Restaurant Reviews from Blossom

Status: Connoisseur

Credibility Score:
52.5%

County: Dublin

No. of Reviews: 23

Member Since: 09 July 2008

Last Visit: 28 March 2011

The Best Restaurant

Alexis Bar And Grill restaurant

17 / 18 Patrick Street, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Area Code: South Co. Dublin

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Cuisine:
Bistro

Price Range:

Good
198 reviews

Reviewed 13th October 2010 ( visited 13th October 2010 )

I am a huge fan of Alexis and again this evening it hit the spot. We were a party of 3 and between us had the risotto and ham terrine for starters, the haddock, beef and mushroom pie and pork for mains and finished with the apple crumble and steamed butterscotch pudding. The risotto was, as always, beautifully seasoned and cooked to perfection. And the ham, which is a newer addition to the early bird menu was flavoursome and fresh. The haddock and beef mains were both beautiful but I did take humbridge with the pork. the menu stipulated a cut of meat which the diner would be forgiven for presuming was a cutlet or the like NOT belly of pork, which a very specific cut, not to everyones taste. As it happens I do actually enjoy a good piece of pork belly but unfortunately this was not it. The skin was not crispy enough and the underbelly was slightly too crispy, a reversal of roles and it would have been perfect. The diner redeemed itself with the desserts, especially the steamed pudding which was superb and a welcome addition to the menu. Over all another 5 star rating for Alexis!!
Most Visited Restaurant

Roly Saul The Restaurant

The Mill House, Dundrum Town Centre, Dublin 14, Dundrum, Dublin, Area Code:

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Cuisine:
European

Price Range:

Good
133 reviews

Reviewed 30th October 2009 ( visited 28th October 2009 )

Went for an impromptu early dinner in Roly Saul. The resaurant itself is fabulous, I loved the mix of the modern and old house feel. Unfortunately the building & decor were one of the highlights of the night. We shared a started of endive, poached pear, caramalised wallnuts and a sprinkling of a mild blue cheese. The pears were well cooked but if you don't like cinimon, dont do there. We could have done with a few more walnuts, which were fantastic and moorish, and considerably less of the salad leaves. Endive leaves by themselves would have been better. Over all not bad though. For mains we had the linguine with prawns and the pork belly. Prawns were overcooked and altogether to fishy. The flavour unfortunately overpowered the otherwise well cooked linguine. The pork belly was the star of the night. It was my first time trying it as I'm usually put off by the amount of fat. However this was easily avoided, if you wanted to, and the remaining meat was melt in the mouth soft and beautifully seasoned. This was served with savoy cabbage and a potato cake but much to my disappointment they had combined the two in a colcannon type effect which left it altogether too salty and the potato surprisingly dry. With one fairly non-descript expresso the bill totalled 50euro, including tip. I couldn't fault the service, the manager was friendly and welcoming and the staff were attentive and professional. Not sure if Roly Saul is having teething problems, the potential is there they just aren't quite hitting the mark just yet.
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Cafe Mimo (Dundrum)
House of Fraiser, Dundrum Town Centre, Dundrum, Dublin

I visited Cafe Mimo with a friend on thurs last and honestly, I won't be going back. We both opted for the steak special that was on offer. The restaurant was obviously catering for an expected crowd and it would appear that most of the food was precooked and heated to order. The steaks cooked rare and medium rare were in themselves beautiful but the rest of the dish left alot to be desired. The accompanying mushrooms were slightly tough and the chips were ridiculously hot. I also failed to taste any garlic in the garlic butter. The accompanying green salad was somewhat tired and miserable looking. Apart from the food the cafe itself is starting to look tired and somewhat grotty and it just didn't feel clean!! On the plus side the staff were lovely. At 18.50 a head including a glass of wine, I suppose you get what you pay for...or do you!!!

