The Mystic Celt is Paul and Sylvia Smiths restaurant in the middle of Wicklow Town. The couple have developed their own love for traditional Irish food and have coined the phrase traditional Celtic cuisine.
Set over two floors, the restaurant serves traditional Irish dishes with a modern twist, prices are reasonable and service is friendly and enjoyable.
Just inside the door there's a lobster tank, and I can see the lobster moving about, waving and saying pick me. This is on a sort of landing, and it's either downstairs to a reception area, or upstairs to the dining room, which is full on a Thursday evening. The premises used to be a bakery, and in the downstairs room the ovens are still visible, but unfortunately the interiors were ripped out by a previous owners, although Paul thinks he'd like to get them put back and have a go at getting them working again.
I got a nice corner table upstairs and settle in to have a look at the menus; a set affair offering a five course tasting menu for €27.95 and the a la carte, which is short but well chosen and comes on a nicely designed card, all sepia and hand torn paper.
While I look through them I am brought some bread and their own bottled sparkling water. Two types of bread have been baked, a Wild garlic, sun dried tomato and Parmesan loaf and a traditional brown. I tackle the former with butter in the shape of a shamrock, and drink my water, which is of the all you can drink for a couple of quid variety, which is great.
While I am choosing out comes and amuse bouche of homemade potato salad with red pepper on top, which complements the wild garlic bread, which I am becoming very partial to.
I decide on the starter of wild pigeon, with Apple puree and edible flowers, in a rich jus. This is real wild game, there is a bit of buckshot left in it to prove it and the flavour is intense, while the apple puree and edible flowers calm it down a bit. A very good dish.
Main course brings me a fillet of pan fried hake, locally caught, and served with a wild garlic crust. It came with a very good tomato and basil sauce, but the chef sent out a little boat of another sauce, a tomato and coconut for me to try, and this was spectacularly good, and was entirely used up by dunking the hand cut chips. The fish was perfectly cooked, least we forget the main ingredient, and a bowl of garlic potatoes were also delicious.
I had just left enough room for a slice of fruit Pavlova roulade, well most of a slice anyway, since the portion was a little over generous, but that is a small enough complaint to be going on with.
Paul and Sylvia are charming hosts, the staff are happy and friendly and the food is very good. There are not many restaurants serving traditional menus in Ireland now, and this one is a treat. Check it out.