Brothers Paraic and Rory Murphy have transformed a former tapas bar and Italian bistro into an intimate, fine-dining restaurant in downtown Gorey, a popular commuter and tourism town in Wexford about an hour’s drive south of Dublin.
In doing so, they teamed up with experienced restaurateur Greg Murphy (no family connection), who owns Blue Seafood & Bistro overlooking Wicklow harbour.
Karen, the restaurant manager who previously worked as food and beverage manager in Seafield Hotel & Spa Resort in Wexford, said the name ‘Raspberry’ was chosen due to its utilitarian nature, tasty in both food and drinks.
Opened last July after considerable renovation, Raspberry, which seats around 60 people, is located on Gorey’s biggest shopping street, a five-minute walk from the town’s main theater.
The restaurant, with a cocktail bar at one end, reflects contemporary design with an open kitchen, high ceiling, polished wood flooring, plush seating, colorful work by local artist Aoife Lane, bare-brick on the back and kitchen walls and decorations such as gold-framed mirrors, hanging plants, even the replica of a peacock above our table.
Reflecting its name, there are six raspberry cocktails on an impressive drinks menu but my companion’s nickname being Coco and it being her birthday celebration, she couldn’t resist the Coco-Mule option – a potent combination of Busker malt whiskey, spiced sugar, Irish Mist liquor, ginger beer, lime and mint. Zesty and refreshing on first sip, it also had a lingering smokey flavor and spicy after-taste. A second cocktail we tried, Eden, comprised Dingle vodka from Ireland’s west coast, granny smith and melon liquors, basil, cucumber and mint.
Innovative Sam, the mixologist, who previously worked in BrookLodge & Macreddin Village in Wicklow, also offers creative cocktails each month – when we were there, they were themed interestingly on black forest gateaux.
As for the food menu, my companion chose a simple starter of hash which she described as “a pretty castle with a fennel foundation, delicate bricks of potatoes and chorizo, all topped with a white flag of poached egg.”
I chose one of the signature dishes, smoke-flavored roasted cauliflower, comprising crispy vegetable heads with a hint of spice, sprinkled with barbecue sauce and a cool cream dip.
‘Frank’s chicken’ was my companion’s main, a reconstruction of buffalo chicken wings and a chicken breast with creme fresh, roasted veggies, sweet potato and a cucumber salsa dish.
Hungry after a day’s swimming, I was in the mood for meat, a hefty ribeye, which arrived tender and charcoaled from an open grill, sizzling with taste and presented on a bed of braised thinly-sliced onions, tomato and mushrooms, with a sprinkle of parsley topping it off.
Instead of dessert we ordered the cheese platter which granted us a tour of some of Ireland’s finest including the classic Cashel Blue from a 200-acre farm in Tipperary; Cooleeney by the Maher family from their Friesian herd also in Tipperary; a mild cheddar from Wexford; and Milleens, a soft cow variety from Cork, all accompanied by home-made chutney and Sheridans handmade crackers.
With Hannah, our young server, being both efficient and friendly, the atmosphere quiet and relaxing and an interesting chit-chat with our neighbours across the aisle, our celebratory dining experience at Raspberry proved to be a memorable one.