A resoundingly successful week for eating out, with once again all the critics having meals worth recommending. Unfortunately the same can't be said for us, who had to go out to eat three times last week to find one restaurant worth writing about. That's coming tomorrow.
Top of the pile in Dublin this week was The Greenhouse, where Catherine Cleary enjoyed yet another alcohol-light lunch. The lack of wine didn't detract from the experience, and she gave it 9.5/10, saying it's "still the best lunch in Dublin".
As usual, it's a great read, with head chef Mickael Viljanen described as "paler than a submariner on shore leave", and this description of the demise of French style dining in Dublin: "Bistronomie was on the march and acres of table cloths were warehoused. Poshness was reborn with a clutch of dandelion leaves and a glass of natural wine murky as cider."
The pastry on a miniature asparagus tart was so crisp it "almost evaporates in the mouth", a courgette roasted in seaweed with a maple seaweed sauce and bergamot yoghurt is "astonishing", and white asparagus "chunky as a baby’s arms" with a raw egg yolk, black garlic and girolles is described as "minerality meets creamy food hug".
There wasn't a disappointing dish, and her well travelled dining companion thought the food rested
between two and three michelin stars (they currently have one and it took them three years to get it, much to the outrage of many, including Guardian food critic Marina O'Loughlin). She ends by saying The Greenhouse has long been the city's best lunch, and it keeps getting better. Read her review here.
Another team who must be feeling happy with themselves this weekend is the one in The Old Spot, who Tom Doorley reviews in The Irish Daily Mail. A buzz has been quietly building about the Michelin recommended gastro pub on Bath Avenue over the past few months, and it seems to have only increased with the hiring of Denise McBrien (ex-Pichet and Old Street), now running front of house.
Tom usually doesn't like gastro pubs but calls The Old Spot an "exception", praising the quality and work that goes into head chef Fiachra Kenny's food, including slow-cooked octopus, nduja, homemade pappardelle and black olive tapanade, which was "bloody good", and slow-cooked smoked pork shoulder, sausage roll, cabbage celeriac and mustard, which was "a dish to conjure with".
Prawn pil pil (which we were eyeing up a few weeks ago) was "delicious", and he felt €30 for a 10oz dry-aged rib eye was justified, with its proper chips and "pulse-quickeningly lovely" bone marrow jus. He calls the cooking solid and well-grounded, and the service quiet and efficient. Go team Old Spot. (Review not currently online)
In the Irish Independent, Katy McGuinness is the second critic to get to the much hyped Restaurant Chesnut in Ballydehob, Cork, from chef Rob Krawczyk, after Joe McNamee got straight in on opening night (impressive). Katy is equally enamoured with the tiny 18-seater restaurant in the middle of rural Cork, calling the spelt sourdough with smoked butter sprinkled with sea salt and flecked with gold "an event in of itself", with the chewy crust of the bread and the flavour of the butter "immense".