Category Archives: 200 Word Reviews

200 Word Review: ETTO on Merrion Row

Etto. A restaurant that I had heard many whispers about, but never had the chance to visit.

Sitting at the bar, myself and my partner glanced over the menu and gave each other a knowing glance – this looked very promising.

It was the first time that both of us weren’t seated at a table, but that didn’t matter, we still felt right at home.

Continue reading 200 Word Review: ETTO on Merrion Row

200 Words: Ha Noi Ha Noi on Capel Street

The rain poured down so hard that I almost slipped off the footpath – I needed something hot, and fast.

Hanoi Hanoi on Dublin’s Capel Street is one of the latest Vietnamese restaurants to crop up in the city and being one who’s obsessed with noodle soup, I had to give it a lash.

Unassuming on the outside, the establishment boasts a rather large interior with plenty of space to accommodate diners (though it may take you a few seconds to recover from its choice of décor).

First up was the nem rán (or spring rolls), and there’s not a single thing that I could find wrong with them.

With a crispiness that crumbled, and flavoursome filling that meshed so beautifully with the dipping sauce, it was the perfect start to my meal.


Onto the phở gà: Though the soup had the base for a perfect broth, I was left disappointed with the slightly overcooked chicken and fatty bits that I found. There were other places that definitely did it better.

That being said, the curiously extensive menu, excellent pricing (I spent just €11) and the polite, attentive service makes me want to give this place another bash.

I’ll be back.

Come again? Bring your friends! There’s plenty of room.
Rating: 3.5/5
Website: https://www.zomato.com/dublin/ha-noi-ha-noi-city-centre-north

200 Words: East Side Tavern on Leeson Street

East Side Tavern on Leeson Street, though decorated with dark tones, manages to pull off a homely feel.

The downstairs bar has a magnificent display of liquors stacked high on its shelves and the upstairs hosts a restaurant with a modern twist.

Spaghetti marinara made its way to my table and despite my request to remove one vital ingredient (I’m not a chili person!), it still tasted wonderful.

  
Now my partner is very particular about his steaks, in fact, it’s rare that he ever gets a good one and so I made a note of looking at his expression as he tackled the 10oz rib-eye.

  
The meat was beautifully chargrilled and I was lucky enough to get a bite. He was in love to say the least!

Feeling in the mood for something unusual, my eyes wandered to the rather curious “carrot sorbet”.

Dipping the liquorice wand into the coconut yoghurt and twirling it around the sorbet and ground nuts; I was astonished.

It was satisfaction on a plate, and I was finally delighted to taste a dessert that excited me with texture.

Service was swift and top-notch and I got the impression that they really cared for the customer.

Come again? That carrot sorbet needs to be tried again.
Rating: 4/5
Website: http://www.eastsidetavern.ie/menus/

200 Words: Musashi Noodles and Sushi Bar on Capel Street

A complete sucker for sashimi, this week I had a Japanese food craving that needed to be tackled.

Musashi, with its grey exterior and simple design, is tucked away on Capel Street and easy to pass by in favour of the more popular competition.

I hadn’t been back in three years, but I’m glad I finally did.

After much debating, but with the certainty that I’d definitely be getting sashimi, I settled on a big bowl of ramen with a selection of meat.

In the past, I’ve found Musashi to have very slow service, but much to my delight we were served swiftly with a waiter that could have gotten the award for the “most polite man of the year”.

Though the ramen’s broth could have been on the clearer side and the tofu was slightly overdone, the noodles and overall combination of food had a hearty feel. It was a filling meal.

But my winner was the raw salmon. My sashimi along with its soy and wasabi, was like a juicy kiss with the freshness of the fish heightening its flavour.

A hidden gem amongst some overpriced and not-so-nice sushi hubs in Dublin, Musashi is well worth a visit.

Come again? I need that sashimi again!
Rating: 3.5/5
Website: http://musashidublin.com/

  

200 Words: Whitefriar Grill

The Whitefriar Grill – what can I say? Seldom have I had such an enjoyable experience from start-to-finish.

