Behind the food

The Treasury Restaurant

Underneath the ground, in the basement of 74 O’Connell Street sits a beautiful restaurant where candles glimmer and firelight adds warmth to the ambience. Friendly staff make you feel comfortable, while tantalising delights from the kitchen have echoes of oohhs and ahhs from very happy customers. This hidden gem is The Treasury Restaurant; one of the restaurants that is leading the culinary way in Limerick. The Treasury first opened its doors in November 2014 to rave reviews and continues to surprise and delight even their most regular customers with their fresh artisan menu. We sit down with founder and proprietor Barry Kiely for a glass of wine and chat about his motivation behind The Treasury.

How did your food journey begin?

Well, I actually started washing pots in a restaurant kitchen when I was 14.After a while working there I would be asked to come help out the kitchen with some preparation, and then to help make desserts and help chefs with the starters. I have always loved cooking so I loved to help. I worked in kitchens until I was 17, but I always found myself looking out the glass panel, to see what was happening in the front of house.

When I was 16 years old, I got myself a part time job as a waiter in The Jasmine Palace and that is when my addiction to the industry started. I loved it! The buzz, the energy and the people. It was such a fantastic social job. After a year, I gave up kitchen work and took a full time job in the restaurant. This was also when I first really fell in love with food. Talented chefs from all over Asia introduced me to styles of cooking with flavours and textures that I had never experienced – I was completely hooked!

After I spent 5 years working in the restaurant industry in Limerick, I began to travel. I worked in Chicago, Dublin, Sydney and Manchester and I got to experience so many different types of restaurants and food, it was a very exciting time in my life. Then I came back to Limerick after 7 years for a holiday and fell back in love with Limerick again. I decided to stay around for the summer and I’m happily still here.

What inspired you to open The Treasury?

In all honesty…. I saw a gap in the market. There are so many amazing things happening in the food industry in Limerick. We have seen some really tough times and we have been fighting through the recession, but things are changing and I felt it was time for something a little different. I wanted to create a restaurant that I would love to eat in – finally it felt like the right time.

What is the concept of The Treasury?

We want people to feel at home, while being served interesting and creative food that they would not be able to get at home. Our goal is to give people a warm and opulent experience without being pretentious. We always do our very best to source local produce, fresh fish from the coast and as much organic produce as possible. I have an incredible team working with me in The Treasury – they are so talented at what they do and I feel like this why the restaurant is so successful: the combination of great food and great people.

What are some of the challenges of being a restaurant owner?

Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong! I think the trick is to make sure it only goes wrong once, but I am only a baby restaurant owner. I would be interested in my answer to this question in a years’ time (laughs).

You have a very busy restaurant, what is your secret to keeping customers coming through the door?

We honestly have the best customers that I have ever come across in any place that I have ever worked. I am not sure why this is yet but we seem to attract a great clientele. We have customers that come to us 2 or 3 times a week and those that come once a week. But the biggest compliment that we get is when customers have friends or clients coming from Dublin, London, New York etc. and they want to bring them to The Treasury to showcase what great restaurants Limerick has. There is no bigger honour than when the people of your hometown want to showcase you as what Limerick has to offer on the food scene.

And with a clinking of our glasses to the ongoing success of The Treasury, I ask Barry where he gets his energy from?

“I’m single”, he laughs!


You can check out the delicious menus on

www.thetreasuryrestaurant.com

The Treasury opens Tuesday – Saturday

from 5pm – 10pm

Book your reservation by calling 061-590005

Article by: Michelle Costello

Photography by: Tarmo Tulit