Tag Archives: restaurant review

A new (neon) gem on Camden Street

15 May

In recent weeks, I have been on a quest to try Dublin’s newest eateries. I had grown tired of the usual suspects in town, and I took to twitter to seek tips from you nice people. It was very promptly suggested by a friend that I give one such newcomer a try.

I was meeting another friend for lunch in town and so we headed to Neon (He wanted to get a mention if I wrote about this- Hi Mark.) Upon entering Neon, you are greeted with a very sleek restaurant, with bench seating and counters at one end, behind which is an open kitchen (something I always enjoy seeing.)

We took a table while perusing the menus, on the advise of the very friendly staff.  I opted for a Red Curry with prawns and Mark opted for Chicken, chilli and cashew nuts.  The lunch deal is great value: a main and soft-drink for €9.95, and comes with a free DIY ice-cream cone (They have a mini 99-stlye machine in the corner!)

The dishes were served in takeaway containers, and for those of you who like eating from more refined receptacles there are dishes on every table. Sitting on top of my very generous portion of curry were a number of prawns. I wondered for a moment whether there would be any more lurking in the sauce beneath. I am delighted to say that my scepticism was misplaced, it was truly crustacean-filled, delivering a nice amount of heat. Mark was similarly pleased with his dish.

After just about finishing our lunches, we toddled over to the ice-cream machine to round off what was an excellent meal. Neon’s food, staff and surrounds are all likely to impress you- oh and the ice-cream probably will too.

 

Is there anywhere else in Dublin you think I should try?

 

 

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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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