I’ve passed by Raglan Road during numerous visits to Downtown Disney, and always wondered what was inside the beautiful old building. It turns out that this restaurant is the most authentic Irish pub you’ll ever find here in Orlando, since was actually built in Dublin and relocated right to the middle of Mickey Mouse-land! Rich mahogany woods and sparkling stained glass windows frame a gorgeous round dining room, creating a dramatic setting for fine food and spirits.
My past experiences with Irish food led me to expect something kind of mushy, bland, and heavy. The only Irish dish I’d ever really enjoyed in the past was shepherd’s pie, but I decided to give it a go and try everything Raglan Road has to offer. I’m so glad I did! This brunch was not only the best Irish food I’ve ever had, but one of the most unique and delectable brunch experiences of my life.
Raglan Road’s Chef Kevin Dundon has been creating a lot of buzz lately, with his fresh take on Modern Irish Food. He’s featured in a PBS television show, teaching home chefs how to get creative with traditional Irish flavors. He sources the finest ingredients and lets them shine with simple, clean preparations. The Rollicking Raglan Sunday Brunch was launched in early 2013, and has quickly become a popular weekend destination for tourists and locals alike.
We sampled the full range of brunch options, and I was wildly impressed by the Pancakes Diaspora. The tender cakes are made with yeast so they’re light, yet firmer than most pancakes. Fruit compote and crème fraiche topping was an ideal counterpoint to the slight sweetness of the cakes. Usually when I order pancakes, they get mushy from the syrup after a few bites, but these cakes retained their slightly chewy texture, making them delicious down to the last bite.
I consider the Scallop Forrest the must-have dish at Raglan Road, and the primary reason I’m now eagerly planning my next visit! Chef Dundon sources these rope-grown HUGE scallops from an island on Georgia’s northern coast. The light tempura batter creates a crunchy shell that yields to the plump, firm, and flavorful meat inside. The scallops are served on upside-down forks with a citrus lime aioli and sweet chili jam. We enjoyed dipping one side of each scallop in a different sauce to enjoy the contrasting flavors.
You can’t go to an Irish pub without sampling some spirits, and we were more than up to the challenge! A spicy, perfectly seasoned bloody mary and sparkling pineapple mimosa were refreshing additions to our meals. On our server’s recommendation, we topped off our brunch with Raglan Road’s signature Ger’s Bread & Butter Pudding, named after the chef’s grandmother. It’s made with a dense brioche bread in a creamy custard, nice and toasty on top, with golden raisins. The real stars are the sauces, a house-made butterscotch with an unforgettably rich caramel flavor, and the crème anglaise. The bread pudding comes in a big mug, and serves two or more people. We turned it out onto a plate and poured the sauces over the top, savoring the sweet, vanilla flavored goodness. Every bite was absolutely perfect.
The Full Irish Breakfast is served in a skillet and includes two kinds of sausage, black and white pudding, bacon, roasted tomato, mushrooms and fired eggs with crispy potatoes. It’s great for the meat-lovers in your family!
Speaking of meat, each Sunday, Raglan Road makes a delicious prime roast as part of the brunch. It comes with potato wedges that are fluffy inside with a crispy shell. The Yorkshire pudding on the side is like a popover, with an eggy, custard-like dough that’s soft inside. The roast’s flavor was perfectly enhanced by the rich red wine jus and horseradish crème fraiche.
If you’re looking for a unique experience that’s so much more than just brunch, the Rollicking Raglan Sunday Brunch is the way to go. Four different Irish bands play rollicking music that’s sure to put you in a merry mood. The Irish dancers’ lightning-fast footwork is mesmerizing, and I loved how they rapidly switched – the dancers on the main stage suddenly disappeared when the spotlight went to a solo dancer at the center stage. The music and dancing continued throughout our brunch, and at one point the dancers invited young children from the crowd to join them for a lesson. The kids were so adorable, trying to learn the steps, and dancing with enthusiasm.
Brunches in Orlando are often overpriced, so I was pleasantly surprised at the fair prices of Raglan Road’s brunch – even the full roast beef dinner was priced under $20. The Rollicking Raglan Sunday Brunch would be perfect for a birthday, to take visiting guests, for a first date, or any special occasion. Everyone is guaranteed to have fun and to leave full and happy!