In a great first floor location overlooking Trinity College’s playing fields, this Dublin restaurants two bright and contemporary dining rooms are styled with understated panache with pale varnished floorboards, dark wood furniture, and smart feature mirrors. Ornamental pigs dotted about the rooms make a cute feature and are a bit of fun.
Tables are generously spaced and plainly set, but there’s nothing plain about the food. Head chef Stephen McAllister, well known as a TV chef, has an impressive CV that’s seen him work in the kitchens of many of Dublin’s leading restaurants, including One Pico, L'Ecrivain and Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud.
Stephen McAllister is a master at taking traditional Irish favourites, and presenting them in fresh, creative ways. Modestly billed as 'an Irish Restaurant serving good, honest, Irish fare with a modern touch' this is an understatement that belies the commitment to quality local ingredients and the skill with which they are transformed into stylishly simple dishes.
Deeply flavoured comfort food may come in the shape of Maurice Kettyle's ox cheek cooked in stout, served with smoked garlic potato, roast onions & mushrooms stuffed bone marrow; or perhaps Crowe's Farm smoked kassler with roast carrots, pickled fennel, Jane Russell's black puddng and barley - while signature shepherds pie is made with Lough Erne milk fed lamb.
There are creative seafood dishes too, following the same principle of showcasing the very freshest and best ingredients in season - a variation on the classic combination of fish and bacon, perhaps, such as pan-fried halibut with charred cabbage, T J Crowe's smoked bacon fried potatoes and watercress puree.
Tasty desserts are also inspired by tradition - maybe buttermilk custard with elderflower jelly, rhubarb & ginger - and the Irish cheese selection comes with oat crackers.
The wine list offers plenty of choice across a wide price range, with well-chosen wines by the glass, and there’s a choice of beers on tap.
Service is very pleasant, there’s a relaxed buzz to the place - and both the cooking and the excellent value offered are sure to please a wide audience.
*NB - Above the restaurant, on the second floor, a stylishly spare room offers 'The Chef's Counter', where a special 12 course tasting menu can be prepared with 24 hours notice. While designed to be informal - there are six counter seats as well as one large table for eight - this is sure to be a memorable dining experience.