This Week's Critic Reviews
A slightly shorter than usual critic review round up this week because it's Easter Sunday and you're probably all drunk or in a chocolate coma.
In the Irish Times Catherine Cleary is at Il Caffe di Napoli near Pearse Street Station, which she calls "classical", with "nothing reimagined or overworked". It all sounds a bit 'slightly above average Italian restaurant', with mushroom bruschetta and arancini needing work, a fish casserole their best savoury dish, and the only wow moment from the cannoli for dessert. She muses that "one person’s lacklustre staple is another person’s comfort dish" and gives them 6/10. Read her review here.
In the Irish Independent Katy McGuinness gives a very rare 30/30 to Uno Mas, saying that each time she's been the food's been better than the one before. The last time she gave a perfect score was to Etto - their sister restaurant. She reckons she's eaten in Uno Mas a dozen times already - alright super fan - and singles out the squid with black rice, "super-fresh" sardines with wild garlic aioli and the flan de queso as stand outs. She gives them a perfect 10/10 for food, ambience and value, and couldn't think of one low point. What restaurant owning dreams are made of. Read her review here.
In the Irish Examiner Leslie Williams was another very happy critic at Circa, Terenure's newest neighbourhood restaurant. He loved the owner-backed operation from four friends, saying "only a misanthrope would not want them to survive", and says that chef Gareth Naughton allows his "very well-sourced ingredients to speak for themselves". He thought the buttermilk marinated rabbit with a lettuce, pea and lardon friccasse and tarragon mayonnaise should be his signature dish, and top marks also for the goat's cheese, squash and prunes, pressed pork belly, and the triumphal desserts of kaffir lime parfait and chocolate cremeaux. He says the future for Circa is bright, and gives the food, wine and service 9/10. Read his review here.
In the Irish Daily Mail Tom Doorley was at Xi'an Street Food on South Anne Street, where the ma po tofu delivered, and the garlic-fried pork belly was so good that he begrudged giving away the last piece. Dandan noodle soup was flavour-packed, with gyoza just "fine", and mantou, like a Chinese version of doughnuts, sounded decent, but wasn't a patch on Spanish churros. He says that even though the pan-Asian schtick may annoy the purists and food snobs (guilty as charged), there's wisdom in the crowds baying to get in. Hard to argue with that. (Review not currently online)
In the Sunday Business Post, Gillian Nelis was at Edo in Belfast expecting smoky, barbecued sirloin steak, but instead getting flaccid, flavourless meat - with a side of under-cooked chips. It wasn't all bad news bears - padrón peppers were "beautifully charred", ham hock bonbons "perfectly crisp", and chicken thighs with romesco tender and tasty, but a dessert of orange and thyme polenta cake was dense, stodgy and painfully bitter. She had her suspicions that the food was chucked out because a large group arrived just as they were finishing up, and they'd had three courses in under an hour - hope they had some Rennie on hand. Read her review here.
In the Sunday Independent Lucinda lists her 20 favourite Sunday roasts across the country. Ten of them are in Dublin - FX Buckley, Guinea Pig, Locks, Marco Pierre White's Courtyard Bar & Grill, Peploe's, Roly's Bistro, Seasons in The Intercontinental, The Legal Eagle, Wilde and The Old Spot (below). You can check out our guide to some of the best Sunday lunches in Dublin here. (Review not currently online)
Finally in the Sunday Times Ernie Whalley has a solo dinner at Camden Kitchen on Grantham Street, and gives the deftly cooked comfort food 4/5, but an overall score of 3/5, with wine, ambience and value bringing the mark down slightly. Read that here.
More next week.