In what has become the ‘restaurant quarter’ of Clontarf, this younger kid on the block is a two-storey restaurant just opposite Hemmingways and along from Picasso's, with on-street parking outside and the menus written in white on the French doors at the front.
Entering through a little porch to the left, you’ll find an appealingly relaxed space, with exposed beams seen against lovely high pale ceilings, original red brickwork, grey/green woodwork and plenty of wood – both in flooring, and tables of various sizes (some good for groups).
Up the characterful stairway (bookshelves to the ceiling, pretty old-fashioned lace curtains), the first floor restaurant is similar but with chesterfield sofas creating a slightly more chilled out ambience.
Although there is very little artwork, it’s a really attractive place and there’s a buzz about it with a mix of family groups, ladies who lunch, young mothers, and couples creating a good atmosphere.
A chilled display unit towards the back of the room is full of lovely homemade goodies, from quiches and tarts to fruit salad and an apple pie full of big juicy slices of apple that would be hard to resist. And then, at the very back, the wall is lined promisingly with shelves of wine...
The thought of breakfast here might be enough to divert you on your way to work – fat sausages, gorgeous rashers, portobello or flat mushroom, black pudding tomato and fried eggs, and pancakes, a vegetarian breakfast, fruits, juices, home baked breads and scones, and more.
Then, when it comes to lunch, there’s a tempting written menu – including a speciality choice of a fish plate or charcuterie & cheeseboard and hot dishes like collar of bacon with colcannon & parsley sauce, perhaps, and beef & Guinness pie. And then are specials that are worth dropping in for in their own right - pan fried whiting, for example, done very simply with rosemary roasted potatoes and rocket: delicious.
A special value two-course early dinner is offered, followed by a very appealing combination of the ‘best’ dishes on other menus – among the starters, white onion soup with Gubbeen chorizo crouton, or a salad of roast beetroot, fennel & goats cheese perhaps, then the trademark fish or charcuterie & cheese plates and a great choice of main courses including seasonal treats like roast pheasant and wild Irish venison when available.
Upbeat classic desserts such as chocolate tart with raspberries & vanilla ice cream would be hard to pass on, or there’s an excellent cheeseboard to finish – offered with an optional dessert wine or port.
Kind, attentive staff work quickly and efficiently, and children are not only welcome but have proper daytime and evening menus. A comprehensive drinks list includes cocktails, aperitifs and digestifs, spirits and interesting beers and soft drinks as well as an informative and kindly priced wine list.
This is a fun and relaxed place to be, great for coffee, breakfast, lunch or a serious dinner. It’s seasonally influenced, everything is home made and delicious (even the salmon is hot smoked in their own smokerie), there’s a commitment to using beef, chicken and eggs of Irish origin, and the charcuterie and cheeses are named – although it would be nice to see even more mention of provenance on the menu, as it’s sure to be interesting.
This is a restaurant working really hard to please a discerning market at the right price, and they clearly appreciate it.