We’ve been open for two years in April. I started in the January about three months before doors opened, so myself and the then Food and Beverage Director had to put the place together. It was a huge challenge, especially because I wanted to bring some new concepts to Dublin. There was a definite shift in trends, that’s why it’s so important as a chef to keep changing and developing. That’s why at the bar we’re about to launch a new healthy menu in conjunction with the existing one.
I think we’re going to call it the Nutrimenu, and on there we’ll have things like a Nutribox, which is some clear soup, a salad, 100 grams of protein and a raw juice. It’s a lighter lunch that’s proven successful and prompted this whole idea. I also do some paleo balls for people to have after training. At the moment I’m trying to develop a healthy burger.
On the bar menu at the minute, we have a burger that’s probably one of our best sellers. It’s on a brioche bun with some bacon and cheddar with rosemary fries. I’m trying to do something with the same beef patty but with a bit of avocado and cress, maybe some pickled red cabbage and a gluten free bun, with oven baked sweet potato fries on the side.
You always have to listen to your guests. The Nutribox was originally designed for the January blues. We were asked to come up with something for the other side of Christmas and you’ve had a bit too much of everything. It was originally meant to be on the bar menu for four weeks and now it’s been there for 18 months! It’s just a reflection of what people want to eat.
I’ve always had a consumé and a steamed fish option on the à la carte menu, for example, for those who want to eat light. Saying that, you can come and get a nice steak and béarnaise if you want to.
Also, the Marker Hotel is all about offering experience to people. The Brasserie is a destination restaurant. You can come down here on a Saturday night, start your evening off with a drink in the bar, then stroll over to the restaurant and get something of the à la carte, or if you’re going to a show try our pre-theatre menu, then finish the evening off on the Rooftop and drink cocktails ‘til your heart’s content. We’re very lucky here in that we’ve got five different food outlets – the brasserie, the bar, the rooftop, in-room dining and then food for conference and events. The more people come in the more they realize we aren’t what people expect from a 5 star hotel. We’re very approachable here.
Well it can be a challenge. Often, people think of a 5 star hotel and maybe they assume they’ll have to wear a shirt and tie, which is ludicrous if you think about it. If you look at the price points in the restaurant, they’re the same as what you’d pay around town. The misconceptions about 5 star hotels being unapproachable drives me crazy. When you go to London or Paris or Sydney, they just don’t see them the same way. We do Le Drunch here on a Sunday which is a hybrid between lunch and dinner with a DJ here on a Sunday playing some nice relaxed tunes as well, no strobes or anything [Laughs]
We’re just about to reopen the rooftop for summer and we’ll be serving food up there from May. The concept I designed for up there was a taste plate concept. So the idea is that people sitting around drinking cocktails might not want a full dinner or a big heavy meal. So it’s smaller type grazing dishes. You might have a couple of tasting plates, maybe a few drinks, a couple more taste plates, a bit of cheese.