We knew this couldn't last forever didn't we? It's been an interesting week for All The Food, as two newspapers have "politely" requested we no longer feature their reviews. So unfortunately there won't be much more of Gillian Nelis or Ernie Whalley around these parts (although it should be noted that the critics in question had nothing to do with it). So then there were five...
In The Irish Independent, Katy McGuinness had a mixed experience at newly-opened vegan restaurant Veginity on Dorset Street, which we thought Catherine Cleary would beat everyone else to. She says her review was between that and another recent vegan opening, until a friend visited the latter and sent her a picture of the "rank" nachos. If you read this site regularly you'll be able to make an educated guess about where that was.
Back to Veginity, she liked the vibe, the pleasant staff and the comfortable chairs, but found the acoustics "terrible", particularly with the shrieking diner at the next table. Home-baked ciabatta with fermented coconut cream cheese and a mint and coriander chermoula was "pleasant", while beetroot kibbeh tasted of "nothing much", but did come with pineapple bulgur, sriracha salsa and confit garlic aioli that was "standout good".
Her favourite main was XO king oyster mushrooms with fermented choi sum, kimchi Chinese cabbage and marinated shimeji. Another of miso aubergine came with delicious noodles but "slimey and unappealing" tofu, and her least favourite was a Kentucky-fried Kiev waffle with chicken nugget shapes of soy protein, mushroom gravy, confit peppers, banana shallots, red cabbage slaw and caramelised apricots. Too much on one plate according to Katy, and she never wants to see those nuggets again - "vegan's deserve better".
Desserts were a "good" brûlée citron cheesecake and a chocolate based creation that she calls a "hideous disaster" - no mincing of words over here. Overall she says "the food is not awful - and there are some spectacularly good elements", but she thinks it could be better. We've always loved Mark Senn's food so think this might just be a case of needing a few months to settle in. It certainly seems to be getting good reviews from the vegans. Read her review here.
In the Irish Daily Mail, Tom Doorley was dining with the "well-upholstered, moneyed, older folk" at
Peploe's on Stephen's Green. After mixed experiences in the past, it was positive reports about new head chef Graeme Dodrill, who'd recently been persuaded to come home from Dubai, which convinced him to go back.
As a table of four they tried a good subsection of the menu, including "delightfully raw and moist" seared tuna, devilled kidneys "worthy of a very grand Edwardian country house party", a "dense, intense" foie gras terrine, and "very tender" grilled octopus. The Peploe's stalwart of spaghettini with monkfish, Dublin Bay prawns, chilli and tomato had been "brought to a new level ... 24 carat bistro cooking", while plump scallops with Comté cheese and creamy spinach was "as good as it sounds".
His fellow diner's soufflé was so good he didn't get a taste, a crème brûlée was "silky" and "vanilla-scented", and he says "there's no doubt that Peploe's has upped its game". (Review not currently online)
In The Irish Times Catherine Cleary was eating food grown a few metres away at Enniscoe House in Mayo, which looks and sounds like the most delightful country escape, and which she calls "a reminder of things almost lost, now surviving in quiet corners of Ireland." Swoon...
She went hoping to taste "this summer of summers" in the food, and found it in a carrot and cumin soup, and the green salad that accompanied a chorizo and black olive quiche and a red pepper and anchovy tart - "the simplest gathering of tasty things on filo pastry".
The best main was salmon with a lemon cream and "the best potatoes I’ve had outside of my Dad’s home-grown new season Queens", along with fresh broadbeans and "duff" watery cauliflower which should have been roasted. Summer fruits with baby meringue for dessert was a "tumble of gooseberries, red black and white currants all bursting with sweet tang and a beige meringue chewy in the middle," and should be given a glass case in a museum of food memories. She says that places like Enniscoe House, where cooks started with the question “what’s good or plentiful today?”, is where delicious things begin. Read her review here.
In the Sunday Independent, Lucinda O'Sullivan returns to reviewing with a trip to the much-fêted Mews in Baltimore, where the service was so lovely she almost burst into tears of joy - it should be noted this emotive outburst came off the back of three awful service experiences in a row at the hands of "smart-ass gobshites in hotels".