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ely gastro bar
Grand Canal Square, (Next to the Bord Gais Energy Theatre), Dublin 2, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin

I decided to give Ely a 2nd chance and on this occasion i was more then happy with both the meal and service. We were a party of 2 and for starters had the carpaccio, again, and the Ely tart. The carpaccio again lived up to previous experiences and the tart didn't fail to impress. For mains we had the lamb which yet again was a little on the pink side what is it with the chef!! and the cod and chips which was a tasty version of exactly what it said on the tin, nothing spectacular. The service this time was significantly better than my previous experience, however the waiters need to stay on top of what is actually available in their restaurant. Cheers to the mulled wine which was one of the best i've had in a long time. Would definitely consider giving Ely a third time lucky chance and hopefully the next time it will tick all the boxes.

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The Dining Room
35 Dawson Street, City Centre South, Dublin

We were a party of 3 and all went for the set menu which at 25euro is an absolute bargain. For starters we had two terrines and the citrus cured salmon. The terrines didn't quite hit the spot for either party but that may have been down to individual taste. There was an overwhelming tast of a spice that quite frustratingly I still can't put my finger on!! However combined with the prune compote I thought it was very good. I went for the salmon and it was fantastic. An unusual combination with melon and sesame oil, it worked beautifuly. For mains we had the rabbit, sea bream and duck. All of which I would definately recommend and definately have again. I had the confit of duck leg which was cooked to perfection. The fat had been rendered down leaving a perfectly crispy skin. The meat itself fell off the bone and my only complaint was that I could have eaten twice the amount!! It was served with mash, carrots and pickled celeriac- I think- whatever it was it was fab. the rabbit was again cooked beautifully and the gnocchi parisienne which accompanied it were light and flavoursome. The sea bream again, was a fish cooked to perfection, although my friend would have prefared the skin to be slightly crispier. My only complaint with the main dishes is that they are served in a large pasta bowl type of thing which made cutting the joints of meat difficult at times, I would rather it had been served on a flat plate. For deserts we had the chocolate pot, the lemon & lime posset and the banana with passion friut caramel. The winner here was definatley the posset, it was so light and refreshing. The chocolate pot was fantastic but I was somewhat disappointed with my banana. Although the passion fruit caramel was a thing of genius, In my opinion the desert would be better served warm. Overall a fantastic experience, with attentive and professional staff. With a couple of beers, a cocktail and a bottle of the house Pino the total was 140 including service.

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The Fern House Cafe at Avoca Kilmacanogue
Avoca, Kilmacanogue, Wicklow

After a very high recommendation from a friend my family went to Fern House cafe for lunch this afternoon. We were a party of 6 and tried a variety of the dishes. For starters we had the carpaccio of beef and the calamari. The latter was cooked perfectly but the carpaccio, though well cooked and generous in its portion size was under-seasoned and definitely benefited from the accompanying rocket and parmesan. Following a 45min wait the mains eventually arrived. We had the pork curry, which my Mum reported was the best curry she had eaten in a long time!! We also had the calamari, the bacon and cabbage,the sea bass, the pasta ravioli with asparagus filling and the tuna steak on cous cous. The bacon and calamari dishes were both good, cooked and seasoned well. The sea bass was excellent, the fish was beautifully cooked and the tomato based crust complimented it perfectly. The ravioli was good, but only good and the seared tuna steak, which was my meal, was a disaster! The tuna was obviously frozen and as oppose to being seared was completely overcooked and tasteless. The cous cous must have been rehydrated using water instead of a stock and then smothered with oil and a couple of edamame beans and scallions thrown in. The overwhelming flavour was oil and not even the salsa verde, which again tasted predominately of oil could save it!! I was beyond disappointed. For deserts we shared the crumbles, the gooseberry fool and the creme brulee. The pick of the bunch was the brulee but would have been so much better if it has been hot. The fool was simply gooseberry compote mixed with double cream and sugar...not great and the crumbles were only ok. We had read the menu to say they were served with custard, when none arrived and we enquired we were told it was in the crumble..10 gold stars for the person who finds it!! Though the venue was beautiful, the service was too slow and the food overall mediocre. Unfortunately I will not be returning!!

