This Week's Critic Reviews

22 Apr 2018

In the Irish Daily Mail, Tom Doorley visited Drury Buildings, which has had more of a reputation as a place to drink than a place to eat, but it looks like that's going to change now that Gareth Naughton (formerly of l'Gueuleton and Suesey Street) is in the kitchen.

 

 

He describes a pitch-perfect, raw-heavy, Italian influenced meal, featuring beef tartare with parmesan, lemon and truffle, tuna tartare with soy and sesame oil, and pasta ribbons with guanciale and pecorino which was "so simple, so delicious, so perfect". Swoon.

 

 

He calls Drury Buildings elegant and understated, with a big airy dining room and lovely staff. Another one to add to your "must-eat in" list. (Review not currently online)

 

In The Irish Times, Catherine Cleary was at makeshift, middle-eastern Shouk in Drumcondra, which she thought looked "like it’s been hewn out of OSB sheeting, wine boxes and cushions".

 

 

She's impressed with the falafel and tahini yoghurt, Shakshuka eggs and the mezze platter, but the whole roast cauliflower that's the size of a human head isn't cooked enough and "too much cauliflower for one person". It honestly sounds like she's been put off cauliflower for life.

 

 

She obviously hangs out with 'clean-eating' types, as one of them ordered the caramelized banana chocolate pitta without the pitta, so just a smear of chocolate and banana on a plate then, which they don't sound impressed with... *no comment* With €1 corkage and very reasonable prices, we think Shouk is another place you can expect to see filling your Instagram timeline over the coming months. Read her review here.

 

In The Sunday Business Post, Gillian Nelis was also eating in the suburbs at Craft in Harold's Cross. She praises chef Phil Yeung's sustainable food sourcing and menus full of "great Irish produce", saying this is a chef "who can do things with vegetables that would make you weep with joy".

 

 

She calls the treacle and black porter bread "superb", and crackers topped with whipped chicken liver mousse, prune and apple "heavenly". Goat's curd pasta parcels with morels and pine nuts was "as perfect a representation of spring in a bowl as I’ve ever seen or tasted," and the beef cheek was so good that it was polished off by a fellow diner who hadn't eaten beef in ten years. Not sure praise comes higher than that.

 

 

She ends with a plea for readers to go out and support their great local restaurants, and we're going to throw the "local multiplier effect" into the mix here, which found that if you spend your money locally it gets multiplied three times. So get out there and start eating. Read her review here. (Subscription only)

 

In The Irish Examiner, Leslie Williams was also having a bit of a swoon over the food at Ananda (looks like everyone was loving their job this week). He discovered that Champagne is a great match for poppadoms (we'll be trying that one), and that Indian chorizo is a thing - who knew?

 

 

None of the dishes disappointed, but he loved the Jaipuri Raj Kachori - a Puffed Semolina bun stuffed with black gram lentil dumplings, crispy potato vermicelli, soft onion, tamarind, sweet and sour chilli and yoghurt. Boned and rolled chicken stuffed with rose petals, wild mushrooms, pistachio, saffron and cardamom was fragrant and creamy, and the dahl languorous and silky with a spicy kick.

 

 

The rose-petal scented kulfi is one of the prettiest desserts he's seen all year with an intoxicating fragrance, and he ends by saying this is "ambitious and hugely accomplished cooking, beautifully presented dishes and gorgeous flavours." Read his review here.

 

Another great review for Indian cuisine in the Sunday Independent, where Lucinda O'Sullivan sounds like she was about to faint with joy at Rasam in Dun Laoghaire, where she's a regular. She starts by listing off all the celebrities who've eaten there, which we're not sure is any restaurant's biggest selling point (unless you're looking for Shane Ritchie's autograph), but calls it a "home away from home", where there's always a superb welcome (once again we're pondering how anon critic would have fared).

 

 

She describes a pretty fascinating sounding menu, including tiger prawns dipped in fresh basil and sesame seeds fried with sprout leaves, chillies filled with goat's cheese, peppers and dried Indian mint leaves, and pan-fried white fish, simmered in a sauce of black cumin, melon seeds, dried coconut and browned onions.

 

 

What they actually ate sounded slightly more tame - lamb and hake curry - but they clearly left delighted, and mango kulfi with basil seeds is described as "an amazing ice-cream, different from anything you will have here". We're also elated to see they've finally started using professionally taken photos rather than dark, blurry phone jobs. Crossing fingers that one sticks. (Review not currently online) 

 

Finally, in The Irish Independent, Katy McGuinness was on a whistle stop tour of Galway, where the first stop was veggie/vegan café The Light House. A chickpea pancake filled with courgette, mint and potato fritters was very good, and the salad plate, with hummus, lentils, cabbage and goat's cheese is "the kind of food we all want to eat at lunchtime to fend off the dreaded mid-afternoon slump."

 

 

Afterwards they head to Kasbah Wine Bar to undo their good work with some croquettes, tacos and wine. Sounds like a perfect day. Read her review here.

 

More next week.

 

* 1st August 2018 - A previous version of this article featured Ernie Whalley's review for the Sunday Times. This has been removed at the newspaper's request

 

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