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Tag Archives: restaurant

Kimchi Restaurant, Hophouse, Parnell Street

8 May

As the review tab of the blog will tell you, I’m working my way through Dublin 1’s Asian eateries. Having spent a considerable amount of time in the north inner city in years gone by, it is thoroughly refreshing to see it with a new lease of life and this is something I never tire of. I had heard good things about Kimchi and having not eaten much Korean food before/the prospect of pickled vegetables featuring heavily- I was eager to try it.

Myself and a friend arrived to a fairly busy restaurant for midweek and took our seats. It is an interesting set up. There are Korean bits of artwork on the wall and a few of these proved to be somewhat unsettling to my dining companion. We started with four chicken dumplings which were very tasty. Crisp and with a delicate interior, they were heavily flavoured and we were just sorry there weren’t a few more on the plate.

Chicken with some lurking pickles...

Chicken with some lurking pickles…

I opted for Dakgalbi. Pan fried chicken, in a chilli sauce. It was served with three ‘side dishes’ and some cabbage kimchi as well as some steamed rice.  The side dishes consisted of some fried tofu, pickled bean sprouts and pickled cucumber. The cucumber was by far the best, providing a sharp bite of contrast to the chicken. The sprouts didn’t benefit from whatever treatment they had received and myself and tofu had a falling out some years ago, and any hope of a rekindling of that relationship is unfortunately misplaced. I enjoyed the dish, but it was a little one-dimensional after a while.

The other main at the table was Bulgogi, which thanks to a helpful asterisk on the menu informed us it was a signature dish. It was a dish of thinly sliced beef, and had a nice flavour (soy sauce and Korean seasoning.)  My partner in dining felt it lacked any wow factor, and wasn’t sure the side dishes were in any way connected to it.

With 2 beers and some basic service the bill came to €42 ish. Kimchi is not bad, but nothing special.

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The Hot Stove, Parnell Square

26 Mar

Dublin has a lot of new restaurants. They are sprouting up everywhere. One such example is The Hot Stove on Parnell Square. It’s in a basement on the square, on the Rotunda entrance side.

Off the bat, the room didn’t appeal to me. It was nearly painfully bright. Personally I do better in soft lighting. The white walls, coupled with bright lights, meant that if you were there with the in-laws it could feel like an authentic interrogation chamber. On the plus side- the photos of the food turned out really well. Nicely lit.

We were greeted warmly and our soggy outer garments were taken, it was biblically wet that day. Other waiters circled, and gave some solicited and unsolicited advice re: the menu. The wine recommended was towards the pricier end of the spectrum, and coupled with one of the more expensive dishes on the menu, would be quite pleasant for my taste-buds I was assured, but perhaps not for my wallet. Additionally when we were asked did we want a side dish and the duck fat fries at €5 were recommended, we skipped them and went for the crushed artichokes. We were then asked *again* did we want fries. Up-sell tastic. Apart from that the service was attentive and friendly throughout.

An amuse-bouche of parsnip soup, parsley pesto and chorizo was exactly what we needed to start our defrost from the night outside and was very pleasant. Breads, one home-made and one from the Paris Bakery nearby were lovely and served with in-house churned butter.

I started with the seared mackerel. A nice piece of seared mackerel, the rilette was a little unremarkable, but it was with a crunchy and fresh fennel and apple salad. The cube of apple jelly, added nothing to the dish as it lacked any discernible flavour. The confirmed foodie, again my partner in dining went for the oxtail raviolo. The filling was flavoursome and unctuous but I thought the pasta was a little under, but she reckoned it had just been overworked.

Rabbit and some glare

Rabbit and some glare

Mains- I went for the rabbit. It was seasoned nicely, but a little over, and the confit cannelloni was quite rubbery. The lentils it came with were very tasty. My companion’s hake was a nice dish, served with black olive gnocchi and salsify. The salsify was delicious, and cooked perfectly, however overall it was agreed the dish lacked seasoning. The side of crushed Jerusalem artichokes was actually the dish of the night. Wonderful texture, and had bags of flavour.