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Le Petit Cochon
Glasthule Road, Sandycove, Dublin

I went to Tribes last Saturday night for my birthday dinner and it was a succes from start to finish. We were a party of 7 and between us pretty much sonsumed most of the menu!! Starters of duck liver parfait, cream of onion soup, black pudding with apple and red onion, tea smoked breast of duck salad and goujons of lemon sole were all tried, tested and thoroughly enjoyed. Not a morsel left on any of the plates. For mains three of the party went for the fillet steak, each were cooked to perfection and served with the right amount of chunky chips. The sea bream looked light and summery and I'm advised tasted fantastic. The hake was beautifully cooked and last but by no means least my lamb. What can I say but melt in the mouth and full of flavour. My only complaint was I wished I had been hungrier as I couldn't finish it all!! We had brought our own dessert - one of my mums infamous coffee sponges YUM!! - but the restaurant very nicely presented it on a decorated plate and following the obligitory and suitably mortifying round of Happy Birthday we all tucked in. The staff were polite, professional and very helpful. The only, only gripe I would have was the restaurant was like a sauna and on a number of occasions I had to hold the front door open to get some air in, a door stop was desperately needed!! All in all with a dozen various drinks the bill came to 245euro including service. Money well spent, I will definately be going back to Tribes!!

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L'Officina by Dunne & Crescenzi (Kildare)
Kildare Chic Outlet Shopping Village, Kildare, Kildare Town, Kildare

This was my second time in this restaurant and it will definately be my last. I had been unimpresssed with my first visit a couple of months ago but decided to give it another chance. I went there for lunch, it was quite busy which I gather is the norm here. I would have expected the service to be quicker given the small army of waitresses they had running about. We got the bruchetta with peppers, a parma ham panini and two lattes. Not too difficult an order....or was it. The coffees arrived lukewarm and about 15mins later the food eventually arrived. I had he wrong bruschetta but was that hungry I ate it none the less. Granted it was fresh and flavoursome but it's not hard to do a good one!! We explained that the coffees were not hot and asked for a jug of hot milk to heat them up. The milk arrived...lukewarm..again...So we asked for it to be heated further. At this point the waitress gave a slight grunt and tested the jug as if in disbelief that it wasn't hot, cheek of her!!...again it came back, slightly warmer. How difficult can it be to get a HOT cup of coffee in this place. I know the use of a barista is considered a skill but anyone can surely put milk in a microwave and heat it up!! To add insult to injury we were charged for the extra jug of milk. 25euro for two sandwiches and coffees was a total rip off. the best thing about this place is the produce for sale in the deli part and even that is totally overpriced!!

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Nautilus
28 Silver Strand, Ballycotton, Cork

After staying in Inn By The Harbour on Sun & Mon night last and seeing the restaurant closed, presumably due to lack of business, I was surprised to find that I should have booked a table on the Tues night as the place was full!! Fortunately they were able to accomodate us by seating us in the bar. The restaurant itself is nothing to look at really and could certainly do with a couple of table cloths for evening dining. However, after eating there I now see why it is so popular. There were two of us and for starters we shared the tandori chicken skewer with raita dip. The chicken was tender and full of flavour. For the mains I had the soup of the day with home made brown bread. The soup was sweet pea and mint and it was fantastic. Neither flavour overwhelmed the other but complimented each other beautifully. We also had the hake which was well cooked and came with potato and baby asparagus. For dessert we got the cheese board and the creme brulee. There could have been a bit more cheese but as I'm a cheese fiend I'm rarely happy with the quantity on a cheese board. The creme brulee was the best we have had in a long time. At last, someone with the guts to serve a good sugar caramel, the real 'crack through with your spoon' type ....watch the fillings!! Along with a fairly decent bottle of red the bill came to 68euro. The staff were all helpful and polite so no complaints there. If I'm ever passing through that neck of the woods I will definately eat here again.

