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Restaurant Review - Sassy Summer Suppers Dublin

Restaurant Review - Sassy Summer Suppers Dublin

Monday 30 July 2012

 There is an almost insatiable appetite for al fresco dining on the Capital’s streets, not dispelled by the thoughts of either, bad weather, quaffing back exhaust fumes, or indeed being hassled with fellas rattling begging bowls!  So, here are a few ideas for sassy summer suppers. 

 Isabel’s is a chic little wine bar with good food in a Georgian basement on the corner of Lower Baggot Street and Upper Fitzwilliam Street.  It has an outside  dining area where you can kick off your day from 8 a.m. with a bit of Spanish sunshine in the form of  Isabel’s Huevos Rancheros paired with Chorizo and black pudding at €8.50, or Churros with chocolate sauce at €5. Moving into lunch there is a choice of cheese and charcuterie platters €10 - €18, gourmet sandwiches at €10 such as seared beef rump with watercress and horseradish aioli, salads or a more solid main course at €15.  Dinner again has charcuterie platters, salads and grazing plates €9-€11 which you could follow up with a main course at €23 of perhaps Tongue and Cheek – beef cheek and veal tongue with carrot puree and roasted heritage carrots.  There is a huge wine selection and lots of Champagne.


Nearby at Fitzwilliam Place is Brasserie Le Pont, this time in a very large Georgian basement with an outside terrace area.  BLP kicks off at 10 a.m. with coffee and pastries. They do a set lunch 2/3 courses at €21.95/€25.00 which sometimes includes their ‘Le Pont Bouillabaisse’ but they also have an a la carte and a Bar Menu.  Try the pan fried foie gras with toasted brioche, smoked duck Carpaccio, smoked almonds and spiced pear at €14.50.  Dinner mains run from €15.50 to €29.95.  I like the Franco Irish style food here such as rump of Wexford lamb with Boulangere potato, courgette and basil puree, roast garlic. Their Early Bird  2/3 course menu is €22.95/€26


Marco Pierre White’s on Dawson Street is a place that always has a buzz and is great for people watching!  That apart I like the traditional retro Soho style Steakhouse & Grill ambiance and food with French twists.  They have a great enclosed outside dining area out front.  Check out their Steak Tartare A L’Americane with toasted sourdough, as a starter at €12.95 or as a mains with hand cut chips at €26.95.  There are not many places in Dublin doing this classic dish. Ribeye, Sirloin and Fillet steaks  €26-€34 are the specialty and come with a choice of garniture – L’Escargot with herbs and sauce Béarnaise being my favourite.

 Juniors Deli & Cafe at Bath Avenue with a small outside dining area to the front.  is hugely hip and popular.  Whopping great NYC style sandwiches at €6 such as Grilled Ruben - sauerkraut, pastrami, Swiss cheese, pickles and wholegrain mustard - are the thing here.   ‘Supper @ Juniors’ kicks off at 6 pm with mains €16 - €24 including perhaps clam linguini in chilli, garlic, parsley and olive oil, or fillet of halibut in Balsamic roast beetroot with grilled potatoes and aioli.  Grab a pew for brunch from 11.30 a.m. on weekends.  This place is hot.  Reservations are taken but only on the day from 4 p.m.  They also have Paulie’s Pizza around the corner.

 Across the road, at what is now  the hottest set of culinary traffic lights in Dublin, is The Chop House with a conservatory and an outdoor area.  Food here is top notch Gastropub stuff.  Lunch has mains €13.50 - €19 including glazed Irish Pork Belly, Pommes Mousseline, creamed cabbage and snails in garlic. They also do a lunchtime Tartine selection at €8.50 – try the Chop House Rarebit which has ham hock, Hegarty’s aged cheddar béchamel, and fried organic egg.  Dinner mains €15/€27.50 includes Daube of Beef Pie, and 32 day dry aged Charolais beef.

 There are a number of cafes with outside areas in the South William Street and Castle Market area including  La Maison Restaurant, which has proved perennially popular.  Here you can sit out in true French style with maybe a starter of Poele de la Mer at €17.50, a skillet of fresh fish and shellfish in a white wine veloute, or half grilled lobsters with ‘Beurre de Maître d’hôtel’ at €12.50.  Check out their new 2/3 course menus which run from €20/€28.

 Across the way, in the former Cooke’s Restaurant, the Gourmet Burger Kitchen inherited a good outside dining pitch.  Here you can have burgers ‘High Rise and Low Rise’, Cajun, Habanero, Cheese & Bacon, Mexican, Jamaican, and even a Kiwiburger, priced from €7 - €10.  They also do chicken breast panko bread crumbed and fried as well as vegetarian offerings.   There is also a GBK branch with an outside area at South Anne Street.   

 Another perennially popular restaurant is Eden in Temple Bar, which opens on to Meeting House Square.  They do a great Express Lunch menu at a tenner, which includes their famous ‘Smokies’, served with home fries and mixed baby leaves, as well as a lamb burger with chunky chips, red coleslaw and tomato relish.  The set lunch 2/3 course menu is €20/€25.  Their Summer Dinner 2/3 course Menu is priced at €27/€31 or you can have a main course only for €20, with a supplement applying to fillet steak and rack of lamb.

 On the other side of the Liffey at the Millennium Walkway, Koh Restaurant & Cocktail Bar has an outside area to the front.  They do lunch from 12 – 5 with Thai curries and stirfries around the €10 mark.  Great salads too and a Light Bites menu of tasty nibbles like Vietnamese Rolls, Meat Sung, Chicken Satay at €5 a pop or 3 for €13.50.  Their Pre-Theatre Menu is excellent value at 2/3 courses for €17.50/€20.  You can also have any cocktail and a 3 piece tapas selection for €10 – try the prawn and mango rice rolls, and the scallop and snow pea parcels.   A la Carte dinner mains run from €14 - €19 with a chargrilled Irish Rib Eye available for the non Ethnic food man at €24.  I love the Connemara Hill Massaman Lamb curry with onion, potato, cashew nuts and fried shallots!

 Out in Greystones at A. Caviston’s, as well as dining al fresco, you can even pick out your own fish to be cooked.  They kick off with breakfast and move into lunch with a great range of fishy dishes from €7.95  to €14.95.  Think of maybe seared Kilmore Quay scallops with a Gubbeen Chorizo dressing, or baked Irish Ray with a caper brown butter.  But it’s summer after all so go for a grilled half Greystones lobster with a lemon and garlic butter for €14.95.  They also have a Craft Beer and Seafood special every day between 3 and 4 p.m., which includes a half doz Carlingford Oysters with a bottle of Porterhouse Oyster stout.  They open for dinner on Friday nights, with the same great value, so chill out in Greystones – the Dart Station just down the street.

 Enjoy and I hope it keeps fine for you!