A Modern Look At Food And Wine At Ely Wine Bar


Ely’s Head Chef Ryan Stringer has just spent time with the [email protected] team in Copenhagen. And he’s brought back a wealth of ideas for new menu styles, new dishes and more sustainable sourcing and food waste management. All his new dishes are matched with the superb ely collection of over 500 wines by bottles and 80 by glass. What’s not to like?!

The Dublin wine scene has grown extensively in the last couple of decades. For wine lovers, the city now offers great choice by bottle or glass in a number of venues dedicated to the produce of the grape! There’s no doubt that at the heart of this, an establishment in Georgian Dublin has played a huge part in the development of the enjoyment of wine.

Ely Wine Bar was opened sixteen years ago at 22 Ely Place by Erik and Michelle Robson. The original of a business model set to take the Irish wine sector by storm. The pair launched this first venture onto what was then relatively uncharted waters. As a result, Ely changed the way Dubliners thought about wine drinking in a social context. Ely Wine Bar and Ely Bar and Brasserie in the Dublin docklands now list over 500 wines by bottle and 80 wines served by the glass. All carefully sourced and served in optimum condition.

Food has also played a big part at Ely. Erik’s father farms over 400 acres in The Burren in Co.Clare. A place where the unique landscape and environment has a direct impact on farming. The farm produces organic pork and beef, and Burren lamb comes from a neighbouring farm. All the livestock dine out on the wild grasses and herbs specific to this part of Ireland, and indeed the world. This adds a special aromatic flavour to the meat.

In recent months, there is change afoot again at Ely. This year started well for the team, with recognition by wine writer Tomas Clancy as the first and second best wine bars in Ireland in the Sunday Business Post.  Now Ely’s food is on the move also, with some new and innovative ideas inspired by [email protected] in Copenhagen.  

Ely head Chef Ryan Stringer was recently chosen as one of a select few chefs from all over the world to spend time with the Noma team, foraging, pickling, preserving and just absorbing the food scene in Copenhagen. Ely already has a firm ‘pasture to plate’ ethos, but the new inspiration from Noma has brought Ryan even closer to his producers and suppliers. This in turn will reflect in Ely’s plans to ‘step away from some of the restraints of traditional menu formats, while delivering on our customers’ renewed excitement for enjoying the combination of great food and wine in a relaxed atmosphere.’

So what can we expect to see at Ely?  ‘Menus will merge and complement each other. There will be less of the formula of Early Bird and A la Carte choices, and more dropping in, menu hopping, sharing and grazing. Kind of how it was before the recession, ten years ago.’, say the Ely team!

Ryan will be using many elements of what he learnt in Copenhagen, to include seasonal preserving pickling, slow cooking and foraging. There will be more cuts from the organic meats of the farm and less waste, both from source and in the kitchen. Ryan is keen to experiment with the Noma style of layering of flavours. Sustainability will also continue to be extremely important at Ely. All this will confirm Ryan’s belief and understanding of the quality of Irish produce. Which is only good news to our ears!

Next time you visit Ely, you can look forward to 36 hour slow cooked organic Burren beef cheek with organic wild garlic from the Ely farm. Or try crispy pig’s tails with Jack McCarthy’s black pudding and horseradish oil. In an effort to source sustainable fish, Pollock will be highlighted instead of cod. This white fish will be used for confit served with pickled cockles and mussels, Yaki battered Pollock with a blood orange curd, or good old fish’n’chips!

We’re hungry already hearing about it all! It sounds like it will be amazing and we are looking forward to trying the new Nordic style ethos in the cuisine of Ely. Wines will continue to be an exploration in bringing the best grapes, regions and vintages to customers to match with this delicious new style of food and menu choices. Ely once again breaks new ground, as it has been doing for sixteen years!