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Ballymaloe House
Shanagarry Midleton, Midleton, Cork

We recently treated ourselves to dinner at Ballymaloe House and it lived up to all our expectations. We arrived shortly before the dining room opened and after a short walk around the immediate gardens we went for a pre-dinner drink in the bar/drawing room. I was immediately impressed with the staff. All were friendly, polite and professional. We were given ample opportunity to peruse the menu and eventually gave our order from the comfort of the couch. After being escourted to our table the first course arrived swiftly. We had the consomme with julienne veg and the mint and lettuce soup. Both were spectacular. Clean and light soups with amazing fresh flavours. Second course were mussles and smoked bacon with grubeen salad. The best mussles I've had in a very long time. For mains we had the goose and the lamb. Both meats were perfectly cooked. Moist, flavourfull and in the case of the lamb perfectly pink for my liking. The seasonal veg, tasted of fresh summer veg, superb!! We took a well appreciated short break before the cheese trolley arrived and then completey overindulged in a number of the various smoked, goats and sheeps cheeses offered. Another short break was then required before the desert trolley arrived. On the recommendation of one of the staff I tried the carabeen (seaweed) pudding. A new and very enjoyable experience. We also tried the Meringue, the ice cream, mixed berry compote and the winner on the night the warm chocolate desert, think of the best hot chocolate fondant and multipy by 100%, devine!! Just when you think you can't fit in another bite along come the coffee and home made petit fours. The 5 course meal, it's actually 6 with tea/coffee, will set you back 70euro per head, but it's worth every single well earned penny!! Overall a thoroughly enjoyable visit, I couldn't praise it enough. A visit to Ballymaloe House should definately be on the "Must 100" list.

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Fallon and Byrne
11-17 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2, City Centre South, Dublin

I have been to F&B's on a couple of occasions before and each time had the burger and each time enjoyed the experience. This time I opted for something different and I really wish I hadn't!! I should start by saying that the best part of the meal was the service and I couldn't fault any of the individuals we had dealings with. We were a party of two and for starters had the crab and the scallops. I had opted for the crab and definately got the raw deal. After almost breaking my tooth on my initial bite I was somewhat tentative about the remainder. It was ok, but nothing special. The scallops on the other hand were perfectly cooked and flavourfull. For the mains we had the hake and the pork belly. Our initial choice of John Dory was not on the menu although it is still being advertised on their web page. I have never had hake before and therfore had no ideal what to expect. The presentation was lovely but that's unfortunately as good as it gets. The hake tasted of nothing, which, despite my lack of knowledge of this particular fish, I'm sure is not the norm. The accompanying potato and veg tasted overwhelmingly of olive oil and something else which I couldn't quite put my finger on but came back to haunt me for the remainder of my night!! Pork belly was well cooked with a lovely crackling however, again the meat had little if any seasoning and the overwhelming flavour was butter. I was trully disappointed with the whole event. Thankfully I was using my 'by one get one free' voucher so the meal overall was ok value. If I had been paying full price I would have been very upset. I think from here on in I'll stick to their cafe downstairs which I know is always great food at considerably better value.

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WILDE
The Westbury, Grafton Street, Dublin 2, City Centre South, Dublin

I finally used some of my well earned menu pages to treat a friend to dinner at Wilde. We had an early booking and were only one of 4 tables on our arrival. However the placed slowly but surely filled up during the course of the meal. We both had the set menu. For starters we both had the carpaccio of beef. It was absolutely devine, tender but with enough bite so you actually knew you were eating something and not the wafer thin slices you ofter get that just leaves you wanting and wondering if you actually just ate anything!! The flavour of the beef with the horseradish cream and creamed celeriac was perfect. I ordered the pork belly with the blackpudding mash and cabbage, if I had an artistic bone in my body I would describe it as a symphony of flavours....however I don't, so I'll just say it was YUM!!!. The pork was melt in the mouth tender and both veg were perfectly seasoned. My friend had the seabream with leeks and chorizo and again it was mouthwatering and bursting with flavour. For deserts we had the creme brulee and the orange and lime tart. Though not a huge fan of deserts I thoroughly enjoyed trying both. A couple of coffees and some complimentary homemade florentines later and we were well and trully satisfied. The staff were attentive and professional but I would expect no less from such an establishment. For just under 35euro including service charge I would consider this an absolute bargain. And what topped it off...the complimentary pots of salt/pepper steak seasoning, presented in a little goddy bag on our way out...I easily pleased!!

