This week's critic reviews
FINALLY another review of Glovers Alley to pour over. It turns out that Lucinda O'Sullivan was first in the door on opening night, it's just taken three weeks for the Sunday Independent to publish her write-up. If we were the editors that's one we would have wanted a quick turn around on, it being the most talked about restaurant opening in years and all, but rules are rules.
It's a bit of an odd one in that she absolutely loved the food, but thought the experience was a bit stuffy. Just what she was expecting from a fine dining restaurant in a 5 star hotel that's clearly hoping to win a Michelin star is a puzzle. Skinny jeans and trainers? Waiters pulling up a chair to chat through the specials?
Thankfully the food was 'spectacular', particularly the 'Cheddar dumplings, topped with threads of crisped ham hock, which were sitting in a Pommery grainy mustard dressing', 'violet artichokes and grapes on a radicchio boat, with a hazlenut and foie gras melange', and kid goat with Irish snails and anchovy gremolata.
She was very impressed with desserts (as is everyone who sets foot in GA, seems like Aoife Noonan is killing it) of grapefuit granita with Velvet Cloud sheep mousse (we're pretty sure this is sheep's yoghurt mousse rather than a mousse of sheep), and layers of Itakuja chocolate, passion fruit and blood orange.
Once again the photos used are awful and do the beautiful room and food no justice. (Review not currently online)
Over in Ranelagh it seems that Host finally got that print out of critics faces up behind the bar, because Catherine Cleary in the Irish Times loved it, and miraculously managed to get a cosy corner seat rather than one in full draft of the front door.
After briefly reminiscing about younger years living in a Ranelagh bedsit, complete with urine-soaked carpet and a climbing rope around the leg of the bed so she could escape in case of fire, she moves onto the food. Grassy olive oil with a peppery nip, and salty cakey focaccia were a great start, as was a starter of 'cloudy puffs of ricotta on crisp toasts with honey puddling in the dimples and wafer-thin slices of nicely chewy salami shinier than a bald man after a Bikram class'. Delightful.
Like Katy McGuinness, CC loved the pumpkin cappellacci which she thought tasted of walnut coffee cake (we think this is a good thing), and the broccoli with anchovy oil and a nutty crumb. The meal ends with a debate over a chocolate pot topped with a rosemary crumb, which she loves, but her dining companion hates. Read her review here.
Bresson must be riding high this weekend after their third week in a row getting a positive write-up in the papers, this time from Katy McGuinness in the Irish Independent. You read the other ones here.
She describes a starter of rabbit fricassee with sage and butternut squash gnocchi, Ventreche ham, carrots, wholegrain mustard, white wine and tarragon which was 'full of flavour and depth'. Unfortunately the crab crème brûlée didn't fare as well, with Katy calling it 'deep, solid and egg-y and not crab-y enough for our taste'. And to really stick the boot in she says that Paul Flynn's at The Tannery is better.
Mains went down well with the Coquilles-St Jacques a 'gorgeous affair', and the Limousine bone-in striploin 'epically good', which it should be for €42 - surely a contender for priciest main course in the city? They finish with a perfect tarte tatin, and a slightly uninteresting prune and armagnac trifle. Read her review here.
In The Sunday Business Post, it seems like couple Santosh and Milie, of Blackrock Market's 3 Leaves, can do no wrong, with Gillian Nelis calling the place 'very special indeed'. She describes an eye-popping assortment of Indian food, including homemade paneer, tikka prawns marinated three times for different layers of flavour, chicken thighs marinated in nutmeg and cardamom in a creamy sauce with toasted almond slivers and pistachios, and beef rara - a mix of minced and cubed beef slow-cooked with black cardamom, cinnamon, peppercorns and star anise, served with a tomato-based sauce and raw chopped onion for crunch.
For that feast of food (including dessert) they spent €48 (it's BYOB too - score), and Gillian says 'I’d be surprised if better value is available anywhere in the country when you consider the amount of work that goes into the food here.' Read her review here (subscription only).
More next week.