This week's critic reviews
We were wondering who would get their review of Glovers Alley in first. (Secretly we were hoping that several would come on the same weekend so that no one would have a chance to compare notes.) Our money was on Lucinda who loves being first in the door, but Gillian Nelis in the Sunday Business Post managed to beat her to it.
It's safe to say that although Glovers Alley has a website (a major peeve of G's when restaurants don't), it isn't quite what she had in mind. She quotes several cringy lines that had us hiding behind our hands (and wondering if Andy McFadden has ever ventured outside the kitchen to look at it). Apparently the head chef will “effortlessly leave the most expectant gastronomes speechless”. We're already speechless and we haven't even been there yet.
Overall she enjoyed her experience and the obvious quality of the food, particularly her veal sweetbreads with XO sauce, hazelnuts and mesclun which was 'bang on', and her Irish lamb stew - 'one of the best plates of lamb I'd eaten in years'. Her partner fared marginally worse, with a starter lacking in texture and a main which needed more sauce, but still enjoyed himself. The sweet section of the meal, featuring pre-desserts, desserts and petit fours were faultless and left them very happy (if in a post-sugar coma on the way home).
We're getting the feeling that Glovers Alley's ambitious pricing (€80 for a three-course dinner) is
going to be hard for the kitchen to live up to. Read her review here (subscription only).
Also usurping Lucinda on a new opening was Tom Doorley in The Irish Daily Mail with his review of Bresson in Monkstown (her home turf for god's sake!). The new French restaurant from Conor Kavanagh and Temple Garner impressed with their skillful cooking including 'gossamer' light gnocchi, 'inspired' Coquilles Saint Jacques and monkfish that was cooked to 'perfection'. Although he would have liked more booze in the trifle. This is Monkstown Tom, land of restraint. (Review not currently online)
In The Times Catherine Cleary visits Urbanity in Smithfield (hot on the heels of Katy McGuinness who reviewed it last week), which goes to show that sometimes getting free PR is simply a case of emailing a few food critics and telling them how great you are. Nice work Jason.
She's impressed by the wholesome food, the variety, and the use of a coravin so that they can offer more than 'the usual set of dullard wines by the glass', but she's wary of the desserts, thinking they taste 'suspiciously healthy'. We were left scratching our heads over her description of, 'a butter-cream-iced matcha muffin that was the green of a fresh cow pat inside when you sliced down through it.' Did she like it? Is she trying to say it tasted like a turd? Why has she been going around slicing open cow pats? We'll probably never know. Read her review here.
In the Irish Independent, Katy McGuinness had mixed feelings about Host, liking the food, but not the impression that you had to be in with the in crowd to get a table. We're not sure why they keep sitting the restaurant critics on stools near the door - we think maybe the staff need a print out of all of their faces behind the bar? She loved the pumpkin cappellacci and sage, and compares the sharing rib-eye to the côte de boeuf at Etto which is just about the nicest thing that could be said about a piece of meat. Read her review here.
In The Irish Examiner, Leslie Williams discovers a new Italian on George's Street (which was a new one on us too), Café Amore. His caprese salad was 'like a blast of warm Neapolitan sun on a wintry January evening', and the Mortadella was the best he's had outside of Bologna. High praise indeed. He liked it so much he went back for lunch the next day which sounded like a complete bargain at €11.50 for two courses and a glass of wine, especially considering that dinner for two had cost €110, i.e. 10 times as much. Read his review here.
No review from Lucinda O'Sullivan in the Sunday Independent this week, instead telling us about the '20 Best Romantic Valentine's Spots.' In Dublin she mentions Aqua in Howth, Avalon in Donnybrook, Chamelon in Temple Bar, Nightmarket in Ranelagh, Chapter One, Dax, Luna and Pearl Brasserie in the city centre, and two hotel restaurants - Tavern at the Dylan and Talavera in the Radisson Stillorgan. The article also comes with some pretty dodgy photography for a national newspaper.
Fingers crossed for that spate of Glovers Alley reviews next week.