I recently attended the Executive Girlfriends Group’s annual meeting in Orlando at beautiful Omni Champions Gate Resort. While the event was a great networking opportunity, one of the highlights was the fantastic dinner that Irish celebrity chef Kevin Dundon of Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant personally prepared for our group.
When we were informed that our group dinner would be at an Irish restaurant in Disney’s Pleasure Island, I was skeptical of the meal we’d be sharing, but was I pleasantly surprised by the restaurant, the staff and the food.
First, the pub is neat! There’s a large bar area with a multitude of beers on tap with a great vibe about it. The restaurant is expansive and features several semi-private areas, one of which our group occupied on our visit.
As the custom menu was presented to us, I still wasn’t sold on the idea that Irish food could be elevated to a level beyond stew and sheppard’s pie. Boy was I in for a treat! The four-course menu featured creative options that had me intrigued.
For the first course, we could opt for either a seared scallop on pea puree with a smoked salmon salad with crème fraîche or a heritage tomato salad with shallots and balsamic glaze. I adore scallops so chose that option. The scallops were perfectly seared, I wasn’t happy with the pea puree as there wasn’t a whole bowl of it for me to devour and the smoked salmon was perfectly fresh and flavorful. My peers who had the tomato salad were also very pleased.
The second course was a velvety butternut squash and cinnamon soup which was wonderful. For the entrée course, we were offered a choice of duck, risotto or turbot. The duck course consisted of a breast and confit of duck in a lentil and spring onion bulb stew. The risotto featured wild mushrooms and asparagus with parmesan shavings, and was the entrée I opted for. I love risotto, and this version was perhaps the best I’ve ever had. It was perfectly creamy with a bit of a bite and was loaded with mushrooms and huge shavings. The chef personally recommended the turbot and many guests tried an enjoyed it very much. It was served with a wild rosemary and saffron sauce, so not sure how you could go wrong!
The desserts consisted of a chocolate fondant with stout ice cream (to die for) and a baked pear and almond tart with vanilla pod ice cream.
If you’re near Orlando or have an opportunity to be in town, be sure to put Raglan Road on your list of must-try restaurants. I’m a convert and now can appreciate how modern, fresh and perfect Irish food can be…or at least Chef Kevin Dundon’s Irish food.