This Week's Critic Reviews

30 Aug 2020

In the Irish Examiner this week Leslie Williams is having quite the non-Peruvian sounding meal at newly opened Peruvian restaurant Zampas, in the Hard Rock Hotel in Temple Bar. Duck croquettes, chicken wings and ribeye steak aren't exactly straight out of Lima, but he does say it's more "bistro classics with a solid Peruvian twist’. They did have a white fish ceviche with a "fresh lime flavour" but no chilli heat, an Asador Peruvian roast chicken marinated in aji verde green chilli sauce (the best of the mains), and Alfajores for dessert, but it sounds like the type of Peruvian restaurant you'd expect from a tourist-orientated hotel, rather than the ceviche and pisco bar we're impatiently waiting for. Read his review here.

 

 

In the Sunday Times Niall Toner is as surprised as the rest of us at how much he liked Layla's in Ranelagh (part of Press Up's empire). Baring an unexciting main of sea-bass in a herby broth with potatoes, they did pretty well, with "bloody gorgeous" oysters from Co. Down, a prawn linguine that was worth the journey up to the fourth floor to eat it, and a baked lemon tart that he might have "raved" about had he gotten it in a rustic tearoom somewhere. There was also a side of green beans with almonds that his guest inexplicably ordered as a starter (no comment given on that one and it doesn't deserve one), and he says that while Layla's wouldn't be their usual hang out ("too slick, too concepty"), there were made to feel so welcome that they couldn't hate the place, as much as his inner snob wanted to. Read his review here

 

 

In the Irish Independent Katy McGuinness is hoping food trucks are here to stay, after visiting Niall Sabongi's Salty Buoy, at the Roe & Co Distillery in Dublin 8. It was a home run for the food, with Flaggy Shore oysters dressed with torched harissa, lime and sumac and topped with crisp shallots and coriander delivering "full-on flavour load", a shellfish steamer with clams, mussels, prawns and langoustines in a broth rich with Old Bay spiced butter, sumac and burnt peppers "mouth-puckeringly savoury", and a panko-breaded hake Kiev oozing with parsley garlic butter delivering the sentiments "what a dish". She gives the food, ambience and value 9/10 calling it the "food truck fish fans have been waiting for." Read the full thing here.

 

 

In the Irish Times Corinna Hardgrave was at Dede in Baltimore, Cork, from former Michelin-starred Mew head chef Ahmet Dede. She calls his food "a joy to eat", but says her only gripe is that she was expecting more spice - based on Instagram stories of him wandering around Istanbul bazaars and food stalls. A "beautiful" tomato dish (which had evolved from Mews) had "a whisper of exotic Turkish spice", rounded ripe flavours and gazpacho “spuma”, hake topped with green seaweeds in a lobster sauce with a touch of spice was "robust, with big flavours", and a take on Turkish lemonade for dessert with citrus ice-cream and wafer on top of marinated strawberries with lemon and strawberry juice was "a deliciously zesty and palate cleansing" end to the meal. She gives it 9/10, calling it "beautiful food with Turkish promise". Read her review here.

 

 (c) Corinna Hardgrave

 

In the Irish Daily Mail Tom Doorley has what sounds like the meal of the week at 1826 in Adare. We want everything he ate, including scallops with apple purée, chicken butter, a confit de-boned chicken wing and crisp Granny Smith apple; crispy bread-crumbed chicken livers with pickled vegetables and piccallilli; wild halibut with butter, shrimps, capers, a deep-fried Dooncastle oyster and crisp Jerusalem artichoke; and roast cod with coco beans, Gubbeen chorizo and saffron mayonnaise. A chocolate tart for dessert was "stunning ... profound ... almost savoury", and he calls it an "outstanding meal" with "eminently reasonable" prices. (Read his review via 1826's Facebook page here)

 

 

In the Business Post Gillian Nelis was amazed to go to Connemara and find it wasn't raining, and a stop off at The Sea Hare in Cleggan for lunch just topped things off. A broccoli and courgette tart was "rich, delicious", poached salmon was "cooked beautifully", and both came with locally sourced salads of chard, rocket, sorrel and purple cauliflower. She says they weren't complaining after lemon drizzle cake, chocolate cake and almond and raspberry cake, and praises the quality of the local producers on the menu. Read her review here

 

 

Finally in the Sunday Independent, Lucinda O'Sullivan's reviews are back, starting with "lunch with the girls" at newly opened Blue in Wicklow town. She did not like: the unisex toilets, the fact that staff were wearing visors but not masks, the "tacky mini chips baskets" her panko prawns and calamari came in, and the fact that Wicklow's friendly seal Sammy was no where to be seen. She did like: her "on point" smoked haddock risotto with asparagus, peas and pancetta, pappardelle with mussels, prawns and sugar snaps, and a "very nice" vanilla and yoghurt panna cotta with honeycomb and strawberries. So overall a win. Read her review here.

 

 

More next week.

 

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