This Week's Critic Reviews
The big story this week is the Sunday Business Post’s pull out on ‘101 Great Irish Restaurants’. There are 33 listed in Dublin, and it’s a brilliant line-up. You could spend the next year eating your way through this list and be very happy.
Lots of our favourites are on there, including Etto, Clanbrassil House, Michael’s, Fish Shop, Piglet, Old Street, Nightmarket, Dax, Forest & Marcy, Chameleon and The Seafood Café. Most of the Michelin stars are on there too, including Chapter One, The Greenhouse, Heron & Grey and Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud.
If you can't pick up a copy you can get the list online here, either by subscribing annually or buying a one-day pass.
In the rest of the papers, after last week’s love-fest, it seems the critics were back in rip-roaring form ready to hang a couple of places out to dry. Lucinda O’Sullivan in The Sunday Independent had the worst sounding Vietnamese food we’ve read about in a while (but some of the best article sub-headings), in Bun Cha on Moore Street. From the staff not wanting to let them in, to beef that was ‘dry and cardboard-like’, to a curry with a skin on it, it sounds like an absolute nightmare. The clincher had to be finding out that the toilet that was out of order for the third day in a row due to a blockage (we’re not gagging, you’re gagging). Review not currently online.
In Waterford, Tom Doorley was unimpressed with the widely-lauded Bay Tree Bistro, calling the cooking over-ambitious and expressing his displeasure at the wait for food. We’d say this one went down like a lead balloon with chef Keith Boyle, especially seen as the Bay Tree was one of the restaurants listed in the Sunday Business Post’s ‘101 Great Irish Restaurants’. Maybe you caught them on an off-night Tom? (Review not currently online)
In the Irish Examiner, Joe McNamee had a pretty dull sounding meal at Bodega, also in Waterford (not a great weekend for the Deise). Apart from his chicken main - 'succulent, tender, underpinned by sweet, earthy Jerusalem artichokes with spinach, in an umami-rich tarragon and bacon gravy — a wedge of creamy Dauphinoise potato crowns perfectly a sublimely comforting dish' - it all sounded a bit average. Tiger prawns in an adapted Pil Pil with lemon and butter, ‘decent salt cod fishcakes’, and a main of Turbot which came with purple carrot purée ‘too blandly sweet’. Despite this, he enjoyed the night, but it sounded like this was more to do with the company of his ‘Heart’s Delight’, ‘La Daughter’, ‘No 2 Son’ and ‘The Judge’ and family. Read his review here.
In The Irish Times, Catherine Cleary visits Bresson in Monkstown and loves the old-fashion feel, making it four weeks in a row for Temple Garner, Conor Kavanagh and team getting a great write-up in the papers. Might have been better for business if they were a bit more spread out, but it’s a dream start for a new opening. Catherine and her companion loved the white aprons, hefty cutlery and being called ‘ladies’, saying ‘you don’t so much need Google maps to get here as a time machine.’
While Katy McGuinness in The Irish Independent found the crab crème brulee too eggy, Catherine Cleary liked it, calling it ‘a deft and delicious working of a favourite’. She also enjoyed the bouillabaisse
with ‘chunks of everything that’s good from the sea, including curls of scored squid and the star ingredient: palourde clams’, and wild Seabass from Brittany – ‘a gorgeous fillet of luscious fish as white as the table linen topped with a shimmering mesh of crisp skin', with 'gnarly just scorched baby squid whose tentacles taste of summer barbecue season’, as well as confit of fennel, a Pernod and chervil butter, and skin-on ratte potatoes which remind her of her Dad’s homegrown spuds. Sounds gloriously French and the perfect antidote to the Vietnamese horror described earlier.
More next week.