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This Week's Critic Reviews


What a week for the Sunday Independent to publish an article on where to find the best pizza in the country (presumably written weeks earlier) and not mention the place that's completely dominated

social media for the past 10 days - Pi. If ever there was an argument for holding something back until said newbie could be sampled, doing a swift rewrite, or the relevance of a piece that appears dated even before it's been published, this is it.

No mention of Katy McGuinness' fav Sano either, which she last week declared the best pizza in Ireland (and that wasn't the first time we heard it spoken about in those terms), or another constantly talked about contender for best in the city, Dublin Pizza Company. Some solid recommendations on Lucinda's list nonetheless, with Osteria Lucio, Gaillot et Gray, Forno 500 and Cirillo's all getting a place in the top 20. The other Dublin spots which made it are Fellini's in Deansgrange, Shovelhead in Monkstown and Pizza Yard in Ranelagh. Better luck next year Pi.

After Katy McGuinness' winning meal at Sano last week she was probably due some bad luck, and she got it with the coddle pizza at The Baths at Clontarf. She calls it "a truly terrible idea" and "an awful pizza. Don't whatever you do, order this dish, not even for fun."

The whole experience got off to a bad start with a request for an outside table denied (only drinks served on the terrace bizarrely), before being were shown to a table "from which every possible view of the pool or the sea is obliterated - by walls, by masonry, by a tea station, and by a huge banquette in the middle of the adjacent conservatory-type structure." Sure why would you need to see the actual sea when you have a beach hut, nautical lighting and a seaside mural in the dining room. Sure you could be on a boat.

The other brunch dishes they tried fared slightly better. Eggs Benedict on a soda farl with bacon and spinach had good hollandaise but too much bacon. A lobster roll was a "serviceable iteration" but the amount of lobster felt stingy and the accompanying chips weren't crisp enough. It was the coddle pizza however that was the stomach churner: "It looks terrible - pale, the cheese barely melted, the pieces of organic bacon limp and flaccid. It looks as if it hasn't yet been in the oven. But it has." Mmmm...

Desserts of an "uninspiring" knickerbocker glory and a "bland" affogato were "sweet, creamy, forgettable", and she says that "in such a magnificent location, both the décor and the food at The Baths are a disappointment." The Baths have been swimming (sorry) in controversy since they opened a few months ago over their failure to open the public swimming baths (the whole point of the project and why they were allowed to proceed in the first place) and are currently being investigated by Dublin City Council investigation for breaches to their planning permission. They've been given until September to make changes - maybe removing the coddle pizza is one of them. Read her review here.

In the Sunday Business Post, Gillian Nelis had a much more successful trip to The Cliff Townhouse on Stephen's Green, which she calls "good for the soul and good for the stomach". She describes head chef Sean Smith as "one of the best fish and seafood chefs in the country", and the dining room as "one of the nicest places to eat in the city".

West coast scallop ceviche with lime, chilli and orange was "a well-balanced, delicate starter", while cured mackerel with rhubarb, beetroot and blue cheese was "a much more robust affair", which she loved, but would have liked a bit more blue cheese. Her main of brill was gorgeous to look at and gorgeous to eat, and came with girolles, pea purée, fresh peas and a "divine" clam and mussel sauce. Her other half's main of halibut with asapargus and hollandaise wasn't going to win any awards for creativity but was "well-cooked nonetheless".