Facing the Market Bar on Fade Street, Dylan McGrath’s latest venture is in an 8,000 square foot listed building – and, with exposed ducts, walls stripped back to the redbrick, and reclaimed wooden floors, it feels very New York loft.
There are smart wooden tables and high stools and seats are comfortably upholstered in warm fudge coloured leather. The open kitchen of the gastro bar runs along the centre of the room, dividing it from the more formal restaurant, and a bar with beer on draught shimmers at the far end of the room.
This Dublin restaurants a place to see and be seen and, with celebrities a-plenty and noise levels definitely at the social end of the scale, it is one of Dublin’s buzziest restaurants – and run with military precision.
An army of black clad chefs work in the open kitchen, and Dylan or his sous chef stand at the pass with a headpiece to manage the incoming orders. Bar stools at the counter allow diners to get a closer look at the action, high communal tables with horse vault stools run down the middle, and along the wall are smaller more intimate tables.
The concept of the gastro bar is small plates packed with flavour, and here they are broken into char-grilled, snacks, carpaccio, tapas from the garden and pastries; with prices running from €3.50 for potatoes cooked in beef dripping to €20 for main-course-size portions of grilled steak, (also available as €12 portions).
Many of the ingredients are Irish (although this isn’t mentioned on the gastro bar menu) but influences range from Mediterranean to American and Asian.
The cooking is clever and quite different from anything else in Dublin. On a recent visit by the Guide, standout dishes included Patanegra Iberico pork which was poached with fennel powder; a mousse of Jerusalem artichokes; and a delightfully clever coconut rice pudding. Return visits will be a must, as diners will be hungry to try more dishes from this exciting chef’s menu.
Slick and professional service by well-informed and engaged staff adds to the enjoyment and, although it’s a place where you could have a quick meal, there is no pressure to turn over tables.
The very well chosen wine list runs to an impressive 36 pages, with bottles starting at a very reasonable €20. All the wines are available as a shot, a glass or a 500ml carafe. There is also a comprehensive range of cocktails, as well as a comprehensive beer list (including gluten free), with dozens of excellent craft beers from Ireland, so it is equally pleasant to have a drink here as it is to dine.
A great addition to the Dublin dining scene.