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Tag Archives: chocolate tart

Making a Pig’s Ear of it on Nassau Street

13 Nov

I recently turned 25. I have come to the conclusion that life is practically over. I am sure within weeks, maybe even days, I will start to look haggard, forget things and refer to simpler times, “When I was your age…”

But before all that happens, I decided to celebrate with a few friends over the weekend in The Pig’s Ear on Nassau Street. I could only get a 9.30 booking but as we all had commitments earlier in the day it suited us to eat later.

Ham hock terrine

For starter I had a ham hock terrine which I very much enjoyed. It was served with a chopped hen’s egg and a nice piece of toast. It was a very pleasant dish, perhaps the terrine could have had a stronger flavour but it was a very clean plate returning to the kitchen. Another starter highlight was the cured salmon. It was served sliced slightly thicker than I have seen elsewhere and was delicious. Despite the cure you could still taste the salmon. It’s owner, a confirmed foodie, was very satisfied. Another hit was the Jerusalem Artichoke soup, which I also tried and while it isn’t something I would ordinarily order, it was very pleasant.

 

For mains I had the halibut, served with cauliflower and some potato in some sort of delicious citrusy dressing. There were also glazed sultanas on the plate and nuts. I really loved this dish, the fish was cooked nicely, there were wonderful contrasts on the plate, textures, sweet and sour notes. A real winner. The confirmed foodie had the venison and was very impressed with the celeriac it was served with. Others had the chicken, which looked very pretty. Reports suggest it was a little on the bland side for their tastes.

 

Desert was death by chocolate. I went for the warm chocolate tart. Myself and the confirmed foodie differed on the need for popping candy on it (I liked it-blame the fast disappearing child in me.) The tart had a rich, smooth filling on a good crust. Delicious.  Others opted for ice cream which was well received.

 

Unfortunately after a very pleasant meal, the evening took a bit of a turn. Only an hour and a half after ordering, the staff started a clear up in earnest. As we had our coffees, tables were moved around us, any wine glasses drained were whipped from the table seconds after putting them down, no fear of being asked would you like another drop. An unfinished water bottle was also removed from the table. While I appreciate people have homes to go to, if you take a 9.30 booking on a Saturday night- you should give them the time to enjoy their meal without feeling like an imposition. When kitchen staff came out and started chatting and joking with the waiters behind us, as coat stands and tables whirled by (literally), we called it a day and asked for the bill. The total (for 5) with wine came to €276, was the food worth it? Absolutely. Would I go back- not anytime soon.
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Saba, Clarendon Street

10 May

Saba, on Dublin’s Clarendon Street is a restaurant I have walked by hundreds of times in recent years but never had the opportunity to try. I remedied this situation recently when a few of us went for an Early Bird dinner. Well they call it their fixed price menu (available Sunday to Wednesday). Maybe they don’t like birds.

The front of house ably diffused a slight issue with the reservation (a problem on their end) and we were seated. The dining room was incredibly busy given that it was before 7 on a weekday. The service throughout the meal was fine. One thing that annoys me in restaurants is when as a group you ask for tap water and they don’t leave a jug. If they don’t for whatever reason, I at least expect that they will keep an eye on my water-glass to ensure it doesn’t run empty. At least not for two courses. It was only when we asked for them to be replenished that a mystical jug appeared. Overall the service was very prompt throughout- our drinks had barely landed when the starters arrived.

To start I had the Phla Salmon. Its presentation differed from what the menu promised.  To be fair, the salmon was cooked beautifully. It was moist and perfectly cooked which allowed the salmon to speak for itself. As an aside I have a soft spot for Clare Island Organic Salmon, as I used to sell kilo after kilo of the stuff in a previous life as a fishmonger, so I delight whenever it pops up on menus.

However the dish lacked a little punch from what was promised. The salmon was presented flaked in a bowl mixed with some chopped lemongrass and other fragrant mulch. The chilli sauce it came with provided some good punch- however I would have preferred to see the salmon served on the lettuce leaves rather than in the bowl as it would have allowed for the flaked salmon to be a little less wet.

For my main I had the Phuket noodles. A generous portion of noodles arrived, with a very acceptable number of prawns on board also. The promised holy basil, was not so present- and the dish was a little one-dimensional as a result. Given that Saba bills itself as ‘award-winning’ Thai food- I was hoping for vibrant, fragrant dishes, and in this regard it was a little flat. To be fair my dining companions  Phad Thai noodles were deliciously sweet and zingy so perhaps I erred in my choice of dishes.

Desert was a chocolate tart. The tart was fine, stock restaurant desert fare. The stand-out element was the pistachio ice cream. It was excellent. The name of the producer escapes me.

Overall for the price of the menu, it’s not bad value in Saba, given how busy it was, they are obviously doing something right.

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