This Week's Critic Reviews
A full run of Dublin reviews this weekend which is selfishly our fav. Sorry to anyone outside the capital feeling neglected, but there are many reasons below to take a trip soon.
In the Irish Times Catherine is as taken with Mamó in Howth as we were, calling it "a breath of fresh sea air". Bread with vadouvan butter was like a "version of curry and carbs chipper pleasure", ceviche of monkfish with orange and pickled cucumber was "a beautiful plate of food", and clams with lime juice, olive oil and garlic was "the dish of the night". Comeragh lamb had "gorgeous meat flavour", brill was "as fresh as you'd expect", and their Howth honey tart turned "seaside village terroir into spoon licking pleasure". She says Mamó is "a clever, kind restaurant that manages to be both fresh and comfortingly familiar" and gives it 9/10 - quite the opening score in their first week. Read her review here. Read our Mamó once over here.
In the Irish Examiner Leslie Williams comes over all priest-like after a pilgrimage to Bastible in Dublin 8, quoting Jesus himself and saying the food made him "feel humble in the presence of genius and with my spirits exalted". It started with some of the best bread he's had "all decade", followed by breaded chicken thighs topped with a pickle - "utter deliciousness". After that came the "peasant favourite" swede which was elevated to "royal status" by being baked in ginger oil and served with pickled girolle mushrooms and mole sauce made from pulped roasted pumpkin seeds, Marmite and kelp stock - "2-star Michelin level flavour-layering" apparently.
Mains of barbecued mackerel and braised lamb neck were "a triumph", while dessert of fluffy milk chocolate mousse encasing roasted yeast ice cream was made "other-worldly" by a sweet-sour syrup with fermented malt and beer. He says what head chef Cúán Greene and owner Barry Fitzgerald are doing "needs to be experienced", and it was "as close to a religious experience as I’m ever likely to have". They get 9.5/10 for food and drink and you can read the full thing here.
In the Irish Daily Mail Tom Doorley was back at Delahunt looking for any reason to justify them losing their Michelin Bib Gourmand a few weeks ago. He couldn't find one. Beef tartare was "perfect", Jerusalem artichokes with blue cheese and walnuts were "perfectly in tune with the season", and skate wing was "cooked perfectly". Lamb with sheep's cheese and romesco (below) was "creative and clever" and a dark chocolate mousse with peanut foam was "more than the sum of its constituent parts" - which is going on our list of 'most hated critic phrases' - more of those below. A baked Saint-Marcellin cheese with rosemary honeycomb and sweet and sour chutney was "ace", and he describes the whole meal as "flawless". (Review not currently online)
In the Irish Independent Katy McGuinness was in Stillorgan at neighbourhood restaurant Riba. It's safe to say she enjoyed it judging by the score but there's lots of constructive criticism in there. Fritto misto was "a little dull" with garlic aioli needing "more oomph". A Rick Higgins rib-eye was "cooked impeccably" but the accompanying salsa verde was "more like a pesto" and needed more punch. Roaring Water Bay mussels were "luscious", despite the redundant sourdough shards on top, and chocolate tart suffered from pastry that was too thick and "filling-threatening" honeycomb. She says Riba is "treading the line between being a neighbourhood restaurant that is all things to all people, while being interesting enough to satisfy us food nerds", giving them 8/10 for food, value and ambience. Read her review here.
In the Sunday Independent Lucinda O'Sullivan seemed to like Mister S on Camden Street, despite a slightly trepidatious Instagram post about the "bum-numbingly hard wooden benches". She calls the food "as refined and elegant as any high-end fancy pants spot" with the "plumptious" gambas (another adjective for that list) described as "lick-the-plate-clean stuff", and her skate in dashi beurre blanc "delicious". She says they regretted the lamb skewers with the "greasy" lamb belly keeping her awake that night (TMI perhaps), but they enjoyed the tender, smoked Angus short rib, and she's still dreaming of the hispi cabbage with feta and sobrasada. Review not currently online but you can read our Mister S once over here.
In the Sunday Business Post Gillian Nelis says she can still taste the Irish black sole she had at Little Mike's in Mount Merrion, part of the seafood sharing platter which also included John Dory, swordfish, Lambay Island crab claws, lobster fishcakes, Clogherhead prawns and mussels, as well as "top-drawer" chips - a "plate of fishy perfection". Sixteen-hour slow-roasted ox cheek arancini with hollandaise were "divine", monkfish fritti were "crispily delicious" and wine was "gorgeous". She says she'd encourage everyone to eat in places like Little Mike's, who actively support Irish suppliers and love to answer questions about their food, and Tomás Clancy calls the wine list "a wide-ranging delight". Read her review here.
In the Sunday Times Niall Toner loved the gloriously hip Soup Ramen in Dun Laoghaire, where he found an apple and honey lemonade that was "way more than the sum of its parts" (oh look there's that phrase again), ramen that teetered on the divine, and an umami salad that was a delight. Read his review here. Read our Soup Ramen once over here.
And if you were hanging on the edge of your seat waiting to hear where Joe McNamee was last week we can put you out of your misery - he was in Malarkey in Killarney where he found "big, booming flavours" and "fine, comforting fare". Read that here.
More next week.