Anytime I can enjoy an evening at Raglan Road, I know it’s going to be a good one.
The Irish pub, located in Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney, is well known for its authentic atmosphere and delicious, modern twist on Irish food. And the nightly live music and dancing makes it one of the best values in all of Disney. It’s dinner and a show all in one!
But recently, we had the opportunity to attend one of Raglan Road’s special dining events, the March Signature Dinner.
Part dinner, and part opportunity to launch a new book detailing the history and recipes of Raglan Road, we couldn’t wait to take part. Read on to see pictures of the evening, as well as some of the interesting dishes we had the opportunity to enjoy.
If you haven’t had the chance to pop into Raglan Road for a pint and a meal, you should take care of that as soon as possible. If you have any interest in pubs, this is a place you want to see.
Authentic is an apropos descriptor here, as much of the inside of the pub actually came from Ireland. Bars and fixtures were salvaged from churches and pubs.
We have explored the beautiful space in other reviews; click over to our last lunch review to take a bit of a tour. For today, we’re going to stick to the event.
As guests arrived we checked in at the podium and were ushered through the main dining room, around the bar to the left, and into the Raglan Room. The room is a cozy spot with lower ceilings than the main dining room. A partition separated the room from the rest of the pub for the dinner.
Seating for the event consisted of six or so large tables with an open arrangement; there were no assigned seats.
And here’s where I apologize for all the wonky light. It was very bright early in the evening, and then very dark later on. While it made for lovely views to watch the light ebb, it didn’t do my pictures any favors. 🙂 Still, I’m hopeful you’ll get an idea of what a beautiful event this was.
The tables set just the right tone, with an elegant, farmhouse feel. A close up of our table gives you a better idea of the setting. I loved the white tablecloths and kitchen towels that would serve as napkins.
The fresh flower centerpieces and candles were a beautiful touch as well.
But there was a touch of whimsy in the place setting as well, owing to the back of the menu, which featured cover art from the book we’d learn more about throughout the evening.
There’s a lot going on with my beautiful place setting!
I enjoyed chatting with tablemates and as we took our seats in preparation for dinner to begin.
The hand-lettered menu gave us an idea of the five dishes we would enjoy over the course of dinner.
And, it’s not just you. “Dessert” looks misspelled to us, too. Maybe it’s a special Irish colloquial spelling? Maybe? (Probably not. But if you have any insight into this, let us know.)
Throughout the evening, Master Chef Kevin Dundon, one of Raglan Road’s three owners, took the microphone to introduce each course.
We began the evening with Raglan Road’s chewy, hearty Irish Soda Bread. Interestingly there was only Butter with Basil Oil at first for spreading on the bread.
I mentioned to my tablemates, who hadn’t dined at Raglan Road before, that it was too bad they weren’t serving the bread with the customary Guinness Reduction and Olive Oil dip — because it’s amazing.
And wouldn’t you know it? Shortly after that, little plates of the signature bread dip showed up. Our new friends agreed that it was fantastic.
We also had the benefit of a sommelier to walk us through the evening’s wine pairings. I enjoyed the history and background she provided about each wine, and I thought the pairings were extremely good. Each wine complemented its course perfectly.
We began with Domain Chandon Brut Rose and raised a toast to a wonderful meal.
The lush, pink sparkling wine provided a good balance of fruit that stood up nicely to our first course — Horseradish Infused Carpaccio of Beef with Crispy Vegetables. The dish was beautifully presented with Crispy Shoestring Vegetables and Baby Herbs.
Next, we enjoyed a rich soup course of Dublin Bay Prawn Bisque.
The Dublin Bay Prawn is actually less like a large shrimp — what we tend to call prawns in the U.S. — and is more of a small lobster.
Our soup bowls were presented with a lightly deep fried Prawn in the middle on a bed of Crème Fraîche.
To that, servers came around with small pots and added the creamy Bisque to finish the presentation.
The resulting soup was perfectly creamy with a strong flavor of prawn stock and Sherry. The fried prawn provided a nice contrast of texture to the dish.
I reached the pinnacle of my dining experience with the next course. I know — we have three more to go! But this was my favorite of the night.
The Smoked Haddock, Potato, Tomatoes, and Vintage Dubliner Cheddar Bake arrived in these cute little Staub cast-iron pots — and was as hot as a firecracker, inside and out.
Seriously, there were some burned tongues with this one. But guys — this was amazing. A creamy gratin of all those wonderful things, served up with Crostini. It was sort of like a warm, chunky dip. The flavors were sharp, smokey, and intense. I could have parked right here, and I would have been super happy.
At this point, I was already full — but the show must go on!
The main entree arrived next — Guinness Glazed Roast Loin of Pork Filled with Sage and Onion Stuffing with Colcannon Potatoes.
I really enjoyed the presentation of the dish. Wrapped in a rich pastry and topped with a bit of the stuffing was a lovely way to serve the pork. And the Colcannon Potatoes — a creamy mash with colorful cabbage added in — were silky and delicious.
At this point, it was time to cap off dinner with a sweet treat. Dessert was a Raglan Road favorite, Ger’s Bread and Butter Pudding, kicked up a notch. Served on a rich Crème Brûlée-like custard (alas, no “brûlée” to be found, though), the jam jar dessert included generous helpings of the Vanilla and Butterscotch Sauces normally served with the bread pudding.
I was beyond full and couldn’t really appreciate the dish, but my rail-thin companion dug in with relish and enjoyed every. single. last. bite.
Around this time, Chef Kevin took the mic again to speak a little about the book. Entitled, I’d Ate the Back Door Buttered Ma!: Inside America’s Favorite Irish Pub, the massive book offers a behind-the-scenes story of how Raglan Road came to be. Interspersed with mouth-watering recipes — many of which we sampled through the course of dinner — I think it will be a must-have for anyone who has come to love Raglan Road since it found a home at Disney World.
And in case you’re wondering, “I’d Ate the Back Door Buttered Ma!” means that you’re really, really hungry. 🙂
Guests were presented with copies of the book, and Chef Kevin graciously made the rounds to sign books and pose for pictures.
If you enjoy Raglan Road, I can definitely recommend that you look into booking a Signature Dining Event here. The events tend to sell out quickly because as we saw, there is a legion of loyal Raglan Road fans who enjoy the events especially.
I think there were several reasons I really enjoyed our dinner. First, Raglan Road is just a truly fantastic and immersive experience. It’s not just an Irish Pub; it’s an Irish-owned Irish Pub, and so you really do get a sense of history, and, well, almost a feeling of being at home when you dine here.
But to layer on top of that basic experience, the signature dinner is something even more special. If you felt at home before, this event leaves you with a sense of wanting to kick off your shoes and stay awhile.
I am already counting the days until the next Raglan Road event is announced! I have a feeling that signature dinners may become part of our regular Disney dining experience.
I attended this event as a guest of Raglan Road, on behalf of Disney Food Blog. However, I was not obligated to report on the event, or to give Raglan Road a favorable review. But are you kidding me with that Smoked Haddock and Dubliner Cheddar Bake? Fab! Read more about our Disclosure Policy here.