This Week's Critic Reviews
An almost exclusively Dublin-based set of reviews this week, after last week's hiatus when everyone seems to be on their holidays, with the exception of a jaunt to Brittany and another to Greystones - but the Dart does goes that far if you fancy some Indian goat (more on that below).
In the Sunday Independent Lucinda O'Sullivan says she can't get enough of Nick Munier's new opening Le Perroquet on Leeson Street, but not before a swift dig at the "Twitter glitterati" who swamped social media with selfies during their soft launch nights. Ever restrained Lucinda waited until the first weekend they officially opened to show up, and thinks it's going to keep the "affluent neighbouring socialites" happy. Co-owner Chris Fullam will no doubt be delighted to have been described as a "hot young chef", executing food "exquisitely in his own style", like the rice crackers topped with mussels, crispy chicken skin crumb and oyster cream - "a superb crunchy blend of sea, sand and samphire".
Other small plates of egg yolk, micro mushrooms, leek, potato and panko-crumbed anchovy sticks (where have those been all our lives), and a duck croquette are described as "divine", "succulent" and "incredible value", while lamb leg for mains was "superb", and she loved her charred monkfish with celeriac, sweetcorn, tarragon and a light curry sauce. A strawberry and rhubarb mille-feuille was up to French patisserie standards, and she says they've brought "a splash of Parisian kitsch to D4, but with chic, contemporary food". Read her review via Le Perroquet's Twitter feed here.
In the Irish Daily Mail Tom Doorley finally got around to visiting Korean fried chicken purveyors Chimac, and he liked it, but perhaps not as much as some of the other critics, saying it beats Mad Egg, but just by a whisker. He thought the burgers were "good", with moist flesh and a crispy exterior, while scallion kimchee was "excellent". Kimcheese fries were "irresistible", but he's not a fan of leaving the skin on chips - regardless he says he'd skip the chicken for enough of these. He would have liked the wings to be crispier, but they were "no hardship", and despite his tablemates stating a preference for Mad Egg, he's team Chimac (but only just). Review not currently online.
In the Irish Independent Katy McGuinness braved a sea of green jerseys in Crudo, Sandymount after an Ireland rugby game at the Aviva, where highlights included housemade focaccia with whipped ricotta and a green herb oil, linguine with clams, mussels, bottarga and pangrattato, and a good tiramisu, but she had plenty of notes too. A prawn linguine was "curiously bland", apricot and cumin ketchup which came with monkfish fritti was "a strange accompaniment", and a Clogherhead crab salad could have done with more texture and ideally some brown meat. Despite the marks taken off she calls Crudo "the neighbourhood Italian that everyone would like to have within walking distance of home" and gives it 8/10 for food and value. Read her review here.
In the Irish Examiner Leslie Williams was taking in the okra, dumplings and hair extensions on Moore Street, as well as eating some pretty good Vietnamese food in Bun Cha - which he thinks is the right name for it because it's its best dish. He says the crisp slices of barbecued, crisp pork belly with rice noodles and nuoc cham were "delicious", while cold rice paper rolls with prawn, beef and tofu were "perfect". Crispy spring rolls left "Chinese versions in the shade" and a pho bo soup with beef was "a food of the Gods", and while he can't confirm the menu's claim that Vietnamese food will ‘keep you looking young’ and give you ‘strong healthy hair’, he can confirm it is "delicious and you need to visit". Read his review here.
In the Sunday Times Niall Toner was at The Blue Anchor on Meath Street, which is what Legit Coffee Co. turns into in the evenings. He liked the eclectic, at times experimental food, and the unusual wines, and gives it 3/5, saying he hopes they'll find a permanent space soon. Read his review here.
In the Sunday Business Post Gillian Nelis says that while Chakra in Greystones isn't cheap, a meal there might have been the bargain of her dining year. A dish of Wicklow lamb (below) with spices, corn, corn milk and a corn pakora had "one of the most deeply flavoured sauces I’d had in ages", and she reckons their slow-cooked goat with garlic, cloves, spices, tomatoes and caramelised onions is the dish to head for if you need convincing about how delicious goat meat is. Seafood chilli masala was glorious, paratha was "worth every calorie", and a rose kulfi for dessert sent them home "waddling but happy". She calls Chakra a "Wicklow wonder" and you can read her review here.
Finally in the Irish Times, Catherine Cleary was on her hols in Brittany, and thinks she's found what must be one of France's best value Michelin-starred dinners, at Hostellerie de la Pointe St-Mathieu, and at €40 it sounds it - especially considering it featured one of the best risottos she's ever had, with black quinoa, Parmesan, butter-fried chanterelles and deep-fried Jerusalem artichoke chips. Her husband's "discovery" menu was more classic French, with local crab, brill and artichokes, and two lobster courses - all good and "business as usual", but she says "France is changing. Some of those changes are sad, and some, like the direction this old restaurant is taking, are exciting", praising the young female chef in the kitchen leading old France into something new. If you're heading to Brittany any time soon you can read her review here.
More next week.