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This Week's Critic Reviews

A slightly shorter than normal critic's reviews this week, because we have a lot of Easter Eggs to eat.

First up, Katy McGuinness in the Irish Independent was in Michael's, where she was one of the last critics to cross the threshold, but was no less impressed. She praised the freshness and abundance of the food, saying she's more used to chefs cutting the scallops in half to make it appear like there's more of them (we hear you Katy). The Lambay Island crab salad was 'simply lovely', and the gratin of Lambay crab claws and Dublin Bay prawns 'a garlicky, generous, mop-able delight.' She calls it a 'happy place serving happy food', that's fast becoming a destination. Read her review here.

In the Times, Catherine Cleary makes it two weeks in a row for the tiny Assassination Custard to see their name in lights. Like Leslie Williams in the Irish Examiner last week she loved it all (except the bread), particularly the buttery, silky endives, a kohlrabi version of vitello tonnata, the 'ugly but excellent' brown meringue with coriander seeds and hazelnuts for dessert, and the menu written on brown paper bags. Read her review here.

In The Irish Daily Mail, Tom Doorley was trying out the new, Naples-accredited Pizzeria Forno 500 (which we wrote about here), and was pleased to find the pizza was the real deal, with 'its blistered fringe retaining just the right amount of elasticity', and the toppings 'not piled on but added in just the right quantity.' The rest was a mixed bag, with the lasagne 'almost perfect', save for the overcooked pasta, some unconventional carpaccio and risotto, and an ambitiously priced wine list lacking basic details like the producer. (Review not currently online)

In the Sunday Independent, Lucinda O'Sullivan was hoping she was onto a new favourite Chinese in Old Town on Capel Street, but ended up sitting in a cold room eating 'magic prawns' that weren't that magic and dry, dense duck. She did enjoy the jellyfish and cucumber salad and a bowl of dry, hot noodles, but the search continues.

In the Sunday Business Post, Gillian Nelis was taking one for the team by trying everything on the menu at Hansel and Gretel, the bakery and patisserie near Merrion Square. She found a maderia cake to rival her granny's, an excellent almond croissant and a divine chocolate rice crispie slice. She also let us in on her family Easter tradition of a 'first breakfast' consisting solely of chocolate, which we think should be rolled out across the country. Read her review here (subscription online).

Finally, in the Irish Examiner, Joe McNamee was taking the wife off for a romantic night away (i.e. he watches sport, she has a bath - sounds pretty perfect) at The Mustard Seed in Limerick. Her current pseudonym is 'The Cat's Pyjamas', or 'TCP' - we bet she's really missing 'My Heart's Desire/Delight'. They really enjoyed the unusual sounding menu, featuring coffee-braised veg, chicken with plums and maple syrup, a salad with papaya dressing and suckling pig with herby sausage and a meaty, aspic jelly. He's planning a return to coincide with The World Cup. Read his review here.

More next week.

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