Lisa Cope – All the Food
Woodruff opened in Stepaside, at the foot of the Dublin mountains, in late 2019. It’s the first restaurant from Colm Maguire (owner/manager) and Simon Williams (owner/chef), and it was clear that ambitions were high from day one. In his previous position as head chef in The Gables, Foxrock, write ups of Williams’ cooking praised his attention to detail when it came to the ingredients he was buying and foraging, and it felt like this was going to be the theme of Woodruff too, but turn that dial up to the max and you’ll get the idea.
“The over and above efforts here are bound to have played a factor in their very quick addition to the Michelin Guide for 2021, who praised their menus “packed with local produce – including plenty of foraged ingredients”, and their “delicious food” and “super-friendly service”. Its location and Dublin’s abysmal public transport options mean that it’s probably difficult for a lot of you to get to, but we wanted to see if it was worth the special effort. “
A mission statement on their website sums up what they do: “cook with the seasons | sustainably source direct from farms | ferment | forage | cure | minimise waste”. It’s very easy to throw these words around, it’s much more difficult to live them, but they are. You think of a food product – the chef’s made an inhouse version. You think you know what can be foraged in Ireland? Labelled jars around the restaurant contain edible plants, fungi and herbs you’ve never heard of. You think you know Irish food? Sit back and get a lesson on the best meat, seafood, cheeses and vegetables that we as a country produce.