The Merrion Hotel has for many years been one of the best-loved luxury hotels in Dublin. Just a five minutes’ walk from the main cultural and entertainment attractions of the city, for over twenty years it has continued to welcome its guests in high-end spaces with exclusive design and first-rate service.
The hotel offers a vast range of dining choices, from the more informal options available at The Cellar Bar to the modern Irish cuisine of The Garden Room, and the more sophisticated dishes served by Patrick Guilbaud, Ireland’s only restaurant with 2 Michelin stars.
After extensive renovation work which ended in 2017, the already high quality standards of the hotel reached even loftier heights.
- In order to best meet the production needs of the Garden Room restaurant it was necessary to remodel the kitchen with a highly versatile solution which would allow meals to be prepared throughout the day – breakfast, lunch and dinner, every day of the week and every day of the year. The production demands however still had to be matched by high quality. Each dish had to be prepared with always super-fresh ingredients and very great care taken with presentation.
- Chef Ed Cooney also wanted to offer a work environment as comfortable as possible for his team, i.e. a cool and quiet kitchen without excess steam.
- For Gerry Kane from the company Kaneco, kitchen contractor and longstanding partner of the Merrion, there was no doubt as to the choice of the company which was to build the kitchens: Ambach.
- Together, Kane and Cooney opted for two cooking islands from the Ambach System 900 Exclusive Range, intended both for the bar menus and those of the Garden Room restaurant. Made to measure with a single hygiene top, both are designed with areas dedicated to the various phases of preparation. “Each area is ‘independent’ and equipped with an Ambach island, an oven and refrigeration and patisserie equipment”, explained Kane.
- All this was designed to optimise work. For example, staff entering and exiting move in two different flows. In this way confusion, noise and the risk of breaking plates are considerably reduced. “The work space is now much quieter, easier to manage and cleaner”, commented Kane.
- The kitchen control system also reduces the annual costs of running the air treatment and extractor system by 50%, a significant saving for a kitchen which works non-stop all year.
- Difficulties did however arise during the works. “It was a bit like playing Tetris. We constantly had to move everything from one side to the other without closing down the hotel, not even for a day”, added Kane.
- The greatest challenge came when Kaneco and Cooney had to totally redesign the layout of the kitchen as two large pillars ‘sprang up’ just where the cooking area was intended to be originally. “This forced us to optimise the space available by moving the kitchen by about 50 cm”, explained Kane.
- After having completed the work on the Garden Room kitchen, the team moved on to the other kitchen at basement level. Here, despite the confined spaces, it was possible to allow access to the kitchen thanks to the Ambach system which enabled the island to be turned through 90°. All the equipment was reconfigured in the new position and a patisserie zone was also created.
- Even if the Garden Room kitchen is very different compared to the original design, Cooney and his team expressed great satisfaction at the end result. “It’s a pleasure to work in the new kitchen. I’m pleased with the design as well as the ergonomics and the performances. The work environment at basement level has also really improved”, added Cooney. Judging by the crowd in the restaurant, customers too have not been slow in showing their appreciation, recognising the high added value for the hotel.