In the Sunday Times this week Niall Toner is telling it like it is after a visit to new "art diner" Dig In, and major respect for not using this pandemic of ours as an excuse to gloss over the meal's less than perfect elements. It's the first bit of negative commentary we've seen since reviews started back, and while we all have sympathy for the industry (and many others), this is a public service after all, and where we spend our money/covid payments/redundancy (delete as applicable) has never been more important.
In a nutshell, the new incarnation of Green 19 has several dishes remarkably similar to the former menu, and the new ones include some "ungenerous mushrooms" on beetroot hummus that was "employed in the torture — and eventual murder" of a piece of sourdough, prawn skewers that weren't a patch on ones he'd bought in Howth a few days previous and cooked himself, and a prawn salad that was "fine". Beef tacos were a success, and the fries were as good as he remembered from Green 19, but it's unlikely to have you running there, unless the art is more important to you than the food. Read his review here.
In the Irish Daily Mail it's yet another rave for Canteen at The Marlin from Tom Doorley - possibly the raviest one yet. He says James Sheridan's (who they call Sheehan - whoopsie) cooking is as "enthralling" as he remembers from when Canteen was in Blackrock, and that there's "magic" going on there. He loved every bite, from an amuse bouche of onion and brie tart, to a starter of mackerel tartare with oyster emulsion, to a main of barbecue pork jowl topped with "the best pork crackling in Ireland". Desserts of strawberry tart and chocolate cremeux were "sensational" and "exquisite", but he wished the wine list was as interesting as the food (review not currently online).
In the Business Post Gillian Nelis was having martinis and "succulent classics" at Wilde in The Westbury Hotel, including crab tartare with avocado purée, Dover sole on the bone, ribeye steak with chunky chips and bearnaise, and crème brûlée. She says it's not the place to come for "cutting edge-cuisine" or if your budget is tight, but for elegant surrounds and classic dishes. And don't miss The Sidecar's martini cart. Read her review here.
In the Irish Times Corinna Hardgrave reviews soup, sambos and cake at The Hazel House in Rathfarnham, "a café with a carpentry workshop". She calls it "a charming outdoor space for a casual bite", with food that's "unfussy, generous and well-priced". Their bites included vegetable soup with porridge bread ("good, fresh flavours"), a veggie bowl ("hugely generous"), and a spicy chicken melt ("a hefty sandwich ... nicely toasted golden"), as well as cakes with a "delicious home cooked taste". She gives it 7/10 and while it's unlikely to make your "must eat in" list, it might be a handy one to have in your back pocket if you end up at the foot of the Dublin mountains and hunger strikes. Read her review here.
In the Irish Independent Katy McGuinness is at Baste, or more accurately Lil Portie's Caribbean pop up at Baste. She gives the food 9/10, which included "simple and fresh" Cuban chicken wings, 24-hour marinated and 10-hour smoked pork shoulder, proper jerk chicken cooked over Irish whiskey barrels, and "gorgeous" mango and chilli ice-cream in a biscuit shell for dessert. She calls it "great cooking", with "top-quality ingredients" and "an outdoor space that's perfect for pandemic dining." Read her review here.
In the Irish Examiner Joe McNamee uses the excuse of needing comfort and reassurance to justify a return visit to Farmgate Café in the English Market in Cork, only 18 months after last reviewing it. All was as it should be, with cottage pie "a fruity, rich stew of beef and mushroom with buttery mash", house pate of duck and Longueville brandy "creamy" and "balanced", and Toonsbridge ricotta with tarragon roasted cherry tomatoes on sourdough "lovely". He says on any given day Farmgate can be his "favourite place to dine in the world", but now "it is an especially comforting treat, a treasured link to another, less fraught time." Read his review here.
Finally in the Sunday Independent, she's only back and already ditching the reviews for those summer round ups. This week Lucinda O'Sullivan's telling us about the best shacks, trucks and yards for al fresco dining. Getting a mention in Dublin are Baste (so hot right now), Happy Out in Clontarf, Riba in Stillorgan and Nightmarket in Ranelagh (below). Read that here.
More next week.