Last week I found myself on the train back from Arklow, so I had the chance to stop in Greystones on the way home to meet up with an old friend who lives there. We drove over to neighbouring Delgany, to The Delgany – a small foodie hotspot in what used to be The Delgany Inn. Alongside a small but well stocked grocers and a full restaurant upstairs, the Firehouse team have set up shop to produce mouthwatering, handcrafted, slowly-fermented bread and many other amazing baked goods for the lucky Wicklow locals.
Unfortunately I forgot my camera that day and my phone died before I got there, so I only took a handful of photos with my friend’s phone. I wish I could’ve taken more photos to do this bakery justice, because it was amazing!
I had been anticipating visiting this place since last year, when the Firehouse popped up on my foodie radar via Twitter. They opened their bakery and bread school on Heir Island in West Cork with the noble ambition of educating, or should that be re-educating, Irish people on the endangered art of real bread making. And if you’re not sure what I mean by “real bread”, then you’re not eating any.
On the back of that success, they then cast their eyes towards The Delgany Inn, and have helped to establish a small foodie destination in the heart of Wicklow. I swear, if I could drive, I’d be a regular down here because it is without doubt worth the excursion. I’m already trying to figure out my next trip.
It was nearly 4pm by the time we got there and as a result I was beyond hungry, because I had been killing time in Arklow waiting on the very infrequent return train, and had deliberately not had any lunch in the hopes that I’d get the chance to eat at the Firehouse later that day. So I felt the need to order a giant slow-braised brisket sandwich, served on real wholemeal bread, with lots of bitter wild rocket, and fresh, creamy horseradish dressing.
It was a feast of a sandwich, that would put most Dublin hipster sandwiches to shame. The simplest of ingredients, but prepared with excellence. This is how a sandwich should be made. It’s pretty much the same philosophy that has served places like Poulet Bonne Femme and Juniors so well. Keep it simple stupid, as they say. And when your ingredients are this good, you owe it to them to keep it simple anyway. It’s the type of food I most appreciate when I eat out.
It took me a while to get through my delicious doorstopper of a sandwich, but when I did I rewarded myself with a creamy cappuccino. My friend S had already had her lunch, so she ordered a slice of gorgeous carrot cake which she insisted I try. It was light, moist and crumbly, topped with a good cream cheese icing. I had to sample some of their sweet stuff, so I took a little peanut butter cookie and a large salted caramel doughnut home with me, and also a large loaf of their white sourdough.
The peanut butter cookie (no picture of it – sorry) was perfect, not too sugary, with plenty of peanuts to give it the right crunchy texture. I shared the doughnut with Mr. Cooksalot, as it was pretty gigantic. It was divine. The dough was really light and puffed out. It wasn’t greasy at all, and the salted caramel filling was just rich enough without being cloying.
Their white sourdough was also excellent, and very substantial. It had a slight rye flavour I think, so I’m guessing it was made from a mix of rye and wheat. It lasted about 3 or 4 days in my kitchen before going completely stale, which I think is the sign of a great sourdough. And because sourdough is more substantial, you don’t have the same craving to keep eating slice after slice that you often get from a more doughy white loaf.
If you love and appreciate real bread and other baked goods as much I do, you need to visit The Firehouse. If you live in Dublin, you can also find their sourdough on sale in Fresh at Grand Canal Square. I expect to see their products popping up in more Dublin shops in the future, as more and more people seem to be developing a taste for real bread and real baking. And that can only ever be a good thing.
The Firehouse Bakery
Old Delgany Inn