1 Fade Street
Phone: 01 671 3708
Back in the days of the Boom, all kinds of restaurants, even truly atrocious ones, were packed. Wild-eyed punters, high on credit and consumerism, would say "The food is okay, but the atmosphere is brilliant..." Everything was fine, as long as the Pinot Grigio kept flowing.
In the midst of all this, when most restaurant menus came out of vacuum packs, L'Gueuelton opened in Fade Street. A rumour immediately started to the effect that the restaurant lacked a sign (as it still does) because nobody knew for certain how to spell the name.
l'Gueuleton (note the lower case l and the upper case G) created a stir. For a start, it didn't take bookings (this has changed; they are delighted to take your booking these days) and it did very good food of a sort that was not available elsewhere. Queues snaked down the street in those days and this acted as the best kind of advertisment.
In the meantime, the restaurant has doubled in size so queues are, generally speaking, a thing of the past but there may be a short wait for a table when the place is busy.
As the name implies, this is a French restaurant. At least, in some respects. There's occasionally a pithivier of snails and Roquefort and that's certainly Gallic. But, hang on a minute, a lot of the wines by the glass are Spanish (a smart move, as Spain offers great value these days) and isn’t Corleggy goat's cheese with beetroot not as Irish as Enda Kenny? Who cares? Here come the Toulouse sausages with lentils. Pass the mustard please.
That's the thing. There may be outstanding French onion soup and a feeling that a whiff of Gitanes smoke would complete the atmosphere but l'Gueuleton has an eclectic menu of robust food. Robust, rustic, full of flavour, unsubtle and unpretentious. And yes, it has a French accent, perhaps even a French sensibility.
I’m something of a regular at l'Gueuleton; there are times when it simply ticks all the boxes for me, when I want no bullshit food in a no bullshit environment. I love the big room, the buzz, the smell of the cooking as it hits you coming through the door, the wildly eclectic customer base, the fact that the team here really know what they are doing and don’t make a fuss about it.
Oh, and I like the constancy of some the menu. I can return to old favourites because the kitchen is not always in pursuit of the new but the seasons dictate, as they should. l’Gueuleton is about affordable indulgence (witness the brilliant €55 Sunday Steak Nights: €55 for two rib-eyes with the trimmings and a bottle of Tempranillo?) and good, old-fashioned comfort (as in the regular Sunday roast).
Saturday and Sunday brunch has become a Dublin institution.
l'Gueuleton is a confident, hard-working restaurant, full of skill and savoir faire, all dedicated to making life in the Irish capital that significant bit better. I go there to recharge when I’m off duty. It’s as constant as the northern star.