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Dining in Dublin


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#1 Rail Paul

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 01:10 PM


The WSJ's Ray Sokolov reports on his recent visit to high end Dublin restaurants. He enjoyed The Tea Room in Bono's hotel, with its reinterpretation of Irish classics like ham hock.

He likes Guilbaud. He found the $57 lunch to be an exceptional bargain, with pigeon, black pudding, croquette of suckling pig, or chicken crayfish quenelles with curry, etc. With round trip fares to Dublin from NY in December and January as low as $551, it could be worth a trip.

QUOTE
[Guilbaud]- Service is unfaultable—well, almost unfaultable. The main dining room is spacious, modern and focused on a large, colorful abstract painting surmounted by a plaster head of Anna Livia, the goddess of the local river, the Liffey. In addition to the precious oysters, we tried "traditional crubeen"; crubeen is Gaelic for pig's foot. Guilbaud crubeen is a trotter sublimated into very thin circular slices of gutsy-tasting cold cut.

Wicklow lamb and Irish farm rabbit are justly celebrated and appear routinely on menus hereabouts. The Guilbaud preparations bore only tangential connections with the way these meats normally look on a plate. The lamb was a black rectangle, evenly scarlet within and delicious; the rabbit was a yummy boneless cylinder. Here again, the chef offered us the quintessence of the basic meat source, explored its fullest potential and took it as far as possible in a pure visual direction. Was $80 a fair price for such sensually exhilarating if ephemeral artistry? Consider that a single ticket to a Dallas Cowboys home game can easily run $400 online.


WSJ

He finds the service and timing at Thornton's to be a challenge, with 50 minute breaks in service, customers walking out in frustration, etc. However, he loved the food and the prices.

QUOTE
At Thornton's, the Wicklow lamb comes out as an ennobled mixed grill—pieces of tenderloin, kidney and sweetbread, each prepared in a different manner, accompanied by a zucchini clafoutis, garlic confit and garlic sauce, for $68. The Armagnac-and-prune souffle would have been outstanding even if the waiter hadn't gently dropped a scoop of pear sorbet into it at the final moment of service at the table.

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#2 IanT

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 01:56 PM

Guilbaud's is top class. Well worth the 2* and probably the best dining room I have seen. The retaruant had the hotel in which it is located (the Merrion, best hotel in Dublin imo) have an amazing collection of contemporary Irish art. Special place in my heart as it was where my family celebrated special occassions but more recent visits show it has maintained standards.

Tea Rooms I have always found overrated but they have had a high churn of chefs so they could well be doing decent things.

Thorntons - seems to be very inconsistent. When I lived in Dublin I used to go for lunch occassionally but too many reports of inconsistent meals and poor service (and subsequen move from 2* to 1*) means I am unlikely to back

Chapter One has probably been the most popular starred restaurant in Dublin in recent years, everyone who eats there seems to sing its praises. Also a very cool deal whereby you can have your starter and main course, go to a play in the (lovely) Gate theatre around the corner and come back for dessert.

One of the other starred restaurants, Mint, closed this year. A shame as it was consistently well reviewed and the food sounded modern and interesting.

#3 Blondie

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 03:09 PM

QUOTE(IanT @ Oct 6 2009, 09:56 AM) View Post
Chapter One has probably been the most popular starred restaurant in Dublin in recent years, everyone who eats there seems to sing its praises. Also a very cool deal whereby you can have your starter and main course, go to a play in the (lovely) Gate theatre around the corner and come back for dessert.

I had a spectacular lunch there last year. Food and service were both top-notch.
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#4 Blondie

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 07:41 PM

I've been here for more than a week, but due to the extreme weather (snow/ice/worst cold snap since 1963) we ate in most of the first week.

Best meal so far: lunch at L'Gueuleton (Fade St.): Toulouse sausages, choucroute, potatoes (~13 euro). Good choice for a cold, snow day. Fantastic warm chocolate tart with vanilla ice cream for dessert. The tart filling was soft, almost like brownie batter, intensely chocolate-y.

Ok Thai dinner at Saba (Clarendon St) on New Year's Eve after several pints upstairs at Neary's. I really shouldn't complain: we hadn't made reservations and they seated 5 of us at 9:30pm at a long table by the windows, where we watched the giant fluffly snowflakes falling. Decent duck roll to start, then a spicy noodle dish that was unmemorable. The big surprise was the drinks menu. Among the pages of Sake martinis and Cosmos, they had a classic cocktail section. I had a perfectly balanced Aviation WITH VIOLETTE. A few new Aviation fans were born that night. Walking home up Grafton and out Baggot Street while the ships blew their foghorns at midnight was a lovely moment.

