There's a real mixture of moods this week, with some critics' lunch giving them "hope for a new future", and others downtrodden by oyster bars that feel more like a chipper.
In the Irish Times, Catherine Cleary calls new Gardiner Street spot One Society a farm-to-table café that's a great addition to the north inner city. She flipping loved that the beef brisket on the menu was from the owner's sister's farm in Meath (music to an Irish Times critic's ears), and calls the whole place "heartening".
A "not so classic Irish breakfast" sounds enormous but came with good sausages, smoked black pudding, caramelized apples ("just apple sauce but still good"), spiced beans, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms and her friend thought it was as good a breakfast as he'd had. Special mention for the Le Levain sourdough too. Desserts of brownie and crumble were bought in but good, and coffee excellent, and she calls One Society a "hope for a future which might not be as generic as the developments that surround it". And people say it's just food... Read her review here.
In the Irish Independent Katy McGuinness admits to kicking herself for taking 25 years to get to Chameleon in Temple Bar. They recently did a bit of a rebrand, giving the exterior of restaurant a much-needed facelift, and for any restaurateurs getting worried about getting left behind with all of the new openings of later, this is a very clever idea - just FYI, the food needs to be good too or it doesn't work.
She gives a nice bit of background on how Chameleon came about in 1994 which we'd guess most people won't know, before telling us that the bao are "perfect", their favourite being pork belly with pineapple compote, but buttermilk chicken and fish and squid "fish fingers" get honourable mentions too. Short rib of beef is "rich, tender, elegant", and a Wicklow lamb and sweet potato curry "the epitome of comfort". Also getting the love was the bami goreng (noodles), nasi goreng (rice), sambal fries (yum) and kimchi (gut health ftw), and she gives it 8/10 for food, ambience and value. Read her review here.
In the Sunday Independent Lucinda O'Sullivan lists 12 cafés to try in "fringe locations" in Dublin, and it's a pretty cracking list. She's certainly been doing her groundwork of late. Making the cut are a lot of our favourites, including Alma, Bread 41, Gertrude and Nutbutter, and One Society gets its second nod of the week.
Also mentioned is Bowls by Kwanghi Chan just off Parnell Street, Groundstate Coffee in Dublin 8, Industry (not a fringe location but still great), Koffee + Kale just off Dorset Street, Lilliput Stores and Mooz in Stoneybatter, and The Green Bean in Dun Laoghaire. You could do a lot worse than working your way through this list. (Not currently online).
In the Sunday Business Post, Gillian Nelis visited the newly revamped Ely Wine Bar on Ely Place, finding it "buzzing". The food sounds good, with some great provenance including beef from the family farm, but there were a couple of "could do better"s including some "bland" scallops and a celeriac dish that needed some crunch. She calls the burger "one of the best in town" and they loved the desserts of poached rhubarb with rhubarb jelly and ice-cream. Read her review here.