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Diep le Shaker
55 Pembroke Lane, (Off Pembroke Street), Dublin 2, City Centre South, Dublin

Like any foodie worth their salt I had naturally heard of Diep le Shaker but unfortunately had never been. So armed with my Menupages free glass of wine voucher I decided to rectify this. I was running about 20mins late but despite it being a busy lunch service this wasn't a problem for the very plesant hostess. The restaurant is bright and airy and a great place to peple watch if your on the second floor balcony!! For starters we had the calamari and the prawn salad. The prawns were declious and the salad fresh very moorish. Personaly I would have liked another prawn as 2, relatively decent sized ones, halved, was not quite enough. The calamari on the other hand was plentyful and cooked beautifully. Again, one minor adjustment would be the temperature they were served at..burnt tongue syndrome!! For mains we both had the duck leg curry with cherry tomatoes, pineapple and lychee in the sauce. This was by far the star of the show. Absolutely fantastically 5star food. The duck was cook perfectly and the sauce was to die for..im not joking!! I could happily eat that dish everyday for the forseeable future, it genuinely brough a smile to both our faces. Only one thing, between us not a lychee could be found, which was dissappointing. I presume the sauce is made in a large pot and dished accordingly. I'm not faulting the process as it delivered in flavour but if you're going to put a specific ingredient on the menu you should make sure it actually arrives out on the plate. However, this did not take from the dish at all as I said before it was fantastic. For dessert we had the creamed rice and ginger pudding and the sorbets. They were out of my original request of the lemon & lime parfait but the chef did offer to substatute this with a chocolate brownie if I so wished. I stuck with the sorbets and was very glad I had, they were the perfect end to a lovely lunch. Diep le shaker, it was a long time coming but well worth the wait!!!

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Ananda
Dundrum Town Centre, Dublin 14, Dundrum, Dublin

After a number of great reviews in various magazines I decided it was time I gave Ananda its opportunity to live up to the hype. I was not disappointed. Every thing about it was fantastic. From the funky decor to the attentive staff I can't fault the place. We availed of the early bird menu and had the potato cakes and the chicken flavoured with mace and cardamon to start. Both were sublime,with a perfect portion sized. The potato cakes with the date chutney was particularly special. For mains we had the guinea fowl and the mangalorian fish curry. Again, both were spectacular and the rice and nan that came with it were fresh and flavourfull. They had kindly replaced one of our plain nans with a peswari which was sweet and complemented the curry perfectly. Total cost was 50 euro including service and worth every penny of it. I can't fault Ananda at all and will definately be paying it another visit in the not too distant future!!!

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Benito's
46-47 Castle Street, South Co. Dublin , Dalkey, Dublin

I visited Benitos with family last night and it pains me to say I will definately NOT be going back any time soon. On arrival after being seated it took at least 10mins for us even to be offered some water. We were not told about any of the specials of the day and the one thing that we did order was no longer on the menu. In my opinion if it isn't available it should not be advertised, it was, after all, the dish that had originally drawn me to the restaurant. We all had pasta dishes, none of which were memorable. The price for 3 mains and a half bottle of wine was 50euro approx. My first time in Benitos a couple of years ago was completely disappointing, I was hoping it would redeem itself this time....unfortunately it did not!!

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Avoca Handweavers
Kilmacanogue, Bray, Bray, Wicklow

A group of 5 of us went for lunch in Avoca Handweavers mid week and each and every one of us had a thoroughly tasty time!! Arriving at just after 12 we got in just before the rush- about 1/3 of the restaurant was already full. Between us we had the lasagne served with garlic bread and rocket salad, the roulade of cream cheese and roasted peppers, a tart of sundried tomato basil and parmesan cheese and the fish pie. Everything but the lasagnes' were served with three salads....and this is always the difficult part, which three of these fantastic salads shall I have today. On this ocassion I opted for the brocolli and feta cheese, the tomato salad and the cous cous. For the first time EVER i actually managed to finish my plate, usually I take a doggy bag home and have it for my tea!! The lasagnes' and fish pie all went down a treat, the roulade was the least popular but my tart was fantastic. Not only was the filling full of flavour but the pastry base was so light it just melted in your mouth. Despite all party members groaning at the effort to finish our meals we somehow managed to find just a little more space for two deserts of a lemon/lime tart and a chocolate roulade. The tart was sharp, surprisingly light and a perfect way to finish the lunch. I'm not a fan of roulade type deserts but this one was moist and for once the cream didn't overpower any other flavour trying to make it presence know on the plate. A good taste of chocolate rang through. Avoca is not cheap but given that a lunch meal can fill you u for the rest of the day I'd say it's pretty good value. I've been to Avoca a couple of dozen or so times now and it definately won't be my last :)