For dessert I was served a perfectly cooked chocolate fondant. I didn’t like the orange-blossom sorbet, it reminded me of a Vitamin C cordial I was force-fed as a child. Herself got a rhubarb crumble- which was her favourite dish of the night. The rhubarb had just been cooked enough that it fell apart so retained a very pleasing bit of bite.

All in all with a bottle of wine and two double espresso, it came in at €121. There is great potential in The Hot Stove. The menu reads well. They just need to turn down the lights, turn up some of the flavours and cooking- and stop the unnecessary levels of up sell.

Pichet, Trinty Street, Dublin 2

2 Apr

Apologies for the lack of posting in recent weeks- I had the small matter of some exams to do. They are now over and back to blogging!

 

I finally got to eat in Pichet last night. Since it has opened I have heard nothing but good things, and often from people who are tough to please.

 

Upon arriving the staff really made an effort to welcome you to the restaurant, a little touch but it made us feel that we weren’t just another cover to them. The restaurant surroundings are very pleasant, and made for an enjoyable setting for the evening. The early bird menu ended up enticing us all, but I must mention that at something € mid-forty region the tasting menu could be superb value also.  Bread was served with balsamic and olive oil, which I always appreciate as a non butter-eater.

 

I started with the terrine, which had a wonderfully soft texture and was packed full of flavour. It was served with a nice wedge of toasted bread and a few salad leaves. The fig purée provided a nice hint of sharpness to the terrine.  My dining companions went for the spring onion risotto (which they said was delicious- and was quite a generous portion). My better half went for the celeriac velouté, which came with a tortelloni of short back ribs, which apparently was also very enjoyable.

 

Two of us opted for the short back ribs for our main course. They were incredibly tender, and came with a horseradish mousseline and some wilted spinach topped with some superb onion rings. They worked very well together, but I would have liked more of the mousseline and spinach.  The roast chicken was the other choice at the table and was incredibly flavoursome and succulent.

 

Desert was by far the stand-out course. Two of us opted for the white chocolate mouse, which came with raspberries in syrup, cubes of raspberry jelly and the best sorbet I have tasted. It was also raspberry. This redeemed my faith in sorbets after a hideous raspberry sorbet experience recently. You will hear about that soon. The other desert that was chosen was salt caramel ice cream with various accompaniments. Approving noises were made with regards to this also.

 

Dinner was rounded off with a very good espresso. A nice touch to round off the very strong service was being asked did we want our coffees with or after desert. It is nice not to get chased out of a restaurant at an early bird sitting. Equally when we enquired about sides with our mains, they said we would probably be fine- rather than the nearly obligatory up-sell.  With regards to the wine-list, there is some very good value.

 

You won’t go wrong in Pichet. The food and service are very strong.  It certainly lived up to its reputation. I look forward to returning.

 

 

El Paso Howth returns

28 Feb

Howth has regained one of its culinary institutions in recent weeks. El Paso is back, in a different guise, as it now resides above The Waterside pub.

I had a quick meal here the other night and hence I think it would be unfair to write too long a post, both on restaurant and reader. I had a chicken burrito and my dining companion had potato skins. The burrito (€15.50) was fine, tasty, served with a good dollop of relish and sour cream. The accompanying portion of rice was a little on the small side (clearly two scoops from a potato/ice-cream scoop) but tasted as promised of lime and coriander to be fair. However the chicken was a little stringy and there wasn’t much else in the burrito apart from re-fried beans. The potato skins were eaten and were fine apparently, but at €6.55 were a smidge pricey.

Staff were very friendly I have to say, while they seemed a little understaffed- a few people had to wait a while to be seated etc. they really were very pleasant.

Wine wise, it was nice to see a glass of white being served for under a fiver.

Given it was a Sunday evening, the place was very busy- which is always great to see. The décor is bright and there was a buzz about the place. Would I rush back? Probably not- I like a bit more bang for my buck in a €15 burrito, but overall it seems like a nice setting for casual dining and the staff are good. If they tweak the food- I would be back sooner. I wish them every success in their new home.

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