger group.

Tonight we had 3 cancellations all of which I was able to refill by simply answering the phone. Some of the dining public have become reservation savy and now call on their preferred day to grab any recently canceled seats. Tonight also saw the first "no alcohol please, just water with our meals" table, I'm sure that it won't be our last.

I wasn't able to open the Deli today as two of my staff were ill and I had to work the day bar shift because the increased volume caused by DOV means that I need the extra legs on the evening shift. This is one of the greatest challenges posed by DOV, we can't hire an extra body or two for the DOV period so I end up working double shifts in order to free up day personnel for the busier evening shifts. By the end of the two weeks I am knackered.

To ensure that things run as smoothly as possible we also take several precautions.

1. On the busier nights we have a food runner (something only done at Christmas & on St. Patrick's Day)

2. Most every night I prop myself up at the pass to personally oversee the plate ebb and flow

3. My sister works in the dining room

4. I cap the number of guests on the chef's night off, my night off, etc.

5. I allow 2 hours per seating

6. People are not asked to leave, but are relocated to the conservatory, Shebeen etc.

7. I set up a DOV reservation line

8. I take every reservation & arrange every seating plan (nobody else to blame when things go wrong)

So far we haven't received any complaints about anything (touch wood) although I know that we probably won't be able to keep this up for the two weeks.

Perhaps my little blurb will give some of you an insight into what it is like to steer an establishment through DOV mayhem.

Cheers,

Sean Heather

Edited by John Jameson (log)

MAY THE WIND AT YOUR BACK ALWAYS BE YOUR OWN, MAY THE ROAD RISE TO MEET YOU AND SPLIT YOUR FOREHEAD AND IF YOU COULD SHITE WALKING YOU'D BE A HORSE OF A MAN

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I just returned from dinner at the Irish Heather tonight. Since this thread is already started, I thought I would post my review here. I started with the Smoked Tomato Soup, Creme Fraiche, and Basil Oil

which my dinner partner liked. My main was the Coq Au Vin And Caramelized Onion, Celery Root Puree, Green Beans, Pan Jus. I have never tried this dish before, but I liked how the chicken was wrapped in the onions. The celery root puree was light and had a melt-in-your-mouth quality; it tasted like celery flavored mash potatoes. For dessert, I had the Jameson Whisky And Dark Chocolate Pot Au Creme, Raspberry Compote, and Sugar Cookie. The mousse was creamy and thick and there were enough raspberries to eat with the mousse. I liked that it wasn't overly sweet, and the chewy sugar cookies were a nice touch to dip into the mousse. I drank a Ginger Lady cocktail made with Paddy Irish Whiskey.

My dinner partner had the Salmon Ravioli, Lemon Caper Beurre Blanc which we thought at first was made with tuna. :unsure: His main was the Dark Beer Braised Beef Shortribs, Blue Cheese Polenta, Spinach and Fennel, Pan Jus . The beef was moist and I ate the polenta because he doesn't like blue cheese. He had the Apple Tart Tatin, Cinnamon Ice Cream, Sour Cream Sauce for dessert. I didn't see any sour cream sauce and the ice cream was 75% melted when it came to the table, but he liked the tatin. He drank a Snakebite, made with Harp Lager and cider.

The food overall was not bad and a good deal. However, it was almost 20 minutes before we had our water poured and we had to search for a waitress to take our order. When she came into the area to give some utensils to another table, I smiled at her as a signal that we were ready to order, but she only smiled back and walked away. Perhaps I should've waved her over instead. Two other tables came later and she had their water poured before they sat down, asked them what they wanted to drink and checked up on their meal every so often, while we were relatively ignored. I had expected somewhat better service as Sean had sounded very courteous and accomodating in arranging reservations on the phone. I would return for the food, but I hope the service will be a little more attentive than it was tonight.

Edited by Fluffy (log)
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I'll be there on sat with family in tow.

Always love hangin at the Heather.

Can't wait for the Whisky.

Bowmore Darkest please.

BTW, any chance to try the Middleton?

