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This Week's Critic Reviews

A bit of a bombshell this weekend with the news that Ernie Whalley's restaurant reviews for the Sunday Times have been axed. Despite the recent cuts to the Times Ireland office, involving 17 out of 20 staff being made redundant, this has still come as a shock, particularly considering the current wave of excitement surrounding the Irish/Dublin restaurant scene. Whether it's been shelved for good or foisted onto one of the three remaining full time staff members is currently unknown. He chose Little Mike's in Mount Merrion for his last supper, loving it as much as everyone else who's been through the door, and you can read his swan song here.

Also reviewing (and loving) Little Mike's was Lucinda O'Sullivan in the Sunday Independent. She calls it "cool and sophisticated", in comparison to big brother Michael's a few doors up - "rustic and charming" - but she compares the snug in the back to a "padded cell" - can't win 'em all. The famous whelks that chef/owner Gaz Smith says he won't charge for if someone doesn't like them had her converted, and whole, grilled Dublin Bay Prawns with salt and lemon were "resplendent".

Scallops with gremolata, capers and hollandaise were "divine", Lambay Island crab and Wexford prawn gratin came with crab claws "the size of a baby's fist", and she calls the whole thing "a fishy feast". Fried Gruyère cheese with honey was "lovely" and "stinky", and a chocolate tart was "the dessert of the evening". Review not officially online but you can read it on Gaz Smith's twitter feed here, and get a sense of his cruel taste in pranks here.

In the Sunday Business Post Gillian Nelis is on laugh out loud form whilst obliterating The Old Post Office in Blackrock. She thinks it should be renamed "Jesus It’s Fucking Expensive" as that's likely to be the first thing that people say when they open the menu, and that you can only get away with prices like €11 for soup and fillet of beef for €42 if the food is brilliant, but the food is "not even close to brilliant, and at times it’s downright poor."

Marinated sea trout with black bean sauce was "about as tender as an old boot", tasting "deeply unpleasant", a main of scallops for €38 contained four whole scallops, with noodles an extra €5, and gong bao chicken for €32 was "an instantly forgettable plate of chicken and cashew nuts", and cost another fiver for the fried rice on the side. Dessert of pear and chocolate tart came topped with green dust, "which could have been made of pistachio, matcha, broccoli or grass. It tasted of nothing", and she calls it "laughably expensive for a meal that barely tipped into the ‘good’ category, and mostly languished firmly in the ‘poor to mediocre’ one." Read the full cringe-fest here.

In the Irish Times Catherine Cleary says she has a new favourite restaurant - Frank's, the new wine bar on Camden Street by the same people behind Delahunt. Despite the temptation to keep herself and her husband's "new secret favourite place" to themselves, she felt it was her civic duty to tell us all about the "nutty, garlicky" ajo blanco with "an almost chewable texture", the Michelin-worthy barley cracker with globe artichoke petals and leek puree, and the asparagus with buttermilk and dill sauces and oils.

She says they're still thinking about the just-seared scallops, with lightly-pickled cabbage, juicy golden raisins and a ham hock sauce, pillowy house gnocchi came draped with butter fried oyster mushrooms and an egg with a fudgy yolk, and that Frank's is "utterly in tune with the casual 'let’s go get a bite' urge that feels easier than planning and booking a table in an actual restaurant. The delight is that the food at Frank’s is better than most sit-at-a-table restaurants". She gives it 9/10 and you can read her full review here.

In the Irish Daily Mail Tom Doorley was the last of the seven critics through the door of