This Week's Critic Reviews
In the Irish Independent this week (which now has a paywall btw so no more free restaurant review content unless you hand over your credit card details), Katy McGuinness *finally* has a good vegan experience at Glas on Chatham Street. This is off the back of giving Beast (now closed, no surprise) a trouncing saying "vegans deserve better", and a better but not overly enthused take on Sova Vegan Butcher saying "nothing will convince me that meat substitutes are as tasty as meat itself." Glas on the other hand is a "resolutely fake-meat-free zone ... serving tasty food that just happens not to include meat or fish". Whoop!
Tempura shimeji mushrooms in beer batter with herb salsa were "utterly delicious", barley risotto with scallions, smoked paprika and Jerusalem artichoke was "nicely balanced", and chickpea and polenta fries came with a fermented black garlic mayo that she'd like to buy by the jar. A few minor complaints - sweetcorn and jalapeno fritters were "on the brink of leaden", rainbow carrots with goats cheese creme fraiche, hazelnut salt and zhug needed more astringency, and baked squash with potato rosti and a crisp hen's egg lacked cohesion. A deconstructed tropical Eton mess with meringue shards, rum, pineapple, coconut cream and passion-fruit sorbet gave no hint it was a vegan version - "a win", and she says she likes what Glas are doing, giving them 8/10 for food and value. Read her review here.
In the Irish Times Catherine Cleary ventured to Stepaside for brunch at another new opening, neighbourhood restaurant Woodruff. She describes them as "ambitious", starting with making their own sourdough and churning their own butter - "a league apart" from "the bottled egg and buckets of mayonnaise brunch chancers". A "generous" full Irish, fluffy sweet buttermilk pancakes, and a bowl of granola with Velvet Cloud yoghurt all brought "contentment", while her more lunchy white pollock with seaweed gnocchi, baby leeks and celeriac "exceeds expectations". A Scotch egg with Andarl pork meat, a gooey egg and panko breadcrumbs was "brilliantly executed", and golden crisp chips were "excellent", as was the accompanying kimchi mayonnaise. A crème brûlée with shortbread was "good", and she says Stepaside has got itself "an excellent restaurant", giving it 9/10. Read her review here.
In the Irish Examiner Leslie Williams found himself in the position of having a stinking cold but needing to write a restaurant review, so there was only one thing for it - fish and chips. And where does a food critic go when they want fish and chips? Fish Shop, of course. And there's none of your smoked cod or battered sausages around here. We're talking smoked haddock croquettes ("creamy and rich"), squid sliders ("squeaky fresh and tender") and deep-fried brill and John Dory, with batter "feather-light and supremely crispy". Chips were good but could have been crispier (a common Fish Shop complaint), and dessert of lemon posset was "luscious" but refreshing. Much praise too for the wine list that "delivers much more than it promises", and he calls it "a casual but very high quality fish and chips restaurant, giving it 9/10 for food, wine and value. (Review not currently online but should be soon here)
In the Sunday Independent Lucinda O'Sullivan is at her favourite restaurant, where she seems to eat every week according to Instagram, Rasam in Glasthule. She previously said she'd eat her last meal here and describes it as a "home away from home", saying she couldn't wait to try their new menu. Mumbai-style pan-seared scallops with green pea purée and mango chutney were "divine", Delhi magic mushrooms with ginger, garlic and morels were "heavenly", and a Manshari Thali (selection of small dishes) is describes as "a complete meal". Lucinda herself had a second starter instead of a main, Mala Jhinga - large Indian Ocean prawns with mace, cardamom, cream cheese, avocado and greens (no verdict but presumably thumbs up), with a side of okra ("another favourite"). Again just a description of the dessert of saffron-flavoured ice-cream with sweet vermicelli and shiny, glowing basil seeds, but she says "I'd eat in Rasam every night if I could", and she's making a decent effort. (Review not currently online)
In the Sunday Times Niall Toner does a bit of a two-fer, having lunch at veggie burger joint Flip in George's Street Arcade and saying he doesn't think you'll get a better meat-free burger in the city. Then it was onto Taza in Artane for dinner, which he seemed to really like, saying local residents are very lucky to have it, but gives it a restrained 3.5 out of 5. Read that here.
In the Business Post Gillian Nelis was at newly Michelin-starred The Oak Room in Adare Manor, having the "meal we'd most like to eat this week". She calls it "super-swanky" but "not one bit snooty", saying chef Mike Tweedy goes "above and beyond" when it comes to sourcing. Amongst the things we most want to eat are gougeres with Mossfield cheese, lightly charred langoustines with yogurt and puffed rice, "sexy" potato and onion seed bread, a raviolo of shellfish in a lemongrass and ginger bisque, and a confit duck and foie gras terrine with rhubarb and hazelnuts. Are you booking a table? You haven't even heard about the turbot with Exmoor caviar, clam and tarragon, the beef cheeks with morels and wild garlic, or the jaffa cake-esque dessert of chocolate mousse cake with an orange sorbet. She describes Tweedy's cooking classic flavours with "a few surprises along the way", and of course the wine list gets 5 out of 5. Read her review here.
In the Irish Daily Mail Tom Doorley was in an 'ATF on tour' favourite, Iyers in Cork city, home to the most delicious dosas. He calls it some of the best traditional Indian cuisine he's tasted in Ireland, and "the best vegetarian food I've ever had". Dahi samosa chaat was "a fabulous combination" of samosas, chickpeas, puffed rice, tamarind, yoghurt and coriander. A red onion dosa was "ethereally delicate" and came with a "glorious" coconut dip and a spicy, rich tomato one, and spiced rice was "warmly spiced" and served with a poppadum and spiced spinach (all the spice). A mango and banana cake for dessert was "substantial", and he says he can't get over the "sheer quality of the food", the lack of "stodge", and the "value for money", calling it some of the best value food in the country. (Review not currently online)
More next week.