Proprietor of the new Candied Walnut Restaurant, Naas, Barry Hayden (third from right) with some of his team
Last Thursday evening saw the launch of an exciting new chapter for foodies in Naas and Kildare with the official opening of the Candied Walnut, a restaurant that is set to become a firm favourite locally.
Special guest, 2FM DJ Keith Walsh, cuts the ribbon with proprietors the Hayden family, Barry, Baylee, Dawn, and Ella, at the opening of the new Candied Walnut Restaurant, Naas, Thursday October 27. Photos: Tony Keane
Proprietors Barry and Dawn Hayden have already successfully established a restaurant of the same name in Portarlington, but have now decided to bring their successful blend of laid back comfort and scrumptious food to Fairgreen Street, Naas, Co Kildare.
Barry is the executive chef with many years of experience and numerous awards under his belt.
He would be familiar to Naas diners from his time in The Morrison Hotel, The Osprey, Brasserie Na Mara in Dun Laoghaire & Palmerstown House Estate PGA Golf resort at Johnstown..
The couple gave the Leinster Leader a tour around the new restaurant on Fairgreen Street — highlighting the difference between the down stairs, which is aimed at more formal dining occasions, with its subdued lighting and comfortable arrangement — and upstairs which will be more easy going and fun, with art works on the wall, neon lights and access to the restaurant’s impressive Caged Wine collection.
“We have very exacting standards,” Barry explained. As a chef he is obsessed with consistency and attention to detail.
“I’m a firm believer that you get out what you put in,” he says — something that applies to the kitchen, but also the restaurant as a whole.
“Over four years we built up the restaurant in Portarlington,” Dawn explains.
And they attracted praise from Georgina Campbell, Lucinda O’Sullivan, TheTaste.ie, Hotpress Magazine who listed them as one of the top 100 places to dine in Ireland, as well as the Restaurant Association of Ireland awards.
Now with their move to Naas, the couple see themselves as joining a growing restaurant scene in the town.
“Naas is definitely becoming a destination for diners. Even this corner of the town is doing well, with two Indian restaurants, a tapas restaurant and a Japanese restaurant coming soon.”
Such is their reputation that even before they opened they had 1,000-plus bookings in for Christmas parties.
The restaurant is open Mondays to Saturdays for lunch, from noon to 3pm and dinner seven days a week from 5.30 onwards.
They’re open for Sunday lunch from 12.30 through to 9pm
All of the food is made fresh and on site. The lunch menu involves soups, sandwiches, salads, wraps and a number of popular main courses including steak sandwich, lasagne, pasta, bangers & mash and fish of the days.
Evening time has a very extensive menu with roast quail, scallops, goats cheese cones among other items to start.
Main courses include confit of duck, soya glazed supreme of chicken, Wicklow lamb, a vegetarian option as well as Angus Sirloin, Rib Eye and Fillet steaks.
Desserts are eye and mouth watering that you’ll just have to read yourself — but suffice to say they alone would be worth going to the Candied Walnut for.
Barry and Dawn also believe strongly in having good staff at the restaurant, and are proud to say that they have several people who have been with them for a long time, including Restaurant manager Laura Tynan from Portarlington who is, Dawn said, “fantastic”, and head chef Jacub Okowicki is a real talent.
In total there are 28 staff members, including nine in the kitchen.
Speaking at the opening, the couple took the opportunity to thank “every single person who helped us out on this fantastic venture. All your extremely hard work and long days have really been worth it.
“All our personal design ideas together with Eamonn Elders @Creation Station Creative Design Solutions have turned this dull premises into something we are truly proud of today. The whole restaurant design has surpassed even our own expectations.
We cannot wait to welcome everyone through our doors.
And yes, there are candied walnuts. “We go through kilograms of them!” Barry says.
To book, please ring 045-883869. Bookings advised but not always necessary. Walk ins welcome
Email at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message the The Candied Walnut, Naas Facebook page.