The Barn at Belmont, Greystones, Co. Wicklow

After first meeting while working in the kitchen at one of the world’s best steakhouses – F.X. Buckley in Dublin – chefs Oran Colhoun and Darryl Haynes always knew they wanted to be their own bosses.

After running a selection of successful supper clubs across Dublin in their spare time, the boys took the entrepreneurial leap in 2023 and launched The Barn at Belmont. While the stress levels have increased, they’ve never been happier.

“Our dream was always to have our own place so in our spare time we started to run supper clubs as a way of testing ideas. One of our most successful pop-ups took place at The Barn at Belmont. At this stage there was a food truck and bakery, but it wasn’t well managed. We immediately saw the opportunities and possibilities so contacted them following the event and that was the beginning of the best but busiest 12 months of our lives,” comments Chef Patron Darryl Haynes.

Set in the beautiful 202-acre land of Belmont Demesne of Wicklow to the south of Dublin, The Barn at Belmont features The Barn Café, The Birch Tree Restaurant and a vibrant event business catering for all occasions big and small.

“You travel through 1km of forest to get to us so we’re definitely a destination venue. This means we have to make our experience unique,” notes Chef Patron Oran Colhoun. “The stunning surroundings, 1km walled garden and the fact that we can be ultra seasonal with our ingredient sourcing certainly helps with this, but we approach our menus with the ethos of Michelin, as we have to be different and need to make sure the food gives people an extra reason to visit. If we just offered steak and burgers, why would people bother to come all this way?”

Blessed to be surrounded by a wide range of talented farmers, game keepers, growers, foragers and producers, the lucky chefs offer an ultra-seasonal farm to table experience showcasing the very best of Ireland. The meat and game are sourced from within a mile, the vegetables come from within 600 metres and herbs are picked fresh from their newly installed herb garden.

Initially the chefs concentrated on running pop-up events, special seasonal supper clubs and private events, while also improving the offering from the café that caters to the thousands of walkers, runners and bike riders that enjoy the landscape each year. Following a successful first year, the duo launched the Birch Tree Restaurant this spring. “The Café’s food is slightly more approachable but definitely not your average café grub,” continues Colhoun. “We have dishes such as Wing Sandwiches and Lamb Croquettes with a Salsa Verde. The restaurant has 70 covers and the menu is more sit-down, refined and season-led. Some of the recent dishes included rare breed winetavern farm pork belly glazed with a homemade BBQ sauce using Country Range Red Wine Vinegar, smoked paprika and brown sugar, served with fennel & vanilla puree.”

Although the chefs are blessed to have such high-quality produce on their doorstep, they still use a range of Country Range store cupboard ingredients. “We love the Country Range brand. It’s always good quality, consistent flavour and the most competitive price,” adds Haynes. “The spices and dried herbs are a staple to have in the locker, although our food is Irish led it’s great to have nuances of world cuisine at our fingertips to elevate different dishes.”