4 Lower Kilmacud Road
Phone: 01 212 2505
Suburbia, if you’re lucky, has an occasional neighbourhood restaurant that ticks the relevant local boxes without frightening the horses. Gotham South may be in Stillorgan, but there is absolutely nothing suburban about it at all.
It’s hard to imagine but this very cool, rather glamorous, family-friendly restaurant stands on the site of the original China Sichuan, one of Dublin’s culinary landmarks (now translated to Sandyford). It’s part of a small but remarkable restaurant empire created by David Barry and Jackie Keating, along with the Independent Pizza Company and Gotham Café in the city centre.
The same philosophy applies and a Woodstone oven is the centre piece of the open and busy kitchen, the source of some of the country’s best pizzas. David Barry was brave enough, when he started the Independent Pizza Company back in 1984, to use the simplest and the best formula: flour, water, yeast, salt and a touch of sugar. This is American style pizza, thin and crisp thanks to the intense bottom heat of the Woodstone oven. In other words, the way I like it.
But there’s much more to Gotham South than pizzas and this, along with the delightfully friendly, inclusive attitude of the team here, makes it a favourite destination for south Dublin families, many of whom come here before or after a visit to the nearby cinema. The early bird menu at Gotham South is celebrated throughout south Dublin; it is now the stuff of legend.
It’s a proper restaurant that feels intensely relaxed and laid back, thanks to exceptional service. There’s a complete absence of fuss, which is refreshing But there is an admirable fussiness, nay obsessional attention to detail, about sourcing ingredients. And that includes the wine selection, offering decent value and being a bit out of the normal run. That’s just part of slight quirkiness of Gotham South. A formula restaurant, it ain’t.
And what of the menu? Pizzas aside, there are Josper-grilled steaks with that distinctive smokiness and proper crust, a flavour-packed Moroccan lamb burger, zingy salads, sandwiches that are local legends at lunchtime, Mexican eggs for brunch and even a breakfast pizza that involves smoked bacon, chive sausage, poached egg and much more.
But I can see what you may be thinking. How can a restaurant manage to do so much and still be consistent? Well, the simple answer is that they do, even though it isn’t easy. There is a real sense of commitment here and a sense that they like making people – of all ages – happy. The bar to entry on my website is high and not many family-oriented restaurants make it. Gotham South does so with panache.
There’s an exceptionally cool bar that glows orange and dispenses cocktails to revive the jaded senses. In fact, the whole place looks cool, right down to presentation on the plate. And people of my age will be easily distracted by lots of framed Rolling Stone magazine covers, reminding them of their lost youth.
You have to wonder if suburbia deserves Gotham South. But one thing is certain, south Dublin is very lucky to have it.