This Week's Critic Reviews
It's a double whammy this week for new opening Kitchen 85 on Marlborough Street, who've managed to bag reviews in the Irish Times and the Irish Independent, both predominantly in praise of the Cantonese restaurant from the same owners as M&L Chinese around the corner. It's also a double whammy for a couple of other restaurants, who've managed to bag a second review from the same critic...
In the Irish Independent (who are flip-flopping between what's premium content and what isn't, this week the restaurant review isn't so knock yourself out), Katy McGuinness gave the menu a decent run through, finding the boneless duck with pancakes "excellent" and "nicely crisp", with a plum sauce that was "tangy and less stickily sweet than the norm." The roast pork with honey sauce was "less interesting" and in need of crisper fat, with fried beef and coriander "flavoursome enough", but sizzling squid was bland, rubbery and "not very sizzling". Things got back on track with crisp aubergine in sweet and sour sauce; "soft, yielding, delicious, perfectly balanced", and salt & spicy 'flammulini' (strands of deep-fried mushroom with finely-sliced chilli) were "a crisp revelation, with great batter and subtle mushroom flavour." Singapore noodles were "very good", service was "smiley and delightful", but they missed the spicy kick from M&L. She gives the food 7/10 and value 8/10. Read her review here.
In the Irish Times, Catherine Cleary does a very brief overview of the same menu, only trying three dishes (and neither the roast duck or the char siu pork - the signature dishes, natch), but calls it "glamorous", clearly impressed by the "velvet cushions" and "satin tablecloths". She too loved the salt and spicy flammulina, "fried to a golden crackling crisp with a sprinkling of red chillies and salt, like mushroom scratchings with added spice." Crisp batons of aubergine were "silky and soft" and came with "a sweet jam sauce that layers the sharpness of rice vinegar with spice and sugar", and two portions of noodles, one with King prawns, another with chicken, came in a "good lightly spiced sauce", with "crunch and variety". She calls Kitchen 85 "a handsome new addition to a street without a great deal of food competition on it", saying it's "putting the occasion back into Chinese dining". Read her review here.
In the Irish Daily Mail Tom Doorley was hot on our heels to Bistro One in Foxrock, where owner Mark Shannon's son Rory has recently returned home from London to head up the kitchen. He calls Shannon junior "a culinary force to be reckoned with", and says he's always loved Bistro One, but now he loves it even more. Pink duck hearts with braised endive boozy prunes and horseradish cream was "a mineral/bitter/sweet/salty riot on the plate", Kilkeel crab (with white and brown meat, finally) was "fabulous" and "a triumph", and chargrilled prawns with fermented black beans, wild garlic, chilli and ginger were "excellent".
Ox cheek cooked in stout with buttery mash and wild garlic was "seriously impressive", cod with Lissadell cockles, parsley and garlic butter was "impeccably cooked", and a mini pavlova with blood orange had a crisp shell and a marshmallow interior. He says the theme of it all was "simplicity", which is needed when "the raw materials are this good and there's a chef in the kitchen who understands how to let them speak". He says Bistro One is so discreet that it's easy to miss, but he has to let the cat out of the bag. (Review not currently online but read our Bistro One once over here).
In the Sunday Independent Lucinda O'Sullivan made the unorthodox decision to review Liath for the second time in 10 months, justifying it by the fact that they've since been awarded a Michelin star (presumably what she ate 10 months ago is why they got the star). After describing what sounds a bit like flirty banter between her and "Mr Liath" (Damien Grey), she goes on to describe the "gorgeous non-alcoholic drinks pairing and the "complex" tasting menu, with flavours that hit you "like a bolt of lightning". Highlights included shrimps and sweetcorn with a chilli miso glaze, tarragon oil and lardo ("pure ecstasy"), mushroom charcoal dumplings ("sensational"), and a tartlet of deer tartare on diced foie gras ("superb"). They wrapped up a "stunning evening" with a "gorgeous" blood orange 'bomb' and their famous white chocolate fermented raspberry sphere, and says they're a 10 out of 10 in her book. (Review not currently online)
Speaking of multiple reviews, Pickle have pulled it out of the bag again with a second review from Gillian Nelis in the Business Post (the last one was in 2016, a more reasonable gap). They've also had second reviews in the Irish Independent and in The Times - the stuff most restaurants can only dream of. She came to try some of their new dishes, including chicken wings marinated in chilli powder, ginger and black cumin (which tasted as good as they sounded), chargrilled guinea fowl ("cooked beautifully" and "delicately spiced"), and "beautifully seared" spice-crusted scallops with textures of turnip, including a purée, pickled slices and a chutney. Organic wild boar came with shallots, ginger and long pepper and was on the hot end of the spice spectrum, but the buttery paratha for dunking helped. She says chef Sunil Ghai's cooking is "better than ever" and advises booking early and often. Read her review here.
In the Sunday Times Niall Toner was at One Pico, and while starters, including a 36-month Parmesan ravioli with Alsace bacon consommé, and cured sea trout with pickled cucumber, buttermilk and trout caviar, were "jaw-dropping", main courses felt "more reserved". Desserts were excellent, but comparing the magic of the starters and the relative sobriety of the mains he wonders if something is being held back. Read his review here.
Finally in the Irish Examiner Joe McNamee took a trip to gastropub Mikey Ryan's in Tipperary, for a "delicious" beef and Guinness tart, a "perfectly seasoned" and excellently sourced burger, and a "fine fillet" of pan-fried cod with baby potatoes, buttered greens and a "unifying" creamy beurre blanc. Scampi sounded a bit heavy on the breadcrumbs and not quite to to the standard of those from And Chips a few weeks ago, but triple cooked chips were "superb". He says the only downside of their wonderful mid-week lunch was having to leave, giving the food 8/10 and value 9/10. (Review not currently online but should be soon here).
More next week.