This Week's Critic Reviews
A full run of Dublin based reviews this week - wait for the inevitable moaning about how we all think Dublin is the centre of the universe - which it is. Also, don't you love it when a plan comes together? That's how Tiller + Grain on South Frederick Street must be feeling this weekend. They're not even open a month and they've got two reviews under their belt, both stuffed full of praise for their "very striking" salads and "flavour filled condiments". Read our piece about Tiller + Grain opening up here.
In the Irish Times, Catherine Cleary praises their "bowls of salad as cheerful as anything the lunch scene has to offer", and urges readers to sit in rather than take away as you might be able to pounce on the newly baked pecan cookies coming straight from the kitchen. Dreamz... She loved the various homages to vegetables, including tenderstem broccoli with "flavour clusters" of miso almonds & walnuts, and a nutty, sweet and zesty cabbage slaw.
A lentil dahl was "comfort food" with jazzy flavours of chilli and lemon, and the aforementioned freshly baked dark chocolate and pecan cookies would have her mother driving to Dublin at the promise of one. She says that Tiller + Grain is serving food that makes "the stuff of other salad bars (even the pomegranate pretenders) look like sludgy sameness", and gives it 8.5/10. Read her review here.
Very similar sentiments in the Irish Daily Mail from Tom Doorley who calls it "a place as bright and vibrant physically as it is in terms of taste." He also loved the salads which he calls the "stars" - beetroot on a bed of silky hummus, "delicious" quinoa with feta and pomegranate, and "the star amongst stars", farro with preserved lemon and olives.
Pork and beef meatballs were "generous and not stretched out using breadcrumbs" with "properly dry couscous" cooked in excellent stock, and another dish of cold trout was "just cooked, delicate and flaky". A brownie for dessert was "fabulously savoury and intense", a vegan blood orange cake "delightful", and he says there's "a genuinely homemade, homely and caring feeling about what is produced here." Winner all round. (Review not currently online)
In the Irish Examiner Leslie Williams finally got around to writing about Uno Mas after three visits, and says that during every one he was "taken aback by the sheer precision in the cooking as well as by the quality of ingredients and the balancing of flavours." It's a home run when it comes to the food, with padron peppers "the best I've tried outside Spain", cockles in fino sherry "a gorgeous dish", and "the most perfectly cooked piece of cod I have ever eaten".
Ox cheek with polenta was a perfect combination of flavours, and a dark chocolate and olive oil ganache "revelatory", while salt caramel ice-cream and espresso granita were "as good as they sound". He says Uno Mas is focused on the best foods of Spain — "perfect sourcing, precision cooking and one of the best wine lists in the city", and advises booking it promptly. Read his review here.
In the Sunday Independent Lucinda O'Sullivan reviews everyone's new favourite Italian Grano, in Stoneybatter. Owner Roberto's mama was still in the kitchen so she must have visited in early January. She also had an identical meal to us, so we reckon we ate there within a day of each other (or maybe the same night a couple of hours apart), and like us, she loved every bit of it, including the stuffed artichoke, black pig lardo and charred green peppers with marinated anchovies.
The cacio e pepe fileja came with a "fabulous" cheese sauce and chargrilled artichoke shards, and another pasta in a tomato, black pig guanciale and pecorino sauce was "divine". Dessert of salame di cioccolato was "a delight", and the wine list "excellent", and she says "If I lived locally I'd be there every night". Ditto. (Review not currently online)
In the Irish Independent, Katy McGuinness went to Pi on George's Street and says she liked it but didn't find it life-changing (in case you forget, we were in the life-changing camp). It didn't start off great when they were given "the worst table" at the back by the stairs, and then the pizza she really wanted with funghi, grana padano, fontina, sage and spinach wasn't on the menu, so probably a tough recovery from there on.
They settled for the nduja and the patata, and she thought the dough was "excellent, crisp on the outside, chewy within, nicely tangy, beautifully charred and blistered", but the toppings on the nduja (which included honey) a bit sweet and lacking in spice. The patata with grana padano, potato, scamorza, black pudding, caramelised onion, pickled shallots and garlic had better balance. Their dessert of chocolate budino was "perfectly pleasant", and she thought it "wholly enjoyable" but not world altering. Read her review here.
In the Sunday Business Post Gillian Nelis was in Lucinda's favourite restaurant, Rasam, and found it comforting and calming after a trying week. Cauliflower florets in a spicy batter were "the perfect consistency", as were battered spinach leaves with honey and yoghurt dressing. Tandoori seabass was "a light delight", and Malabar prawns came in a "great" tomato and coconut sauce. She says it might be lacking in the more adventurous dishes, but they know what their customers want and deliver it to them consistently (and judging by how often she goes there we're guessing Lucinda agrees). Read her review here.
And in the Sunday Times, Ernie Whalley visits newly opened tapas-style Bart's on South William Street (which it turns out is a Jay Bourke enterprise), where he had highs including lobster fries and roast brill, and lows including the hoisin duck and the wine list. Read that here.
More next week.