David Coffey's smart brasserie-style restaurant above O’Brien’s pub is attractively fitted out with dark solid-wood tables, brass fixtures, warm lighting and a real fire, The Sussex offers an inviting menu, with a strong emphasis on well-sourced, modern Irish cuisine.
This Dublin Restaurants well laid out one-page menu lists seven starters, followed by dishes listed under headings of ‘Finest Quality Irish Steaks’, ‘Fish’, ‘Pies and Roasts’, ‘Sides’, ‘Irish Cheese, Quince Jelly & Biscuits’ and ‘Desserts’. There is also a specials board offering an extra starter, two mains and a dessert.
To start, difficult choices have to be made between dishes (mainly in the €9-10 region) like Ted Browne’s Dingle Bay prawns, treacle-cured organic Clare Island Salmon, a crispy hen’s egg salad with O’Doherty’s black pudding and a seemingly simple starter of mushrooms on toast, which turns out to be a savoury sensation with the mushrooms coated in a light film of Crozier blue cheese and herb shallot cream.
The house signature starter is smokies, which are equally good and delightfully presented in a small oven-proof dish on a wooden platter, with a side of perfectly dressed leaves and some tangy gherkins.
Appealing main courses (around €18-20) are likely to include the Sussex Fish Pie (a favourite with regulars), slow cooked pork belly, and a tempting Beef & Guinness pie; and there may be specials like fillet of hake served on herb crushed potatoes with vine-roasted tomatoes and lemon cream (18.95), or a pork chop with roast garlic mash and green beans. Whatever you choose, it will be perfectly crafted: unfussy yet full of flavour and attractively presented.
Impeccably sourced ingredients include meats from Donald Russell, Maurice Kettyle and M&K meats; seafood from Mourne Seafood, Wrights and Ted Browne; and organic vegetables from Gold River Farm (all credited on the menu).
Finish, perhaps, with a heavenly, if decadent, slice of chocolate truffle cake served with glazed orange, blackberry coulis and vanilla ice cream (about 6.95).
The man behind the food at The Sussex is the owner/chef David Coffey who is clearly one to watch, while front of house manager Alisdair Walter’s warm, professional manner is reflected by all of the waiting staff. If you’re looking for great Irish dining without the ‘diddly-eye’, this is it.