Just kiddin'.

Cheers

slowfood/slowwine

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I was there for dinner on Thurs night. Quite enjoyed the shandy for a drink. I had the hand made ravioli and ordered the mushroom strusel(nice and flaky). For the main course, the beef ribs served with polenta( flavourful and moist-meat comes off the bone easily and spinach and some other vegetable( cooked with a good crisp bite and dessert was the mousse(well, what can I say, if you are a chocolate lover- too die for. As Oliver says " more please" All good, comfort food for a winter night. I will go again and try the rest of their menu when DOV is over. I think I have gone out every night this week with one day off.

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Just got back from the Irish Heather. The service was fine and so was the food.

Started with the salmon ravioli, as did my bf and mom. My dad had the salad. Both the ravioli and the salad was fine, if unremarkable. Then I had the beer-braised shortribs and the blue cheese polenta, which was also fine. The meat was tender, but needed a bit of salt. It wasn't incredibly flavourful, and the portion (for us) was on the small side. My mom and my bf had the whiskey and chocolate pot au creme, which they both enjoyed but the accompanying sugar cookies were underbaked and had that raw dough taste. My dad had the tarte tartin which he enjoyed very much (I didn't get to sample that). I had the sugar nut pie with coconut ice and this was the highlight of my meal. The tart was chock full of nuts, and it wasn't very sweet at all. I especially liked the coconut ice, it was rich with the coconut milk, but refreshing at the same time.

We then ordered the curry fries, which my bf liked very much. I was kind of indifferent, because I like my fries very crisp and these were thick and soggy. My bf likes soft french fries though.

We all had beers, though I don't recall exactly what everyone drank. I had the "Black and Tan" (Guiness and a lighter-coloured beer) but I liked my bf's "Guiness and Black" (Guiness and Ribena) better.

(Then we went for coffee at the Elysian Room and I had the "decadant chocolate cake" because I was still hungry. :raz: )

All in all, the Irish Heather wasn't a bad experience. The food was a pretty good deal, with the desserts being the best part of the meal.

Edited by Ling (log)
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I went to the Heather on Monday for DOV.

I had been hangin' to check it out, and was impressed by the decor and the atmosphere as soon as I walked in.

We were a touch before 5, I asked if we could sit and begin early but unfortunately because of the pressure on the kitchen to be ready on time we sat in the beer garden for a pint before dinner. @ 5 we made our way upstairs for our resovation. We were greeted and treated very well by our Irish server. After we ordered we waited 30 minutes and was then told due to the kitchen being slammed by the pub our first course would arrive shortly. Fair enough and I continued to enjoy my 2nd Harp. I had the beet roulade with goat cheese, interesting idea all though it lacked seasoning and depth of flavour. I tried my mates ravioli and it was a better choice, simple and tasty.

Next came my main course, the coq au vin. Again, an interesting idea stuffing the onions with the chook. But also lacking depth of flavour. My chicken tasted like it had been boiled in water and shredded from the bone, the mash was lumpy and starchy, sorry chef but it was a dissapointment. The ribs were tasty and well cooked, the polenta also.

For dessert came a tart tatin. Not much of a tatin really, just a few slices of apple baked on puff. Maybe it was my 3rd pint playin tricks on me but it tasted heavyly of salt too. The ice cream was good though. The mousse was rich, thick and tasty.

Overall the service was great, honest and tentative to our needs.

I must say I didn't have great expectations of what I would recieve food wise at the heather. So I wasn't too dissapointed with what I had, but good pub food ain't that hard to do. Maybe chef coulda spent more time in the kitchen and less running food.

I will return to the heather though, if only for a pint, or 2, or 3, or 4........

Edited by RooStew (log)
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Just got back from the Irish Heather. The service was fine and so was the food.

