Well it turns out I am the worst restaurant critic ever after producing just two reviews of the places we’ve eaten at since moving over here. So, here’s a quick attempt to cover the rest in no particular order:
Eden is a lovely, lovely place but they clearly need to work on their website which is showing a database error just now. We’ve eaten there twice now; the first time being after our wedding due to a voucher we had as a present. Serving contemporary Irish/European cuisine in a two-floor restaurant located in the heart of Temple Bar, Eden has apparently been sold on by its original owners but we still found it to be a great place to eat. I particularly liked the Gravlax of vodka cured Salmon starter and the special of Haddock on a bed of Chick Pea salsa I had on our first visit. Our second visit was for Valentines Day and even though it was supposedly a set menu the choice was excellent. Dinner for two including wine and dessert comes to around the €60-70 per head mark. Service is attentive but restrained. My glass was never in danger of running dry which is always the sign of a good restaurant.
An Indian restaurant on South William Street, we stopped into Maloti one night before a gig. It’s a fairly upmarket Indian, with contemporary decor and whilst the food was fine, I found the portions rather small and it didn’t seem fantastic value for money. In particular the size of the dishes containing the condiments served with poppadums was laughable. All in all nothing special, but maybe just nicer to look at than your average Indian restaurant.
Seasons @ The Four Seasons
We have a small book of the 100 best restaurants in Dublin at home. It’s produced by The Dubliner magazine and most of the reviews appear to be here. One night, having decided to eat out the coming Saturday I threw the book to Lana and let her choose the venue. A few thumbs through and one phone call later and she proudly stated it was all sorted. “Great, where are we going?” said I. “Oh, the Four Seasons” she proclaimed. After I returned from arranging the extension to my credit card I managed a response back! The Four Seasons in Ballsbridge is one of Dublin’s swankiest hotels, as evidenced by the Ferrari 599 GTB and various Bentleys parked outside as we arrived. It is also home to the Ice Bar, apparently one of the places to be seen. Thankfully the restaurant itself is a bit more refined and indeed the furnishings are very grandiose. It was fairly quiet when we arrived, but became busier as the evening drew on. After ordering our dishes and wine we were served an aperitif of beetroot cappucino. I had a starter that consisted of a tasting dish of scallops, each presented separately in it’s shell. Each was accompanied by a different sauce, including one that came natural and with caviar. For main I had quite simply the finest steak I’ve ever eaten. Bad memory robs me of what else we eat (as I said, I’m a rubbish food critic!) but it was all gorgeous. The service, naturally was outstanding. The price? Well there wasn’t much change out of €300 after tip and that was with only one bottle of keenly priced Rioja. That’s the last time I let Lana choose!
Elephant & Castle
In stark contrast to the Four Seasons, Elephant & Castle is located in Temple Bar. Whilst it looks fairly unassuming from the outside and with a very basic interior, it’s probably our favourite place to just turn up and eat at. Open until 11:30pm every night and not taking reservations, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to eat here, though I imagine they get very busy at weekends. The menu doesn’t reflect the surroundings and this is definitely not your average fare. There’s a decidedly eclectic slant to a lot of the food with dishes such as Roasted Quails with Glazed Cabbage and Cider sauce available. However, Elephant & Castle also holds no pretensions and there is something for everyone. In particular they serve probably the nicest chicken wings I’ve ever had and the burgers are gorgeous too. If you want a place to have a casual meal with mates, you can’t beat it. They are also open from 8am on weekdays for breakfast – something that makes me regret with live out of town.
A Yo-Sushi style conveyor belt sushi place, Aya is located just around the back of Brown Thomas on Clarendon Street (by the way, Yo Sushi themselves have a place in the Dundrum shopping centre) It is pretty standard fayre as far as sushi goes. We opted for the Sushi 55 option which for a fixed price allows you to fill your boots with 55 minutes of conveyor belt related action. It includes one drink and if memory serves green tea is thrown in. We were sat a fairly long way from the hatch the conveyor belt spat out from and it proved to be rather frustrating as we saw prospective dishes whisked away by more fortunately located punters. The dishes themselves are sorted into different price bands, indicated by the colour of the plate (with sushi 55 you can just take your pick and not worry) and they are not limited to sushi – the odd dish such as sesame chicken comes past as well. All in all it is fun, but I’d still go somewhere like Yamamri for decent Sashimi by preference. They also sell a range of Japanese foods and ingredients as well.
The Port House
Located on South William Street, The Port House is easy to miss. From the outside it just looks like a few tables and chairs outside a small pub, but step inside (and down) and you are transported into a dim but beautifully candle-lit cellar tapas restaurant. We went on a weekday evening and whilst we could walk in and get a table, it was still buzzing inside (I don’t think they take reservations) The menu offers a wide variety of dishes along with a range of daily specials. We sampled the garlic chicken wings, patatas bravas, spanish meatballs, calmari and a gorgeous pintxo with roast beef amongst others. I washed it down with a carafe of the house Rioja. The food arrived very quickly once we had ordered, but we were left for about 20 minutes after being seated before our food order was taken. Dishes are keenly priced at around €4-7 per dish.