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This Week's Critic Reviews


This week sees the redemption of Bun Cha, the Vietnamese street food restaurant on Moore Street, which Lucinda O'Sullivan memorably ripped apart soon after opening.

While LO'S called the summer rolls "tasteless lumps of starch", Tom thought they were "spot on, underlining that this kind of food is all about freshness and clean, distinctive flavours."

Wonton noodle soup was a highlight - "I'm not sure where else you will get so much to eat and delight in" - as was the bun cha, consisting of smoky pieces of grilled pork in a sweet, savoury and salty broth, which had "clean, fresh flavours and a considerable degree of zing". The whole meal came to €40 for two, which Tom describes as "The Noble prize for value".

It's always curious when critics have such different experiences and opinions of a restaurant. Were the meals cooked by two different people? Has the restaurant in question changed things since the bad review? Or do the critics just have completely different tastes? Regardless, Bun Cha has been removed from the "never eat here" list. (Review not currently online)

In the Irish Independent, Katy McGuinness is at Juniors in Dublin 4, wondering if the two women who are front of house and "hospitality incarnate" can be cloned and distributed across the city. Pretty sure our restaurateurs would jump at that.

She regretted choosing the pint of prawns for a starter, saying they lacked flavour, and had the exact same complaint about the "homemade mayonnaise" that Paolo Tullio had nine years ago when he ate there, calling it "white and anodyne and less exciting than Hellman's". Nine years is a lot of time to get the mayo right.

Purple sprouting broccoli with goat's cheese mousse, red chicory and toasted hazlenuts was "simple, seasonal, rather good", and high praise was reserved for the the Côte de boeuf, which she says isn't far off Etto's. She also managed to narrowly escape disaster when her glass of red wine went flying in the direction of a fellow diner wearing a white silk shirt, but just missed her. Not sure the Indo's budget would have stretched to replacing that. Read her review here.

In The Sunday Independent, Lucinda O'Sullivan does a nice little round up of 5 cafés she thinks are worth a visit - Happy Out in Clontarf, Pot Bellied Pig in Rathmines, The Riddler near Christ Church, Vanilla Pod in Blackrock, and Fennelly's in Kilkenny.

She recommends eating a toastie overlooking the sea at Happy Out, and the smashed avocado or speciality crêpe at