The spirit of St. Patty’s day has already begun to lend merriment to Downtown Disney, with the Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival going on this week. Live music is playing every day and night, special menu items are available, and Celebrity Chef Kevin Dundon is on hand to reveal his new cookbook.
I attended the Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant ‘Modern Irish Food’ Lunch this week, and was able to taste several new recipes created by Kevin Dundon. Dundon presented his creative first course, the Espresso of courgette & almond soup. Courgette is the European word for zucchini, and Dundon made it into a deliciously herbal, smooth soup topped with foam to look like a cappuccino.
The Second Course was my absolute favorite. Dundon accented a homemade potato gnocchi with vegetables and crispy pork belly, and topped the dish with perfectly seared scallops. He showed us how he seared the scallops without oil, using his own signature ceramic nonstick pan, available on his website Kevin’s website. The textures and flavors melded perfectly in this complex dish. Raglan Road sources their scallops from St. George’s Island, and they are line-caught, making each one perfectly plump, sweet, and tender.
Dundon has always sworn that he’d never make the Irish standby of corned beef and cabbage, but for St. Patrick’s Day he tried out his own twist on the dish. He transformed it into a stew, with pulled corned beef & cabbage in an Asian broth with vegetables.
The dessert, Upside-down caramelized orange pudding with clotted cream was a knockout. Similar in texture to a Scottish pudding or American pineapple upside down cake, it had a sticky, caramelly, crisp crust and tender inside, with an orange sauce. Dundon joked that he never eats dessert, but every time he makes this dish he can’t resist, and eats the whole thing.
After lunch, Kevin Dundon, and the two owners of Raglan Road, Paul Nolan and John Cooke, welcomed us into The Snug, a cozy mahogany-paneled room in the corner of the pub. They unveiled, for the very first time, their new cookbook, titled, “I’d Ate the Back Door Buttered, Ma!” This coffee-table sized book is a marvel, combining Dundon’s recipes with gorgeous photos and stories of the pub and those who love it. We were able to witness the moment when Bill Hazlett, a local man who dresses up in Irish garb and sits at the bar every week for the last 9 years, saw that the owners had dedicated the book to him, and that his photo was on the opening page. It was a joy to see the delight in his face as his devotion to the pub was recognized. The cookbook is a fun read, capturing the Irish gift of gab and the Modern Irish cooking style that Kevin Dundon champions. It’s available in the Raglan Road shop, along with many other unique Irish gifts.
Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant is located at Downtown Disney in the Walt Disney World Resort, 1640 E. Buena Vista Dr., Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Visit www.raglanroad.com or call 407/938-0300.