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The Cake Cafe
62 Pleasants Place, Dublin 2, City Centre South, Dublin

I had heard so many positive reviews about the cake shop and finally I had the perfect opportunity to try some of their delicacys. I ordered 3boxes of the mini muffins, cleverly served in egg boxes, for a birthday lunch. I was delighted when I picked them up and the restaurant was highly ammused when I asked if they could be brought out at the end of our lunch as the Birthday cake. We were a party of 10 and everyone appreciated the novelty of the egg boxes. Unfortunately that was the best part of these mini muffins. Each and every one of them, with the exception of ONE were overcooked, burnt, dry and tastless. By some twist of fate I managed to get the only decent one in the collection which was lovely and i didn't realise how bad all the others had been untill I tried a 2nd one. It was then that I realised that the entire batch were burnt. At the same time I also purchased 4 regular muffins for my family and they were very unimpressed with these also. It would appear that all these muffins went in to too hot an oven for far too long and the results were disasterous. I definately will not be trying these muffins again and to be honest it has put me off trying anything else on the menu. I mean if they can't get their signature dish right, what's the rest like. I'm beyond dissappointed!!

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Dillingers
47 Ranelagh Village, Dublin 6, Ranelagh, Dublin

After reading the review in Food & Wine magazine I decided I had to try out Dillingers. After perusing the lunch menu on line and much debating I finally decided on a two course lunch of devilled egs with parma ham and asparagus for starters and the crab linguini for my main. Unfortunately on arrival at the restaurant I descovered that the menu had been changed and neither of these were on it on this occasion. And this was the ONLY disappointing element of the lunch. I settled on the gravalax with fennel and orange salad and a dressing of mint yogurt. It was summer on a plate, light, flavourfull and just the right amount. My partner had the clam chowder and although she was expecting something slightly different - the broth is more of a clear soup than the usual thick chowder style - the taste and abundance of fish and veg did not disappoint. For mains we had the salmon and the pork belly. The fish was cooked perfected and served with lovely seasonal and perfectly cooked veg. The pork belly came with a baby potato and egg salad, thankfully not the sandwich filler type but instead a very simple soft boiled egg halved and dressed with some oil. The salsa verde cut throught the richness and creamyness of the pork. The pork itself was without doubt the best pork belly I have ever tasted and I was surprised at how much meat there actually was on the cut. I know the fat adds flavour but I tired of playing hunt the lean meat amid a sea of white, often not very appealing, fat!! For desert we had the cheesecake and the creme brulee, and in a word YUM. With two homemade lemonades, a coffee and a tea the lunch came to a very reasonable 65euro before tip. I can safely say I have nothing bad to say about Dillingers and I will definately be going back for more. :)

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Roly Saul The Restaurant
The Mill House, Dundrum Town Centre, Dublin 14, Dundrum, Dublin

