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Our Latest Great Place To Eat - Ember

Our Latest Great Place To Eat - Ember

Friday 22 September 2017

As I looked at the number of lithe leggy blondes and handsome bearded guys arriving in after us, it cemented my view that this was far more than a run of the mill neighbourhood restaurant, this was a destination in itself, which was going to draw the hip crowd who frequent Ranelagh and Dundrum for their cocktails and casual contemporary fine dining.

Greg O’Mahoney is the chef patron. He was first drawn to my attention by Tom O’Connell of O’Connell’s in Donnybrook – a man who knows his onions! O’Mahoney fine tuned his culinary skills in some of the best kitchens in Ireland including Chapter One, L’Ecrivain and Pichet. He has also worked in San Sebastien, which has more than its share of Michelin starred restaurants, and he is brought some of these influences to the Ember menu with a Basque style plancha and a charcoal/woodburning oven.

On my visit, starters included chestnut veloute, buttermilk potato and smoked chicken, while Embered bone marrow was paired with razor clam, 63o egg (sous-vide cooked), black garlic and sourdough. House cured and smoked salmon, was with crab, avocado, caper flowers and black olive, and scallops were cooked a la plancha and served with chorizo, apple, squash and dillisk. Any of these appealed, but the idea of a slow cooked risotto involving squid, caramelised onions and Gruyere cheese, won out. Risotto is a very hard taskmaster; I’ve had some that have varied on the Richter scales of being between wallpaper paste on the one hand, and wet ‘porridge’ on the other. Needless to say, this was just perfect with the right amount of moisture, yet retaining a sense of the grain. Surrounded by squid ink and combined with silky slivers of cephalopod and caramelised onions, a Gruyere foam was the icing on the cake and a real flavour burst. Chestnut veloute for the friend was also ace and a dish of two halves. A pool of buttermilk potato arrived on one side of the soup plate tweaked with a quenelle of smoked chicken and a crisp, the chestnut veloute was then poured on the other side creating a coffee and cream look. I bagged a little spoon of this and the flavours too were ace.

Mains included venison with celeriac, blackberries and chocolate jus, while steaks covered all price options with an 8oz feather blade, a 10 oz rib-eye and the top priced 8oz fillet. Sharing dishes included a 23oz cote de boeuf and halibut Basque style with Boulanger potatoes. 

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