This Week's Critic Reviews
Lucky Reyna on Dame Street, who've landed two reviews this weekend, from Corinna Hardgrave in the Irish Times and Katy McGuinness in the Irish Independent. The kebab shop (formerly Iskanders, site of many a 4am doner for the millenials) seems to be a bit of an industry hit right now, which appears to be what led them both in, and while they agree on the quality of the kebabs, they don't on the chips.
Corinna Hardgrave thought the mezze plate was "generous" with "nicely made" falafel, and the mixed doner had lamb "with good depth of flavour", chicken that's "juicy rather than woolly", and "addictive garlic sauce". A shish kebab needed a bit more flame on the cubes of lamb, but she calls the chips "a lovely indulgence – skinny, super crispy, lightly dusted with mild red pepper". She gives it 7.5/10 (which doesn't quite line up with the subs headline of "is this the best Turkish doner kebab in Ireland?") and says it's "worth a visit". Read her full take here.
Katy McGuinness on the other hand chalks the chips down as her low point, calling them "disappointing", but she did take her food home rather than sitting in so maybe they're not the travelling type. She loved the marinated lamb chops ("succulent and juicy with just the right amount of char"), the lamb shish "full of flavour", and the Mediterranean salad with pomegranate and barley "all crunch and freshness". She says "Reyna's kebab game is on another level", and gives them 9/10 for food and value. Read her review here.
In the Irish Daily Mail, Tom Doorley says serendipity (i.e. other restaurants not getting back to booking requests) led him to Ananda in Dundrum, and how glad he was that it did, saying that head chef Karan Mitral has taken "an already excellent restaurant to the next level". You'll want to eat everything he did, including Achari paneer fritters ("brilliantly meaty"), lamb seekh kebab ("from a different planet"), and a tiny cone of crisp rice pancake filled with spiced creamy lobster and toasted coconut ("sublime"). He says there's nowhere else like Ananda in the entire country right now and you should "beat a path". (Review not currently online)
In the Business Post Gillian Nelis was at Seasons restaurant in the Intercontinental Dublin, and forgot to tell her two mates about the cardinal reviewing rule of ordering different dishes. They overlapped on starters and mains (unforgivable), but that Lambay Island crab cake with coriander and lemongrass butter that they doubled up on does sound good. The duplicated main however sounds like something from weight watchers - grilled organic salmon with pak choi, broccoli and peppers in a courgette, ginger and orange sauce - but she calls it "tasty". A peach crumble with vanilla ice cream for dessert was "top notch", and you can read about the rest of the food here.
In the Sunday Times Niall Toner gets all poetic about a bicycle trip across the Liffey to new opening Kitchen 101 in Terenure (something about two-wheeled citizenry and the pandemic's dirty shoe). It sounds like he was trying to make the best of a not particularly exciting situation, with baked beetroot, goat’s cheese mousse and candied hazelnuts unsuccessful, pan-fried cod on romanesco sauce and lemon potatoes "underwhelming", and grilled jalapenos with marinated feta and pumpkin seeds too hot to finish. He does give a "lovely" for a scallop starter, an "excellent" for grilled celeriac with barley, peanuts and salsa verde, and says the best thing he ate was a coconut custard with pineapple compote and lemon crumble, but he calls it a work in progress and the whole thing sounds like a lot of effort. Read that here.
In the Irish Examiner Leslie Williams is feeling all nostaglic about the pub (remember those?), with a two-pints-for-one review featuring barely pre-pandemic opening Anti-Social in Dublin 8 & Ryan's of Parkgate Street. The €9 toasties at Anti-Social were "gooey gorgeousness" with "fine quality Bretzel bread" and "Irish farmhouse cheeses", but no surprise that the diverse craft beer range gets high billing. He calls it one of the "coolest pubs" in Ireland, saying they "loved it".
He calls Ryan's (part of the FX Buckley group) "a gorgeous Victorian pub", and the pub food they were after living up to billing, with maple and sesame chicken wings "sticky, sweet, and meaty", chowder "properly creamy and packed with shellfish", and a his steak sandwich came "correctly cooked" with a side of fat, crispy, beef-dripping chips that were "so good". They finished in the most un-pub way, with crème brûlée, lemon tart and a glass of Sauternes, and he says the Irish pub is a "precious, glorious thing", and "every one we lose creates a wound in a community and in our very souls." Deep. Read that here.
In the Sunday Independent it looks like there's been a little miscommunication when it comes to Lucinda's latest round up (God willing we'll be back to real reviews soon). Entitled "The best gastro bars to visit across the country" (stars?), it's actually about "destination dining", with a list of some of the most highly rated restaurants across the country. In a week for errors, Aimsir (below) is lumped in with Dublin (we'll take it), with the others named in the capital being Ananda, Chapter One, Dax, L'Ecrivain, Liath, Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, The Greenhouse and Volpe Nera. Read the full list here.
(Note: the online title of this feature was changed after this article was published)
More next week.