In the mood for a fun night out, my partner and I were greeted by a lovely waiter who proceeded to hand us a light Prosecco tipple while they prepared a table.

Jam-packed with an air of bustling energy, I was excited.

As part of Dublin Wine Festival, Whitefriar was offering a taste of three wines and I was delighted to see my favourite varietal Riesling as the star. Savouring the tastes of Eden Valley, Pflaz and Alsace, it was heavenly.

To be honest food wise, I hugely contemplated just having one word in this entire review which was: steak.

My partner went for the steak and I settled on duck, but I have to say when I tasted his meal, it was truly glorious. Crispy on the outside and juicy and pink on the inside, I was jealous.

The duck I ordered was worthy of praise too with the crispy skin contrasting wonderfully with the juices inside.

What a meal and what excellent service. I sometimes think that many restaurants don’t value their customers, but Whitefriar Grill is on the money.

Come again: Without a shadow of a doubt
Rating: 5/5
Website: http://whitefriargrill.ie/restaurant-dublin-brunch/

200 Words: Rathmines’ Manifesto

The flames from the oven caught our eye from the front of the restaurant. They had always intrigued us but we’d never gotten the opportunity to head in – until today.

On quick glance of Manifesto in Rathmines you wouldn’t think much. The exterior is a dark, gloomy brown, but the chance of eating a wood-fired pizza was too much of a temptation on a drizzly day.

Plonking down, I settled on a Quattro Formaggi (four-cheese) pizza and my partner opted for the Sophia Loren.

I’m not a massive pizza lover, but when I do order one, I like them to be thin, crispy and absolutely flavoursome. Our pizzas didn’t disappoint.

Crispy with oozing cheeses flowing across the crust and hidden basil leaves lurking in the golden – it was the perfect lunch filler.

Sophia Loren was a beauty with rocket, cherry tomatoes, Parma ham and cheese, bursting with flavour with each bite.

Soon the building filled up with hungry couples and happy families and I can definitely see why.

With several more options on the menu and coming in at €10 with a drink on the lunch special, how could I not come back? It was a choice well made.

Come again: You can count on it
Rating: 4.5/5
Website: http://manifestorestaurant.ie/

200 Words: Ranelagh’s TriBeCa

When you bite in, the taste of charred meat comes flooding into your mouth. Mixed with a zing of rocket and nutty Parmesan, it was heaven. Finally, a burger I was able to hold in both hands.

TriBeCa has been on my list for a while now.

Full but not at all claustrophobic, mirrors in the dining room reflect the feeling of more space and it was truly wonderful that I didn’t have to shout across to my fellow diners.

I have a thing about burgers – I love them. But when I’m not able to pick one up and bite a chunk out of it, I tend to get irritated.

Settling on a grilled chicken burger with avocado, peppers, rocket and Parmesan, I was expecting to experience yet another burger that was piled high onto a plate (or slate) – but I was pleasantly taken aback.

This was a burger. It was straightforward, hit the high notes with flavours and made me pause for reflection. I hadn’t had something like that in a long time.

Feeling pleasantly full, I mused to my partner that we would undoubtedly be back to try the other curious things on the menu. No doubt.

Come again? Definitely
Rating: 4.5/5
Website: http://www.tribeca.ie/


 

Note: I’ve decided to change the format of my reviews to give them a snappier feel. Sometimes I feel like people tend to waffle on without getting to the essence of what the food and atmosphere is like. I hope these reviews tackle that!

Review: Pride in local food from Sage Restaurant in Midleton

Tucked away off Main Street in Midleton is a restaurant that prides itself on sourcing local food from within a 12 Mile radius.

A party of three, we headed in from the rain for a meal that we hoped would give us the burst of energy that we so desperately needed.

Sage Restaurant
Main Street,
Midleton,
Co. Cork
Phone: 021 4639682
http://www.sagerestaurant.ie/

Despite having no booking, we were greeted with an infectious warmth that was echoed within the walls of Sage.

