There were a few unhappy reviewers knocking around Dublin this week. Catherine Cleary wasn't overly impressed with her visit to Boeuf, calling it a 'one-trick pony', lacking in 'bullishness', and saying she felt 'un-mooved to return'. (Clearly there was a wager going in the Times this week for the most puns in one article.) She did like her New York striploin, but felt they needed to up the excellence and ditch the 'Hugh Heifer' character - which doesn't even make sense as heifers are female. Read her review here (subscription required).
Likewise over on her hometurf of Monkstown, Lucinda O'Sullivan thought that new Italian Osteria 99 needed to kick up the Italian kitsch if they were going to compete in an already busy market. She cited a grey-on-grey room complete with flat screen TV, and posted quite an unappetising picture on twitter of mushroom and truffle ravioli, which she described as 'like tired pillows when the feather filling has worn thin.' Ouch. (Review not currently online)
Things weren't faring much better for Tom Doorley at Kathmandu Kitchen where things were 'fine', 'grand' - 'neither bad nor very good'. His only reason for visiting was that he happened to be hungry whilst walking past, despite Paolo Tullio telling him never to be led down this perilous path. We think he only has himself to blame for this one. (Review not currently online)
Thankfully Katy McGuinness in the Independent fared better at Urbanity, a coffee roastery and café in Smithfield, whose chef had come from Brother Hubbard. Being unable to book for dinner due to an unattended answering machine, she settled for breakfast, and enjoyed 'Wasabi spiced roast mung bean & avocado, water chestnuts, soy & garlic pesto, toasted sesame brittle, organic fried egg, sourdough toast.' Try saying that after a few drinks. Read her review here.
Gillian Nelis in the Sunday Business Post also had a meal that was considerably better than 'fine' at The Guinea Pig in Dalkey, where Chef Jérôme Fernandes recently took over from Mervyn Stewart, who'd been running things since 1978. Her quail was somewhat ruined by a plate that was hotter than hell, but she thought the seafood mixed grill was 'one of the simplest and nicest dishes I’d had in ages'. 'Fine' did make a comeback in reference to her companion's French onion soup, but the day was saved by scampi and chips, with 'prawns in a perfectly crispy coating, the chips just as good, and a lovely homemade tartare served on the side'. Read her review here (subscription needed).
More next week.