Went for an impromptu early dinner in Roly Saul. The resaurant itself is fabulous, I loved the mix of the modern and old house feel. Unfortunately the building & decor were one of the highlights of the night. We shared a started of endive, poached pear, caramalised wallnuts and a sprinkling of a mild blue cheese. The pears were well cooked but if you don't like cinimon, dont do there. We could have done with a few more walnuts, which were fantastic and moorish, and considerably less of the salad leaves. Endive leaves by themselves would have been better. Over all not bad though. For mains we had the linguine with prawns and the pork belly. Prawns were overcooked and altogether to fishy. The flavour unfortunately overpowered the otherwise well cooked linguine. The pork belly was the star of the night. It was my first time trying it as I'm usually put off by the amount of fat. However this was easily avoided, if you wanted to, and the remaining meat was melt in the mouth soft and beautifully seasoned. This was served with savoy cabbage and a potato cake but much to my disappointment they had combined the two in a colcannon type effect which left it altogether too salty and the potato surprisingly dry. With one fairly non-descript expresso the bill totalled 50euro, including tip. I couldn't fault the service, the manager was friendly and welcoming and the staff were attentive and professional. Not sure if Roly Saul is having teething problems, the potential is there they just aren't quite hitting the mark just yet.

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Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill
51 Dawson Street, Dublin 2, Dawson Street, Dublin

My sister had claimed that Marco's had the best steaks in town....and on this occasion she may have been right!! I visited Marco's last Sat and by what was being served all around me I know I was in for a treat. For starters we had the kipper pate and the carpaccio. While the pate was very tasty the carpaccio totally stole the show. Sliced so thin it was melt in the mouth devine. For mains we both had the fillet steaks, one with oysters and the other with escargot!! I had never tried snails and really quite enjoyed them, the texture was somewhere between a slightly tougher muscle and a piece of well cooked liver. Having no frame of reference as to whether this was ok or not I tucked in. The flavour is unique and honestly not comparable to anything else out there, but I'd swear I got a hint of grass!! The two steaks, one rare and one medium rare were both cooked to perfection, neither of us left a morsel. The accompanying chunky chips were pretty much that, well cooked and seasoned. For dessert we had the chocolate pot and the creme brulee. The brulee was fantastic, light and creamy with a lovely crunchy caramelised topping. The chololate pot, I felt, was just that bit too big. If it had been a lighter consistancy it would have been perfect but this was more like a rich ganache and the accompanying shortbread biscuits, though lovely in themselves, didn't exactly lighten the experience. With a bottle of wine and a couple of coffees it came to under 150 euro with the tip which, though not cheap, I felt was worth every penny!! We found all the staff helpful without being overbearing. The only downside of the restaurant was I felt it was just slightly too dark and they definately have crammed in too many tables into the place. I will definately be back to Marco's!!!

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Dunbrody House Arthurstown
Arthurstown, New Ross, Wexford

Being a total foodie, I had naturally heard of Dunbrody House. So it was with some anticipation that I recently visited the house to try some of the infamous Wexford delights.We elected to eat in the bar and the menu, thought not to big definately had enough choice to satisfy even the fussiest of diners. We started with a crab and prawn salad and the Chicken liver pate. The salad was fresh, well seasoned and not overburdened with their spicy rosemarie style dressing. The pate was served in what looked like a glass candle holder of sorts with a mini copper pot filled with little toasts on the side. It looked great, and thankfully tasted wonderful. For mains we both had the steak, and unfortunately this was the lowlight of the meal. Our steaks, one rare and one medium rare came out medium and just under medium. I should have said something but in true Irish style didn't bother and said it was all lovely to the very attentive waitress!! They were, however, seasoned very well with a lovely salty chargrilled flavour coming through. The side of chips came artistically served in a cone of newspaper, which was fun. For desert we shared the frozen fruits topped with warm white chocolate. Again I was somewhat dissappointed, the chocolate was cold and therefore had not managed to soften some of the fruits enough. I have had this dessert before elsewhere and when done correctly it is to die for. I would sugges it is not served in a glass but a flat bottomed bowl with a side of the hot chocolate sauce to pour over yourself....pure theatre! Over all I did enjoy the experience but the most impressive element of the night was not the food but the hostess and her attentive, yet not overbearing, hostessing. She was surperb, and doing everything from lighting the fires, to taking drinks and food orders. I'm not sure what the cookery school is like but she could certainly give classes in hostessing!!