Wood and browns spilled across the restaurant floor, making the whole restaurant feel spacious yet sheltered from the elements.

Set up by Chef Kevin Aherne, the restaurant boasts an ambitious menu with descriptions of food that inspire curiosity.

Donning the walls are images of the producers they source from, with more gleaming smiles filtering through the room.

In an attempt to veer away from what I’d usually order, I decided to start with the “free-range chicken compression with burnt onion and apple caramel”.

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The chicken fell away like the texture of pulled pork but with the juiciness of a chicken leg. Mixing my fork with the onion and caramel, I savoured the moment.

With mains on the way, I was eager to see what would be plated up next. Surrounding us were groups of diners and the aromas from the kitchen wafting through our seats.

Going for the more unusual dish, I chose a goat’s cheese gnocchi with a crispy egg, and expected something quite wonderful. I wasn’t disappointed.

Though the crispy egg could have been a shade crispier on one side, combining it with the cheese-infused gnocchi was such a delight that I didn’t mind.

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To convince myself that it wasn’t just me, I had taste of the organic roast chicken and vegetables on my partner’s plate. Another simple success.

food

Unfortunately, dessert is not Sage’s strong point. As much as I love cheesecake, the one that I had was too dense to be enjoyable and sadly the crème brûlée portion was a touch too big to enjoy.

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Overall, however, it’s quite tribute to Cork’s local producers though I would have loved to have seen more of them named on the menu, instead of being just featured on the walls.

Sage is a restaurant I’m still very curious about and I would love to go back again and see what else its menu has to offer. I left with a very satisfied tummy and a smile on my face.

Total: €74.40 (party of three with no wine and one starter)

 

Review: Generous portions and curious food at Castlegregory’s Milesian Restaurant

I was brimming with curiosity when I heard of Milesian – a restaurant in Castlegregory that was the talk of the town and being back home in the Kerry for a month or so, I was definitely up for something new.

A cottage-style restaurant in the heart of the Irish countryside and teamed with great food, it sounded like the perfect evening out with friends.

Milesian
Main Street,
Castlegregory,
Kerry
Phone: 086 362 1984
http://milesianrestaurant.com/

We were a party of six and after making our way from various corners of the Kingdom, we were looking forward to having a good night out.

In Irish mythology, the Milesians were descendants of Míl Espáine – who displaced the Tuatha Dé Danann in Ireland. The restaurant itself was established 20 years ago as a family run business, with head chef Greg O’Mahoney taking over in 2010.

The place was bustling and on a wet and generally miserable night, it was a delight to peek in the window and see cheerful looking faces munching away at their meals and sipping wine.

We arrived slightly early and were directed across the road to one of local pubs where we ordered a round and spied a French couple tucking into the most divine looking cote de boeuf (later we discovered that they were in fact eating food from Milesian, who brought food over from the restaurant for those who hadn’t booked in advance – clever thinking).

After 15 minutes we shuffled back to the restaurant and made our way to the loft area where we would be dining for the night.

The menu sat on one page, with a simple mixture of meat and fish and as our drink orders were being taken, my eyes wandered towards the Kerry mountain lamb and the chargrilled monkfish (as it turned out for whatever reason they were out of monkfish so that make my decision all the more easier!)

tuna

Service was swift and my seared tuna starter with various purées and vegetables turned out to be fresh and simple, with the flavours doing all of the talking – I quickly polished the lot and one my companions remarked that his soup tasted incredibly homely. It was off to a winning start.

As we waited for our mains, I eyed up the cottage’s features and although the paintings, Irish maps, books and various memorabilia dotted around, the place didn’t feel too twee with modern music and not trad piping through the speakers.

Less The Quiet Man and more an upscale country kitchen, the menu suited the location and the place held an atmosphere of warmth and homeliness.

inside

I absolutely adore lamb and when it arrived I was surprised by the generous portion. Sitting on a bed of Basque-style potatoes, five slices looked at me and I greedily tucked into them.

The lamb was undoubtedly tender but despite the meat being demolished by our table in less than 20 minutes, there were little things about it that niggled at me.