Started with the salmon ravioli, as did my bf and mom. My dad had the salad. Both the ravioli and the salad was fine, if unremarkable. Then I had the beer-braised shortribs and the blue cheese polenta, which was also fine. The meat was tender, but needed a bit of salt. It wasn't incredibly flavourful, and the portion (for us) was on the small side. My mom and my bf had the whiskey and chocolate pot au creme, which they both enjoyed but the accompanying sugar cookies were underbaked and had that raw dough taste. My dad had the tarte tartin which he enjoyed very much (I didn't get to sample that). I had the sugar nut pie with coconut ice and this was the highlight of my meal. The tart was chock full of nuts, and it wasn't very sweet at all. I especially liked the coconut ice, it was rich with the coconut milk, but refreshing at the same time.

We then ordered the curry fries, which my bf liked very much. I was kind of indifferent, because I like my fries very crisp and these were thick and soggy. My bf likes soft french fries though.

We all had beers, though I don't recall exactly what everyone drank. I had the "Black and Tan" (Guiness and a lighter-coloured beer) but I liked my bf's "Guiness and Black" (Guiness and Ribena) better.

(Then we went for coffee at the Elysian Room and I had the "decadant chocolate cake" because I was still hungry.  :raz: )

All in all, the Irish Heather wasn't a bad experience. The food was a pretty good deal, with the desserts being the best part of the meal.

Hey Ling sounds like we had the same meal and the same experience.

I found the beef also lacking somewhat and the sauce lacking very much.

The Heather is much better than it was last night.

We all enjoyed the whisky/whiskey list and ordered off that list.

It made us happy.

We also ordered a few sides of the fries along with the mushroom strudel along with the cheese plate. All was done well.

slowfood/slowwine

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The Heather is much better than it was last night.

Since Friday evening I have been trying to figure out what to write about our experience at the Irish Heather. We decided to try it after seeing that other eg-ers were heading there for dine out, researched a bit, thought the menu sounded enticing etc.

They were having the same off night in my opinion on Friday. We did summon the chance to discuss the difference between the $ 15., $ 25., and $ 35. price points ... but for us it was not only the food, but poor service, or maybe this is just current pub service and I have not been paying attention ... kind of felt like the wait-staff would just rather we all went away and they could go back to whatever normal is for them. I would assume that 830-1000 on a Friday night is normally a relatively busy time, we were there, empty tables were in sight, but every time a waiter was in our earshot, they muttered something about being SO busy. Also every time plates came to us or tables near us, the wait-staff asked the diners who was having what etc.

Anyway, I wasn't going to post, because our previous meal was at West (enough said), also I just assumed it was an off night ... but after seeing this other posts, decided that Sean probably wanted to know. We left feeling like you get what you pay for!

I did notice, sadly too late to change my order, that the nut pie looked like the best thing coming out of the kitchen. Sadly we didn't get any at our table :sad:

Came home and had some leftover cheesecake to tide us over to our next meal.

Next DOV dinner for me is Parkside, looking forward to it!

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For dessert came a tart tatin.  Not much of a tatin really, just a few slices of apple baked on puff.

I should have noted that my dad hasn't had real tarte tartin before, but he loves anything with puff pastry, so that's probably why he liked his dessert.

I had the salad (during which I realized the ravioli was a better choice), ribs and tatin. I agree that the food seemd to lack flavour and development. My puff was more a solid sheet of dough just bordering on cooked; the cinnamon ice cream saved the meal. Our server took a solid 20 min after dropping off the bill to pick it up again, by which time I was ready for another plate of ribs. :unsure:

Run the earth. Watch the sky.
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Went to the Heather last night.

I started with the salad: Beet and Goats Cheese, Baby Greens, Black Olive Vinaigrette which I enjoyed and my friend had the Smoked Tomato Soup, Creme Fraiche, Basil Oil which she also liked.

Then we both had the Dark Beer Braised Beef Shortribs, Blue Cheese Polenta, Spinach and Fennel, Pan Jus. The blue cheese polenta was yummy.... the ribs, spinach and shaved fennel were completely lacking in flavour. I shouldn't have ordered this dish after reading above but thought I'd give it a try anyway.

