Run by brothers Bereen, Coppinger Row brings laid-back affordable dining to the heart of the town, with a range of menus offering bar bites as well as lunch and evening meals.
Although opening relatively recently, it feels as if it has been here for years, with its comforting wood fittings, tiled floor and a glass front which opens onto a terrace – a reassuring atmosphere in the current economic climate, and pleasingly matched by casual dining which celebrates simple Mediterranean cooking.
This Dublin restaurants efficient, knowledgeable and friendly staff immediately put arriving customers at ease, quickly offering drinks (and explaining that unlimited still and sparkling water is available for a charge of just one euro per guest, half of which goes to charity) and chef Troy Maguire’s fairly priced menus, which offer a wide range of equally tempting dishes – although it would be nice to see sources credited.
At lunchtime there’s little to distinguish between courses except the prices but, with everything within a limit of about €15 and most well below that, there’s no sting in the tail. Think Mediterranean/Middle Eastern classics like Moroccan spiced soup with lamb, lentils and chickpeas, or falafel salad with mint yoghurt & tahini dressing, perhaps, also a good hot vegetarian dish such as stuffed baked aubergine, offered as a starter or main course.
Some dishes, such as garlic & chilli prawns a la plancha (also available in two sizes) may reappear for Sunday Brunch or, with modest upward price revision, on a more structured evening menu, and it is good to see less usual dishes like fried whitebait with lemon on offer. Once a staple of every other ‘posh’ menu, this retro dish is now a treat when generous and well-made, as it is at Coppinger Row - deliciously crispy and full of flavour.
Other unusual offerings may include potted meats – a combination of rabbit and pork, perhaps; rich and sweetly flavoured, it may be served with an unexpected accompaniment such as salsa verde (which works surprisingly well).
Fish may be cooked whole, Mediterranean style - seabass or sea bream, perhaps, typically served with with braised fennel, courgette provençale and olive tapenade - poultry, such as stuffed chicken leg with Italian sausage & braised baby gem gets the treatment too, and even that old dependable sirloin steak comes with rocket and parmesan.
Dessert choices are deliberately restricted to three – they will vary but you can expect accomplished versions of dishes like the ever-popular chocolate brownie with vanilla icecream, alongside less usual choices; apple strudel may come with cinnamon & rosemary icecream, for example, and there is usually something a little exotic such as vanilla panacotta with biscotti, pomegranate & mandarin.
A good wine list includes well-chosen house wines (€19) and eight wines by the glass.
With highly proficient service, good-value prices, and very good food, Coppinger Row is well worth a visit.