Tag Archives: cured salmon

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.

Roast, Ballsbridge

12 Aug

Roast is a restaurant in Ballsbridge, nestled above Crowe’s pub. If I am ever in the area, I like to pop in, as a good friend and ex colleague, Matt Dillon is one of the owners. Hence this is not a review- as I didn’t pay for this meal- I want to make that very clear at the outset. We had been invited over to Roast to celebrate another occasion, and I thought the food was most certainly worthy of a mention.

There will be no prizes for guessing what I ordered for starter. If there is cured salmon on the menu, cured salmon is what I shall order. It arrived with wasabi mayonnaise, pickled ginger with soy and sesame dressing. It was lovely. The flavours all meshed together effortlessly. I normally despise all things wasabi, but even the wasabi mayonnaise was gingerly dabbed onto the fish. My better half had the Goats Cheese Croquettes, which she really enjoyed.

I was torn for mains. The Daube of beef (Beef cheeks are marinated in thyme, garlic and red wine for 24 hours, they are then cooked at a low temperature for 12 hours before being pulled apart and shaped into the daube) was very tempting for obvious reasons.  I saw a lot of these leave the kitchen that night so I think I will try that on my return to Roast.

However I went with something else, the pork belly. It is cooked for 8 hours in duck fat. Pressed overnight, before being skinned (for crackling) and then pan roasted before serving. It’s really good. It is accompanied by a potato mousseline, crackling, savoy cabbage and a red wine sauce. The cabbage was still crunchy and had a lot of flavour. In addition, none of the elements on the plate detracted from the pork in any way, which was soft and tender. The crackling was so good ( apparently) I barely got to try it as my better half bravely volunteered to…. eat it for me. She had the chicken supreme, and really liked the accompanying cassoulet- which was very tangy.

For dessert I had a cheesecake (deconstructed), which after a large meal was a much nicer than a huge slab. Kate’s crème brûlée was the star of the meal as far as I was concerned. It was everything a crème brûlée should be. I have stopped ordering them in restaurants as they always seem to disappoint- but this was one of the good ones. Not too caramelised  on top, a custard just set to the right consistency. I equalized on this course for the crackling theft. I would love to have shown you photos of some of the courses- as it was all very pretty on the plate- however the lighting, which made for a wonderful atmosphere, was not so kind to photos of the food.

The service was good, but that’s hardly surprising I’m sure you’re saying. However I have called in for food unannounced several times since Roast opened and I can honestly say that I have always found the service consistently strong. The atmosphere in the room is really good at night and not too noisy. Some of the tables down the back against the wall are an excellent spot to dine when there are just 2 of you.  My advice- try Roast. Wander up those stairs above Crowe’s. You will be pleasantly surprised.

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