A neighbouring table had ordered the Wild Mushroom and Canellini Bean Ragout, with Braised Kale and Carrots, Truffled Cauliflower Puree which I thought sounded quite good but apparently was also lacking in flavour. I imagined it might have been good over top of the blue cheese polenta actually.

For dessert I had the Jameson Whisky and Dark Chocolate Pot Au Creme, with Raspberry Compote and Sugar Cookies and my friend had the Mixed Nut Sugar Pie, Coconut Ice, with Chocolate Sauce. I loved the pot au creme..... very creamy and chocolatey goodness and my friend really enjoyed the mixed nut pie which was actually served with the cinnamon ice cream offerred with the other dessert.

We accompanied our meal with pints of smithwicks and black and tans.... did not see any VQA wine recomendations on their DOV menu though they do offer a couple of choices on their regular list. Seemed odd to order wine in that setting however, which is why we went for the beer.

We both felt the service was quite good - it was a tad slow in the beginning but really warmed up as the evening wore on. I had been told that we had the table for two hours and we did stay a tad over that (not on purpose, honesetly :smile: ) but it did not seem to be a problem as there were other tables available at that time and no line-up apparent.

Edited by appreciator (log)

sarah

Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's critical to know what it was. --Unknown

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It seems like we all had the same experience at the Heather, I was there last night (might have seen you appreciator) The service was ok, nothing bad butnothing great and no VQA recommendations or comments, my friend wanted to know a nice BC Chardonnay and the waiter didn't really say anything. The food was ok, I had the salmon ravioli and our friends had the salad and also the soup.. the salad seemed to be the tastiest. We all had the beef and was dissapointed byt the lack of flavour, the polenta was very tasty though and we just smeared it onthe beef to add some taste, plus lots of pepper and salt. I also oredered the mushrrom streusel for my daughter and it was tasty...Desserts were ok. We all left hungry and went to our friends parents Greeek restaurant on the drive and ate again.

We love the atmosphere though and will definitely go again though probably just for drinks.

DANIELLE

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."

-Virginia Woolf

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Wow!!

If I'm not mistaken the DOV at the Irish Heather was only $15. I'm suprised at the number of comments complaining in this thread. You can drop $15 on a beer and a burger at most places. Do not forget that the Irish Heather is not West, Lumiere, or Coast. It is a casual gastro-pub with food far exceeding what most North American pubs are putting on the plates. Lighten up fellow readers! Where else are you going to get a cheese plate with Neil's Yard cheeses, over 100 whiskies, and good European service in a pub atmosphere???? For those of you who where there when it was extremely busy please note that at the same time myself and dozens of other wine people were showing up unexceptedly after the trade portion of the Australian wine fair ended at Storyeum just around the corner. Sorry for filling the place up Sean!! I should have known better during DOV.

My rant of the day.

Stephen Bonner

"who needs a wine list when you can get pissed on dessert" Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares 2005

MY BLOG

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Wow!!

If I'm not mistaken the DOV at the Irish Heather was only $15. I'm suprised at the number of comments complaining in this thread. You can drop $15 on a beer and a burger at most places. Do not forget that the Irish Heather is not West, Lumiere, or Coast. It is a casual gastro-pub with  food far exceeding what most North American pubs are putting on the plates. Lighten up fellow readers! Where else are you going to get a cheese plate with Neil's Yard cheeses, over 100 whiskies, and good European service in a pub atmosphere???? For those of you who where there when it was extremely busy please note that at the same time myself and dozens of other wine people were showing up unexceptedly after the trade portion of the Australian wine fair ended at Storyeum just around the corner. Sorry for filling the place up Sean!! I should have known better during DOV.

My rant of the day.

Stephen Bonner

I did not expect the same quality of west or other high end restaurants for my 15 bucks. But I did expect some decent food. Good pub food can be done on a budget.

I understand the pressure being put on establishments during this time but this is a chance to showcase the talent of your chef. I know that after my experience at the heather I will not return for the food, 15, 25 or for 35 dollars.

It was sub-standard for what should have been served in an establishment of that calibre and for that price.

Did you have the heathers DOV culinary delights stephen??

