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This Week's Critic Reviews

In the Irish Times this week it sounds like Catherine Cleary has found her vegan spiritual home in Stoneybatter, at Dublin's newest (and only) vegan fine dining restaurant, Beo Kitchen and Wine Bar. She calls it glamorous, exciting and almost brilliant, and to be fair, we've never wanted vegan food as much as we did after reading this. This is less fake fast food and more beautiful things done to vegetables and nuts by Michelin-trained chefs. She gives it 8/10 and calls it "an exciting and ambitious new idea for Dublin dining". Read the full tasting menu lowdown here.

In the Irish Independent it's more vegan-friendly content from Katy McGuinness, with a list of 30 of the best restaurants for omnivores, vegetarians and vegans alike, i.e. when you want to go out to eat but that awkward friend or family member is wrecking your buzz. In Dublin the more high end places included are Forest Avenue (below), The Greenhouse, The Garden Room at The Merrion, Peploe's, Ananda and Pickle, and for a more casual bite, Shouk, Brother Hubbard, Riba, Darwin's, Lucky Tortoise, Chameleon, The Cedar Tree, and Boxty House get a mention. Read the full thing here.

In the Sunday Independent Lucinda O'Sullivan was at 30 Church Street in Howth, the latest addition to the "stagnant restaurant scene" in the seaside village, that she reckons might rattle the cages of some complacent restaurant owners. It seems like they were on a budget, as they shared a starter and skipped dessert, and things went from bad to better on the food front. They hated their "dry and unspreadable" chicken liver and foie gras parfait with cold pieces of pitta bread, which was taken off the bill, but crab claws in garlic butter were "juicy, fresh and delicious", and caramelised King scallops were "beautifully seared" with a fresh, delicate flavour. Stick to the seafood then. Review not currently online.

In the Sunday Business Post Gillian Nelis reckons the food at Hang Dai is better than it's ever been, and it sounds it. Stand outs included hen of the woods with burnt onion, mushroom and black garlic sauce and a tofu custard, and a ray wing on the bone with spicy herbs and purple sprouting broccoli topped with spicy kimchi hollandaise. The "innovative" cocktails get a mention too, and she reckons that even with all the new openings of late, Hang Dai is somewhere that will go the distance. Read her review here.

In the Irish Examiner, Joe McNamee praises the "old-school comfort" and "astounding value" at the Michelin-starred Wild Honey Inn in Clare. Duck and foie gras terrine was "a sublime take on a rustic classic", wild silver hake with plump Dublin Bay prawns "perfectly cooked" and chocolate fondant with blood orange "superb". He says it's not just technically perfect but profoundly satisfying, and gives the food 8.5/10, and value 9.5/10. Read his review here.

In the Irish Daily Mail Tom Doorley (who's starting to give Lucinda and Gillian a run for their money when it comes to 'first in' credentials) was straight into {...} and chips, Waterford's newest upscale fish and chip shop which opened a couple of weeks ago. The upshot is that the fish was great, the chips were fine. Battered ling was superb, squid far superior to most he's had this year, and even chicken goujons were meaty, moist and tender, but the chips lacked crispness. He calls it "a delight", and suggests a take away by the sea with a cold bottle of sherry. (Review not currently online)

Finally in the Sunday Times, Ernie Whalley loved the lambs' tongues and rabbit bisteeya at Marrakesh by Mindo on Capel Street, less so the marinated carrots. Read that here.

No critic review round up next week. Back in two.

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