Best value so far: the set menu at the Millstone on Dame St. I've walked by a million times and thought it was just a lunch cafe. The omnivores all had seafood chowder to start. Packed with big tender chunks of fish and prawns, it was was nice but slightly underseasoned. For mains, 28-day aged beef medallions over mash with caramelized onions. The beef was an inch thick and perfectly medium rare, as ordered. Very flavorful, properly beefy beef. I was coerced into ordering the Death By Chocolate, but only had room for a few bites. Not bad. 3 courses for 23 euro, 2 for 18. Solid but not spectacular, excellent and friendly service, which was fine for us after a hectic day.

The Millstone also has a full menu for Coeliacs. My cousin is vegetarian and wheat-intolerant, and would eat there every night if she could. Some of the pizza combinations are bizarre, but it looked like the real deal. Wish I'd tasted it. I asked the hungry smarty-pants what's in the coeliac pizza crust, and the answer ("Coeliacs") started a helpless gigglefest. Perhaps you had to be there.

We've had pints at some of my old favorites: Stag's Head, Peter's Pub, Neary's and Bowe's. Any recommendations for pubs not to miss (especially newer ones, if they don't suck) are appreciated. Next outing we are planning to hit my trio of old locals: Toner's, O'Donohue's and Doheny & Nesbitt's (despite the wankers - I assume the clientele is the same).

Biggest change from when I lived in Dublin years ago: good coffee is very easy to find. Expensive, but at least it's not the crapshoot it used to be.

ETA: I'm giving my hosts a break (over their protestations) and staying at the Clarence Hotel for 109 euro a night for a double with a view of the Liffey. In better times, this room apparently goes for 445.
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#5 Rail Paul

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 12:48 AM

QUOTE(Blondie @ Jan 6 2010, 02:41 PM) View Post
(snip)

ETA: I'm giving my hosts a break (over their protestations) and staying at the Clarence Hotel for 109 euro a night for a double with a view of the Liffey. In better times, this room apparently goes for 445.


The Clarence received a nice overview on Wealth TV channel last night. Looks like a gorgeous place, and 109 euro sounds like a steal.

Guilbaud was also featured on the same show. He was still excited, after 20 years, about the stellar quality of the ingredients. Great lamb, incredible butter, wonderful beef, etc.

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#6 IanT

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 11:45 AM

Blondie - Pichet sounds like it would be worth trying. Its a new bistro opened by the head chef from L'Ecrivain and Nick Munier (ex Marco/Ramsay front of house) and I've only heard good things.

Sounds like you are up to speed on the pub front, you've named most of my old favourites. I had some unbeliveably good pints in the Stags Head on my last trip back to Dublin, made me homesick. Mulligans on Poolbeg Street is probably the one other place that would be worth popping into. Lovely old pub and famous for its pint.


#7 Blondie

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 12:11 PM

QUOTE(IanT @ Jan 7 2010, 06:45 AM) View Post
Blondie - Pichet sounds like it would be worth trying. Its a new bistro opened by the head chef from L'Ecrivain and Nick Munier (ex Marco/Ramsay front of house) and I've only heard good things.

Sounds like you are up to speed on the pub front, you've named most of my old favourites. I had some unbeliveably good pints in the Stags Head on my last trip back to Dublin, made me homesick. Mulligans on Poolbeg Street is probably the one other place that would be worth popping into. Lovely old pub and famous for its pint.

Mulligan's is on the list as well. I love that place. My knowledge comes from 3 years of living here in the late 90's. Luckily my favorite old pubs are one of the few things that didn't change during the boom.

Ooh, the menu at Pichet looks good. Will give it a try and report back. Thanks.

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#8 Blondie

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 08:24 PM

Pichet has been closed each time I've passed by. Yesterday I saw a guy touching up the paint, so fingers crossed they will finish and re-open before I leave on Thursday.

We had another stellar meal at L'Gueuleton. It was a very cold night so we all ordered French Onion Soup to start. Good and hearty, although one diner expressed the opinion that there was too much cheese, which earned him stares of disbelief from the rest of us. The omnivores had the roasted pork belly with Savoy cabbage, which was as good as the last time I had it 2 years ago. One diner trying it for the first time was positively giddy, almost high, he was so happy with it. Dessert was the infamous warm chocolate tart. A taste of the milk chocolate delice revealed that it was almost as good.

Quick early dinner at the Winding Stair tonight. The pre-theater menu at 29.95 for 3 courses is good value. I had the Umerra (West Cork) Smoked Duck salad with plums and toasted hazelnuts to start, and braised beef cheek with crushed potatoes and roasted vegetable gravy. No complaints about the salad, but the beef was such a large portion I had to leave half of it to save room for dessert. Warm chocolate pudding with berries and vanilla ice cream was worth saving room for.