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I did not expect the same quality of west or other high end restaurants for my 15 bucks.  But I did expect some decent food.  Good pub food can be done on a budget.

I understand the pressure being put on establishments during this time but this is a chance to showcase the talent of your chef.  I know that after my experience at the heather I will not return for the food, 15, 25 or for 35 dollars.

It was sub-standard for what should have been served in an establishment of that calibre and for that price.

Did you have the heathers DOV culinary delights stephen??

We did not either, all we wanted is flavour and like Roo Stew said good pub fare. I agree it is a great place for a beer/whiskey and even an appy, but was unimpressed with the DOV food prepared. The restuarant was not hopping when we arrived, it was starting to fill up, it was just that the server was unable to really answer any questions, nothing difficult.

DANIELLE

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."

-Virginia Woolf

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Wow!!

If I'm not mistaken the DOV at the Irish Heather was only $15. I'm suprised at the number of comments complaining in this thread. You can drop $15 on a beer and a burger at most places. Do not forget that the Irish Heather is not West, Lumiere, or Coast. It is a casual gastro-pub with  food far exceeding what most North American pubs are putting on the plates. Lighten up fellow readers! Where else are you going to get a cheese plate with Neil's Yard cheeses, over 100 whiskies, and good European service in a pub atmosphere???? For those of you who where there when it was extremely busy please note that at the same time myself and dozens of other wine people were showing up unexceptedly after the trade portion of the Australian wine fair ended at Storyeum just around the corner. Sorry for filling the place up Sean!! I should have known better during DOV.

My rant of the day.

Stephen Bonner

You know.... as I was eating my meal on Sunday, I did think to myself.... self... this is only costing you 15 bucks what do you expect.

Well, flavour for one thing. I don't necessarily think we should judge the joint on one meal there (wouldn't do it at other times, why during DOV) but I do think that they could have made something a tad tastier in the world of entrees. Seemed like the chef had an aversion to salt perhaps.

And while it is noble of you to defend the Heather, these DOV threads were set up to discuss the DOV meals we exerpience so that's pretty much what you'd expect don't you think?

sarah

Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's critical to know what it was. --Unknown

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As I sit here and read this, I too am thinking to myself - self - I wonder if anyone has sent Sean a PM regarding their Heather experience ? The poor bugger might be just too busy to check and this will come as a bit of a surprise / blow when he reads this. A quick little PM might have gotten the chef to check his seasoning levels.

I realize that this forum is to communicate our experiences but as Sean is one of us and our most gracious host at the cheese tasting, how about a little heads up ?

I know that I have served soup that was too salty for some people ! Right Arne !!!

And I reacted right away - by beating the cooks with a large rolling pin about the head.

Communication - the key to success and a quick beating about the head !

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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As I sit here and read this, I too am thinking to myself - self - I wonder if anyone has sent Sean a PM regarding their Heather experience ? The poor bugger might be just too busy to check and this will come as a bit of a surprise / blow when he reads this. A quick little PM might have gotten the chef to check his seasoning levels.

I realize that this forum is to communicate our experiences but as Sean is one of us and our most gracious host at the cheese tasting, how about a little heads up ?

I know that I have served soup that was too salty for some people ! Right Arne !!!

And I reacted right away - by beating the cooks with a large rolling pin about the head.

Communication - the key to success and a quick beating about the head !

Good idea..... I've sent him a PM just now.

sarah

Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's critical to know what it was. --Unknown

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I know that I have served soup that was too salty for some people ! Right Arne !!!

If I didn't tell you, then who??? :laugh: Glad I could help.

A.

Hey , if you can't use egullet to get a reso during Dine Out, extra gingerbread pudding or a little help from your friends, what good is it ?

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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I just had a long chat with Sean. He has been a little busy, both at the restaurants ( He has three operations going ) and he has moved house. He has tried to keep informed about your posts / conversations / concerns / critiques. He assures me that he will be back "online" and respond to everyone in a couple of days. He wanted to say that he was aware of what was being written, just unable to respond as they were still in the unpacking stages.

Neil

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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