Located to the side of the elegant Powerscourt Centre on Dublin’s busy South William Street, Farrier & Draper is the latest venue from the Mercantile Group, who are responsible for several restaurants and bars around the city.
This former nightclub has been refitted as an elegant 3-storey bar and restaurant venue. The name is a nod to the building’s historic connections with the blacksmiths of the Powerscourt family and the garment industry workers who once operated here 140 years ago.
The restaurant, La Cucina is to be found downstairs in the basement, accessed directly from the street, or from the stylish ground floor bar. Formerly a dance floor, La Cucina is now all about open brickwork, distressed plaster, modern lighting and leather chairs. Under the old vaulted celilngs, heavy marble-topped tables fill three dining sections, with a large wood-burning oven to the side of the main dining room.
Head Chef Riccardo Grande’s heritage and experience shows in this classic Italian menu, with dishes broken down into the traditional, primi, pasta and secondi sections. Starters include frito misto, the classic Italian dish of fried seafood with perfect calamari, whitebait, courgette and prawns, and golden deep-fried arancini, fragrant with truffle.
Wood-fired pizzettes are a speciality, and come with simple, pared back toppings. The simplicity of the pasta dishes speaks of the confidence and tradition of the chef. Linguini lightly dressed with tomato sauce is accompanied by a half lobster, for example, while the strong flavours of cep and Italian sausage are hidden within delicate agnolotti.
The wine list is concise and well-priced, offering a good selection by the glass; there’s a fun cocktail list too, priced around €11-13.
Staff are uniformly friendly and attentive and La Cucina delivers on its promise of good-value, old-school dining, in a modern and elegant venue.