On the 6th floor of The Mayson, above Dublin’s bustling docklands, sits Ryleigh’s rooftop grill. It’s just past lunchtime and the last few stragglers from the lunch rush are lounging around enjoying the sunshine beaming through the floor to ceiling windows.
We’ve come here to talk steaks with Felipe Pancas, head chef of Ryleigh’s rooftop grill at The Mayson. Look past the thoughtfully curated menu – Pan Fried Cod, Crab Cannelloni, Beetroot Gnocchi, Tuna Tartar – it’s clear to see that the beating heart of Ryleigh’s is the enormous grill headed up by Felipe. A native of Brazil and a prominent member of FIC Brasile (The Brazilian wing of the Federation of Italian Chefs), Felipe has recently served his time in several prominent Dublin restaurants. Sophie’s, Vintage Cocktail Club and Layla’s to name few before opening The Mayson alongside Executive Chef Paul Gareffa.
“Grilling is in my blood, part of my culture, I remember helping my father grill on the BBQ when I was 10 years old. It has been my passion for my entire life. Grilling is an art, every piece of meat is different, they cook at different times and temperatures and it’s not for everybody, it’s very hard stand in front of a grill that’s over 300°C degrees, most people can’t handle it.”
Since the dawn of civilization people have come together over this holy trinity – fire, food & booze. At Ryleigh’s this tradition is continued as expert chefs carefully grill the best cuts of beef over an open flame. There’s a sense of respect for the process among the team. Each piece of beef is chosen carefully and only the best make the cut. Customers have the option of selecting the evenings’s offerings before they hit the grill.
“Here in Ryleigh’s we have 7 types of proteins and 6 different temperature zones. Heat is the most important element in this, heat transforms a beautiful piece of meat into a tasty and juicy steak. The control of fire and the use of it for cooking is in my opinion the greatest discovery of all time. The first signs of using fire to cook food are prehistoric, over one and a half million years ago and we are still using it today.
There’s a certain allure to the flavors and smells created by smoke that just cannot be imitated. Dusky and warm, sweet yet deep. These smells permeate the room as dozens of steaks are fired per night. Each steak that crosses the pass has a beautiful hatching of grill marks resulting in a perfectly seared crust, underneath which lies delightfully tender dry aged deliciousness.
“Here in Ryleigh’s we have a Clay Oven Grill. It’s very special, it retains heat in a unique way. It’s made by a British company that have been making grills for over 45 years. They’re sold all over the world and are highly respected. Our Grill is a combination between gas and wood fire, the gas element helps us with the temperature, while the wood fire brings us the smoked aroma and flavor, and that makes all the difference.”