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Alexis Bar And Grill
17 / 18 Patrick Street, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin

I am a huge fan of Alexis and again this evening it hit the spot. We were a party of 3 and between us had the risotto and ham terrine for starters, the haddock, beef and mushroom pie and pork for mains and finished with the apple crumble and steamed butterscotch pudding. The risotto was, as always, beautifully seasoned and cooked to perfection. And the ham, which is a newer addition to the early bird menu was flavoursome and fresh. The haddock and beef mains were both beautiful but I did take humbridge with the pork. the menu stipulated a cut of meat which the diner would be forgiven for presuming was a cutlet or the like NOT belly of pork, which a very specific cut, not to everyones taste. As it happens I do actually enjoy a good piece of pork belly but unfortunately this was not it. The skin was not crispy enough and the underbelly was slightly too crispy, a reversal of roles and it would have been perfect. The diner redeemed itself with the desserts, especially the steamed pudding which was superb and a welcome addition to the menu. Over all another 5 star rating for Alexis!!

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Bar Italia
26 Blooms Lane , Lower Ormond Quay, City Centre North, Italian Quarter, Dublin

I recently went with two friends to the Bar Italia in the IFSC. I shall not be returning...EVER!! For starters we had the tomato and the smoked salmon with gorgonzola bruschettas and an anti pasta of roasted mediteranean veg. I always get concerned when food arrives almost too quickly, and my fears were quickly realised. The toasts were too cold and far too hard and obviously been sitting out for some time. There would have been no flavour off the tomatoes had it not been for the balsamic vinegar and the TINY smear of the gorgonzola was lost to over powering salmon. The vegetable dish was flavoursome but I too can open a jar of pre-prepared veg and make it look considerably more appetising!! For the mains we got two fillet steaks, one with the red wine and juniper reduction and one with the porcini mushroom sauce. I think the chef may have been helping himself to too much italian wine during service. The red wine reduction was so reduced it was rediculously sharp and completely inedible. I would never have believed that you could make a mushroom flavourless...it appears I was wrong. My steak was swimming in a mushroom coloured, non-flavoured, over creamy sauce. Again despite attacking it with salt and pepper and making a valant attempt to remove the offending sauce I found that I just could not stomach the steak, which also had completely no flavour. The accompanyments to the steaks was an extremely potent medly of roasted cherry tomatoes, aubergines and courgetes, again too tart for their own good and some semi burnt, non-flavoursome roast potatoes. The third member of our group had a pizza and this was by far the best dish of the day.....not too hard!! We had two very univentful desserts and a couple of pretty good coffees. The bill, with a bottle of rose and a beer came to 124 euro. Complete robbery. No stars for this little italian gem!!

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The Real Gourmet Burger - Dun Laoghaire
The Pavilion, South Dublin, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin

It pain's me to say it but the Real Gourmet Burger has been going steadily down hill over the past couple of months. I went last night with a friend and I had a feta salad - the summer salad which I had originally ordered was not available as they are changing the menu - and some chips. Can't get that too wrong really, however my salad was just an over sized plate of dry and tasteless salad leaves with a couple of bits of feta and tomato for decoration it seemed and the chips were both overcooked, soggy and pretty tasteless. My friend had ordered the cheeseburger which had far too much grizzle in it and was, over all, average. On the plus side the staff were friendly and helpful. I used to be quite a regular here but I don't think I'll be rushing back.

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Campo de' Fiori Bistro Market
1 Albert Avenue, Bray, Co. Wicklow, Bray, Wicklow

I paid my second visit to Campo de Fiori with a friend last night, and I can safely say it won't be my last!! We shared the vegetarian antipasta to start and everything was fresh and wonderfuly flavoursome!! I had spagetti with muscles, clams and rosted cherry tomatoes. I could possibly have done with a few more clams and a couple less muscles. The flavour overall was fantastic and the spagetti was cooked to a perfect al dente. My friend got her 'usual' spicy spagetti and as 'usual' it didn't disappoint. For dessert we shared the cinamon panna cotta which is a new addition to the menu and was sublime. The texture of the panna cotta was rich and creamy but remained light on the palate. Just the right amount of cinamon to give it a kick without being overbearing. A couple of lattes later and we were a totally content couple of diners. The bill came to an extremely good value for money 70euro!! And we've already planned our next visit :)

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