Restaurateur & Owner of OAR Doolin
About Kieran O'Halloran
Kieran O’Halloran – Restaurateur and Owner of OAR Doolin
Kieran O’ Halloran left school at 15 years of age to focus on food. He joined CERT in Galway to begin his studies, however, having worked in kitchens from the age of 11 Kieran found that he was learning nothing new so decided to move to Edinburgh at 16 to study Culinary Arts. Having earned his Culinary Arts Degree Kieran moved to London where he worked front of house assisting the food and beverage manager and growing his skills. There followed a move to Aberdeen in 1992, when Kieran leased his first restaurant (Hobsons) at the age of 19. After a year the property was sold to a national Pizza company and Kieran was approached by Mitchells & Butlers, now one of the largest operators of restaurants, pubs and bars in the UK, to work on a converting a pub in Aberdeen to an Irish bar (O’Neills) which went on to have another 120 open across the UK.
Kieran travelled the world gaining experience and knowledge working, on many occasions free of charge, to learn local cuisines. Mitchells & Butlers came calling again having lost the original authenticity of the O’Neills brand and looking for Kieran to help them rediscover, rethink and recentralise.
In 2011, in the midst of the recession, Kieran made the decision to move back to Ireland to his home county of Clare and this is where Kierans’ Kitchen – now a roaring success having won multiple awards – was born.
However Kieran still had that urge to get back to his original love, discovered during his Culinary Arts Studies in Edinburgh where he welcomed a clientele that included Prince Charles, the Duke of Westminster, Margaret Thatcher amongst others. He had noticed how they loved good food but without the micro portioning that was so prevalent in Fine Dining establishments at that time.
This has now come to fruition at OAR Doolin where Fine Dining is a rustic experience, allowing guests to relax, chat and enjoy themselves. OAR Restaurant does not have a dress code focusing instead on the food and the positive energy of happy guests.
Attention to detail is huge for Kieran. As a lover of fine wines Kieran counts the ‘bane of his life’ as restaurants and hotels that offer fine wines in cheap glasses – simply insulting.
Kierans’ Philosophy on creating a successful business:
- The Right People – Without the right people you will have no business so it is imperative to find and look after the right staff for your business.
- Produce – Sourcing Well. Kieran is a champion for local food producers and seasonal ingredients, which can be experienced at OAR Restaurant.
OAR Restaurant is already attracting favourable reviews and Kieran, along with Head Chef Cezary Sodel, work hard to deliver an authentic fine dining experience with a rustic twist.
Working closely with Head Chef Cezary Sodel, they have brought together decades of experience in the industry to create a menu that features the best of Co Clare produce.
With a very short lead in time Kieran has created a room that reflects the very localised colours and tones of the Clare landscape.
“We wanted to create a space that was evocative of the landscape, so you’ll see that in the restaurant we have used tones of sage green and grey, complemented by crisp white linen. I worked closely with local designer – Ciara McGrath and together we were able to define a space that is a relaxed and ambient space for dining.”
On the walls of this light and airy room you will find artwork by Manus Walsh who happens to be Ciara’s dad, which beautifully describe the landscape and complement this peaceful space. To finish the room Kieran and his team spent many hours searching for the perfect cutlery, linens and glassware.
“You know those small touches are so important, we want to deliver an experience for our guests. The guys in the kitchen work very hard to achieve the level required for these dishes and how we present them to our guests can only improve the experience.”
What better way to conclude your evening than to pop upstairs and spend the night in one of the newly renovated rooms at Oar.