The dish itself wasn’t particularly hot and I felt like the potatoes were lacking in seasoning and any major oomph. I knew that the highlight was obviously the lamb but felt it needed more of a lift to be outstanding. It was hard to tell whether I was meant to combine the potatoes with the purées or the lamb and so I was left with some guesswork with flavour – yes, it was very, very good, but considering that I was forking out almost €23 for it, I wanted it to be stunning.

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(The lamb)

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(Hake fillet)

So far the evening was like a wave, I had a high with the tuna and then a slight lull with lamb and I hoped to hop up again with dessert.

I had noticed a few wibbly-wobbly panna cottas making their way to nearby tables and was intrigued by the fact that they were said to be infused by basil. Fingers crossed, I thought, this would be it.

Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed.

pannacotta

The herb panna cotta was light with a hint of the basil running through it and though it was teamed with a rather glorified granola (a spoonful at most), it proved to be rather delightful. Heaped on a spoon with the strawberries, the flavours were summery and fresh.

I managed to nab a bit of the chocolate brownie and when our dishes and drinks had been cleared, we all agreed that the meal had been, all-in-all, a success.

For a party of six the total was quite respectable, two of us didn’t have wine with only three of us going for starters and five of us for dessert.

Overall the service and food was very much above average and I’m very much looking forward to coming back again soon.

Total: €217

Review: Lunch without personality from Wuff in Dublin

For months myself and my other half had been trying to dine out in Wuff in Dublin 7 – not because it was booked out, but because every time we thought it was open, it wasn’t – our own faults I might add!

So when we finally got the opportunity to head there, we have to admit, we were excited.

Wuff
23 Benburb Street
Dublin 7
Phone: (01) 532 0347
http://www.wuff.ie

The lunch menu sounded right up our alley and after a quick glimpse inside, we decided to wait an extra half an hour until the main lunch crowd had departed.

Greeted by its friendly waiting staff, we sat down with ease and glanced at the menu – my other half remarked that he would’ve loved to try nearly everything on it and despite the fact that we had a few club sandwich disasters in the past few weeks, he settled on the classic dish and I on the pulled pork.

Wuff is a moderately-size room teamed with greys, blacks and browns, with a grid pattern on its windows – which works well in making the place feel modern but not too industrial – almost cosy in fact (I quite like the fact that I didn’t immediately compare it to anywhere else because of its own sense of style).

The staff are professional and sound like they’re actually interested in serving you and making you feel welcome.

So when the food arrived, I was already enthusiastic about tasting and easing myself into sandwich heaven.

My pulled pork sandwich, priced at €8.50, was sadly a disappointment.

Fiddly and sitting on top of a serviette, which sat on a plate, the bottom of the sandwich stuck to the tissue and made it unpleasant to finish the lower half. Though the colour of the pork was quite vibrant, it looked pretty lonely on my plate and I was glad that I had decided to order the chips as an accompaniment. It tasted fine, it was edible and I ate it, but I was puzzled.

Across the table my partner was happily tucking into his club sandwich – which incidentally was not a sandwich but a meal atop a slice of bread – combining the bacon, chicken, chutney and bread onto his fork and munching away.

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“Was there something I missed?” I thought.

He offered me a bite and I could understand his enthusiasm. The flavours were there, the layers were there and the taste was there. The bacon was simply cooked, with not the overbearing taste of salt that often lingers; the chicken was juicy and the chutney though plentiful, didn’t turn the bread soggy or overpower it.

So I had missed out, but I shouldn’t have – a pity.

I stuck with my lonely pulled pork and wished there had been a side salad, some onions or a bit more flavour between the slices of Blaa.  The side-order of chips certainly filled my appetite and I glanced back at the menu of what I could have gone for.

Overall the meal was quite reasonable with our total just exceeding €20 so I didn’t feel completely let down, but I just feel like there was some personality missing in their presentation.

Funnily enough, I’m still curious to set foot in there again and sample something more exciting or at least their club again. Fingers crossed next time.

Total: €22.95