Note Dublin, 26 Fenion Street, Dublin D02 FX09. Snacks and small plates €4-€13, large plates €17-€32, desserts €7-€9, wines from €30
One of the things I love about going to a restaurant is the opportunity to choose stuff: not just the place, or the time you’ll go, but the things you’re going to eat once you get there. Early in my quest to find the place in Dublin to surf the butter-crested wave of cooking, to catch up on what’s happening out there right now, I realized that my expectations were managed. need to. The Blimey, Dublin restaurant scene is complicated.
Two things stood out in my request to local friends for vital intelligence. At first, you may be able to choose where you’re going, but your choices may end there. That’s because tasting menus abound right now. It’s a long list of snacks and whimsy of rare breed pork with tuna crudo, sea buckthorn koshu and barbecued leeks, black walnuts and komatsuna. And ouch, prices, say battle-hardened Londoners. In Liath it is €180 per head. It’s €98 at Forest Avenue. In Alta it is €95. Variety Jones is at €80 and Mae at just €68. Bastible, the last place I reviewed in Dublin, has now abandoned its la carte option in favor of a tasting menu (€75). Clearly, in times of shortage of staff, it is easier for the management of the kitchen to taste the menu. They can also be great for foodies if you crave a special occasion filled with pomp and waiterly frottage. But what if you want 14 prepared, but not surprisingly rigorous, courses? What if you just want, ya know, dinner?
The second point is that you should plan ahead. A month ago, almost everything was fully booked. Lisa Cope edits allthefood.ie and is one of the most familiar people in town. “There aren’t enough good restaurants for the population that wants to visit them,” she told me. “So those same 30 perennials are booked weeks in advance.” The big ticket in Dublin is Chapter One, now under Chef Mikel Vilgenon. It’s fair hot, with bookings only starting two months in advance. At 9.29 a.m. on the appointed day I stood with athletic fingers, toned by 35 years of high-altitude professional typing, ready to go. I still didn’t get the bloody table. (Under a pseudonym. I believe the name “George Clooney” is a great cover.) They all went on in 45 seconds. I was put on the waiting list. And now I’m just whispering.
Two days before my visit to Dublin, Mr. Clooney (no, not really) got a call from the first chapter, offering him a table. But by then I had found the note, a new wine bar and brasserie. Truthfully, my heart wasn’t really in the whole demonstrative tasting menu thing. I’m so glad I found a way to note. This is really the answer to “Where should I eat in Dublin right now?” Note is a lively and eclectic wine bar where much of the cooking is both bold and satisfying. On summer evenings, the neat layering of a dining room is flooded with light, and there’s a (self) contented bubble of crap; The feeling that you have found your way to the right place. It’s the kind of impossibly cool addition where they can serve some food on plates of really awesome flowers, the kind that smelled weird to your aunt that was best kept in 1973. And yet somehow it makes sense. Again, when the serious design is hidden by a mess of Sauce Gribiche piled with deep-fried salty pig’s ear pieces, both crunchy and chewy at the same time, who cares what you find on the glaze? ?
The brewery is overseen by Katie Seward, who has worked at various locations, including Brawn in London. See how all these reviews add up? That means we must be mindful of the risk of honoring “natural” wines with a ripe touch of festive bitters. I express my horror to Seward who sees us right: a bright dry rose, the pleasing hue of the cough mixture followed by a fiery white from Piedmont. As always in Dublin, be prepared to have your eyes water, and your wallet closed, courtesy of puny taxes. Nothing below €30 and much less than €40. Ours was €58, which is clearly pretty standard for a Dublin restaurant.
With those piggy banks we have anchovy toasts, bread sponge-sodened with the best Irish butter and stuffed with green herbs with the anchovies crumbled. From the (chunky priced) list of big dishes come slabs of beautifully pink lamb, with asparagus, freshly poached peas and a limp, lip-smacking broth. Pig cheek folds are partnered with the sweetness of long-roasted onions and the bitterness of the end, until ready to fall with the nudge of a fork. A giant bloom of butterhead lettuce is lavishly drenched in salty vinaigrette.
Was it all right? not good. €32 is a kidney pricing for a dish of lamb, but it didn’t feel completely absurd in the odd way now. Charged at €13 for a heavy salad of tomatoes in a chilled cucumber broth that lacked in acidity, it really did. And then there’s the small talk of all the dishes we ordered to bring to the table. Or not. While the people serving us were utterly charming and extremely handsome, a notebook and pen may have helped with the basics of the job. I nudge on absentee anchovy toast when the mains start to arrive. It turns out that the order was not put through. It would be a shame to cry missing it. The stone bass ceviche with lime, oregano and jalapeo sounded delicious. Maybe it was. We never knew because even that order never found its way to the kitchen, let’s go out again.
Dublin restaurants, like elsewhere, are finding it difficult to get staff. Recently, the gifted head chef Essa Fakhri has been working with just one other person. This may explain why the dessert is either an affogato—a scoop of ice cream topped with a glistening of sweet espresso—or a chocolate mousse with cherries and a landslide of cherry foam. They are, as is so often the case now, things that read like thoughtful desserts without thought-provoking. But while the peculiar bits of the experience must be recorded, I still loved the Note. It has a bright-eyed zest that is contagious. They want you to have a good time. As a result, we did.
Restaurateur George Pell, one of the owners of London’s famed L’Escargot, is set to launch a new restaurant in Aldeburgh on the Suffolk waterfront this August. The launch of The Suffolk follows a successful L’Escargot Sur-Mer pop up over the years. The renovated 17th-century inn will feature a 60-cover restaurant and a rooftop terrace and (eventually) six bedrooms. The opening menu includes deep fried oyster sandwiches, lobster sliders, omelet Arnold Bennett, and roasted langoustines with aioli.the-suffolk.co.uk,,
Akwasi Brenya-Mensa, the restaurant behind the upcoming Tatale, an all-African restaurant opening later this year at the Africa Center in London’s Covent Garden, has announced a crowdfunding campaign. They aim to raise £50,000 not only for the launch cost of the new restaurant, but also to ‘further concepts that celebrate Black and Diaspora identities’ and ‘expand the reach of African cuisine’. Those who help fund the project will be offered a range of prizes, including vouchers for tatalee and cookery classes. Find out more about Crowdfunder Here,
The ever-growing chain Honest Burgers is to end its six-month ‘We Honest’ experiment, in which a Standard branch near London’s Leicester Square went completely vegetarian, adding ‘a mix of plant-based burgers, sauces and sides. Innovative, completely new menu. , This month it will return to serving the meat-based burger for which it is known, along with a small selection of vegetarian and vegan options (honestburgers.co.uk,,