The service at both L'Gueuleton and the Wnding Stair is worth pointing out for their professionalism and friendliness.
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#9 yvonne johnson

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 03:12 AM

The tasting menu at Patrick Guilbaud was the best meal, by far & without doubt, we had in Dublin and all of Ireland last month. From the likes of lobster ravioli to all vegetable tart (no pastry) to potato pasta dish with truffle. Beautiful scallops. I can't remember the specifics, that's not to say I don't remember the wonderful meal as a whole. A very beautiful airy room and exquisite service (sounds corny to say, but the waiters (m & f) were artistic and gracious in some of that Michelin style but without the pomp).

Liked it so much we went back on the way to the airport 10 days later. Maybe a mistake to try to recreate a first walking out. All very good, but the special duck (overcooked) for 2 didn't quite make it. Oh, well. Still well worth it.

(On first visit, I thought PG deserved 3 M stars, but maybe 2 is accurate. Service is 3 deffo.)
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It was not a new dish, as I recognised my tooth marks. Wilfrid

#10 yvonne johnson

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 03:25 AM

One meal at L'Ecrivain last month. Everything passed and well. It tries and achieves fine. That sounds patronizing probably, but it just doesn't come close to Patrick Guilbaud and if you're splashing out in Dublin why not go for the top?
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It was not a new dish, as I recognised my tooth marks. Wilfrid

#11 IanT

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 05:12 PM

Glad to hear that you enjoyed Guilbaud's. I hope the rest of the trip was as successful.

#12 g.johnson

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 05:29 PM

It was though I reached a point where I never wanted to see a mashed potato ever again.

We followed the advice that you and others gave us and took a leisurely clockwise loop from Dublin through Cork, Kerry, Dingle, Connemara and back to Dublin.
The Obnoxious Glyn Johnson

#13 beachfan

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 12:10 AM

Any updates?

I'm thinging of

a) Dinner at Le Gueleton Sunday night
b) Lunch at Guilbaud on Tuesday

I liked the look of Chapter one, but they aren't open Monday, and that's my only free day. Millstone had some nice vegetarian options, but for the pescatarian (me), didn't look as good. But maybe I'll wind up there.

Monday pre theatre dinner or lunch suggestions please! (looks like l'ecrivain is tasty and open Monday night, but don't seat until 6:30).

#14 IanT

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 08:49 AM

Any updates?

I'm thinging of

a) Dinner at Le Gueleton Sunday night
b) Lunch at Guilbaud on Tuesday

I liked the look of Chapter one, but they aren't open Monday, and that's my only free day. Millstone had some nice vegetarian options, but for the pescatarian (me), didn't look as good. But maybe I'll wind up there.

Monday pre theatre dinner or lunch suggestions please! (looks like l'ecrivain is tasty and open Monday night, but don't seat until 6:30).


The Greenhouse has been getting rave reviews, sounds like the best restaurant to open in the city in years (I haven't been). The chef was cooking at Gregan's Castle in the Burren for the last couple of years and was heavily tipped for a star. I suspect he will now get one relocated to a smart restaurant in central Dublin. Though I've just checked and it doesn't open Mondays...

Pichet would be a good option for Monday. It's a very good bistro with a bib gourmand. More refined than Le Gueleton.

#15 Blondie

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 04:03 PM


Any updates?

I'm thinging of

a) Dinner at Le Gueleton Sunday night
b) Lunch at Guilbaud on Tuesday

I liked the look of Chapter one, but they aren't open Monday, and that's my only free day. Millstone had some nice vegetarian options, but for the pescatarian (me), didn't look as good. But maybe I'll wind up there.

Monday pre theatre dinner or lunch suggestions please! (looks like l'ecrivain is tasty and open Monday night, but don't seat until 6:30).


The Greenhouse has been getting rave reviews, sounds like the best restaurant to open in the city in years (I haven't been). The chef was cooking at Gregan's Castle in the Burren for the last couple of years and was heavily tipped for a star. I suspect he will now get one relocated to a smart restaurant in central Dublin. Though I've just checked and it doesn't open Mondays...

Pichet would be a good option for Monday. It's a very good bistro with a bib gourmand. More refined than Le Gueleton.

I did finally make it to Pichet on my last visit, and agree with IanT. I'd make it my first choice, although L'Gueleton remains a sentimental favorite. Best fish I had was at One Pico, and they might be able to accomodate the vegetarian. Millstone is ok (excellent if you're gluten-intolerant), but not top-notch.
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