If we were 'theoretically' putting together a list of the hottest restaurants in Dublin right now, Luna would probably be at the top of it. Since new head chef Vish Sumputh (formerly sous chef at Chapter One) took over in early summer, the buzz has been steadily rising, and now that the critics have started heading in to size things up, the consensus is unanimous - Luna's got itself a brand new bag.
This week it's Leslie Williams in The Irish Examiner who's under Luna's spell (as well as Conor Stevens in Totally Dublin). He gives the food 9/10, the key to which he says, is the saucing - and if you're a regular reader of Leslie's reviews you'll know how he feels about inadequate saucing. It was the walnut milk sauce that made a starter of baby fennel, tangy goat's curd, caper sprouts and poached peaches (below) a resounding "success", and 'Ragu Bolognese with agnolotti di Parmigiano' had an "intensely rich (and rather glorious) proper Bolognese sauce", made from slow-cooked pork shoulder.
It was the description of the rabbit main course however that had us reaching for the phone to make a booking, which he calls "Michelin star food at around half the price". You had us at rabbit legs stuffed with mousse made from from the kidneys and liver with added smoked bacon and foie gras, never mind the apricot-scented girolles and "silk pillow gnocchi". No complaints about desserts or wine, and he says that "Luna remains one of the very best restaurants in the country." Read his review here.
In The Irish Times, Catherine Cleary gives Feast on Golden Lane their second positive review in two weeks, after Ernie Whalley's last Sunday. Feast recently moved from their original premises in Dun Laoghaire, and despite numerous restaurants attempting and failing at making a go of it in their new home on Golden Lane, CC says she hopes this one's a keeper. Highlights included bread with almogrote and an "excellent" black olive tapanade, "expertly cooked" scallops with chorizo-roasted carrots and smoked eel in a "delightful" sweetcorn broth, only slightly ruined by "Mr Kipling-sweet" chunks of corn sponge, which "should never have been there in the first place".
Lamb shoulder with aubergine (above) was "stunning", coming with potato cubes diced and crisped with Reblochon cheese, and duck breast with parsnips was "excellent", and good value as part of the pre-theatre meal. A baked-carrot cheesecake had a bit too much going on, but she says that trying too hard is definitely better than not trying hard enough, which is all too common at this price point in this part of town. Preach. Read her review here.
In The Irish Independent, Katy McGuinness was at new Blackrock café Fable & Stey, wishing they'd try a bit harder. Despite the menu being littered with buzzwords, they found the avocado toast dull, with salsa that 'isn't salsa, just a bunch of chopped tomatoes with coriander", and a butternut squash soup was "thicky, smooth and blandly comforting". The best dish was a lunch special of warm potatoes, jammy tomatillos, garlicky yoghurt, peas, peashoots, pickles, herbs, peanut rayu and a fried egg, but another kicking comes in the comment that it's not a patch on Etto's workers lunch which costs just a few euros more.
Takeaway cakes were good, although a Bread Nation cinnamon swirl was suffering from overexposure to air, and service was "smiley but verging on hapless". She was unimpressed that their water jug needed a proper clean, as did some grubby highchairs, and that her "stingy" serving of good kombucha came in a glass hot from the dishwasher. She says she's "getting bored of this café-by-numbers kind of establishment, where every menu reads the same and every dish feels like a cover version of the real thing i.e. The Fumbally". She gives the food, ambience and value 7/10. (Review not currently online but should be soon here).