100 – 102 Upstairs
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – restaurants do not survive in what is a killer industry unless they are good – and 101 Talbot has proved that over and over. 101 Talbot opened around eighteen years ago and very fast became a centre of good food at reasonable prices but a cult restaurant and meeting ground for those in the arty world. One might say it was almost ahead of its time – casual, fun, colourful, - but none of those factors diluting the quality of the excellent food on offer. 101 Talbot has proved a great attraction all along for those going to the Abbey or Gate Theatres but, in recent years, it has been a destination for those too in the Financial Services Centre want excellence at affordable prices. Independent Newspapers have also moved their offices to Talbot Street in the past couple of years so you are bound to see hungry hacks also with their knives and forks poised ready for action.
Owned now by Neal and Jenny Magee, 101 Talbot is run with charming efficiency, and they greet their many regular diners as old friends. You can get a bowl of olives at €3.50 or garlic gread with cheese at €4 but starters generally run from €5/€8 apart from an antipasti plate at €14.95 I love the eclectic Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences in the food. Hummus is with chill and coriander served with crudites and pitta bread whilst lamb meatballs are served with tabouleh salad, yoghurt and mint dressing. Oh, there is also a cracking organic salmon and monkfish sausage served with chilli and orange dressing.
Mains are heartwarming and wholesome. Organic Clare Island salmon is served interestingly with chorizo, mussel and butterbean stew; slow roast shoulder of lamb comes with roast potato and carrot and parsnip puree. Linguine comes in a choice of two styles – either Puttanesca – which in Italian means “Prostitues Stew” – a combo I adore of smokey bacon, chilli, capers, and anchovies in a tomato sauce – you could say it has a bite! The second option is with home smoked salmon, baby spinach, cherry tomato and white wine and dill cream. What we ate on our last visit was delicious grilled fillet of halibut served with grilled asparagus and a really interested smoked garlic and chilli butter, as well as pan roasted Finnebrogue venison with potato rosti, cabbage, and the sweet element so crucial with venison was a raspberry jus.
They have a very well chosen individualistic wine list and we enjoyed a lovely bottle from Sardinia – Cannonau La Bombarde. Delicious.
By the way, there is also a very good 2 course with coffe or tea Early Bird Menu at €21.95. This operates from 5 pm- 7.45pm/ So whether you are in town shopping, going to the Theatre, or just looking for a good place to eat, look up, 101 Talbot is the place.