26 Fitzwilliam Place
Phone: 01 669 4600
A delightful bar leads on to a restaurant that is both serious and relaxed. And there’s one of Dublin’s most attractive terraces. Somewhat hidden, definitely a gem.
Suesey Street used to be Brasserie Le Pont (so called due to its proximity to the bridge over the Grand Canal). The name also once belonged to a rather louche nightclub on Leeson Street, or so I’m told. Long before that, it was what the street was called before the Leeson family became property developers and acquired the must-have eighteenth century status symbol, an earldom. And, of course, Russborough, their stunning Georgian seat near Blessington in Co. Wicklow.
Suesey Street, to my ear, sounds a bit like a very casual bistro, the kind of place where you might get some good buffalo wings and the kind of burger that is a messy to eat as it is good. In fact, Suesey Street is not like that at all.
The food is exceptionally refined. To be perfectly honest, it’s the kind of cooking that gets photographed as food porn. It’s the kind of food that has Michelin inspectors sniffing around.
But don’t let that alarm you. Suesey Street is all this, but in a context that is quite young, relaxed and without the starched table linen. It would be a solecism, of course, but if you put your elbows on the table here, nobody will give you a glacial stare.
The first thing you will notice on entering this Georgian basement is the bar. It’s an exceptionally fine bar, softly lit, welcoming, warm, actually downright cosy. It’s the kind of environment in which one could become quite confidential after a second very dry martini. The dining room, at right angles to bar, is similarly intimate but the space between tables means it’s also rather discreet. There’s a delightful open terrace off to the side where al fresco lunch can be one of the delights of Dublin on a sunny day.
The food is outstanding on several levels but, for me, the most significant is the balance between exceptional technical skill, delicacy and complexity – we really are talking about art on plates here – and common sense. There’s no showing off for the sake of showing off. This is confident cooking that seems to assume we’re all used to eating at this kind of level and it’s no big deal.
I like that display of modesty from chef Lumir Tousek who came here from the kitchen at L’Ecrivain. The pedigree certainly shows, but he has a style of his own and it’s impressive.
The menu tends to read more simply than it eats, so to speak. You get bald descriptions, like terse telegrams and then the whole thing explodes into detail on the plate that is put before you.
This is a kitchen that has been touched by the molecular gastronomy Thing but it keeps such tendencies in check; to enhance rather dominate and blind with science.
I could go on, but suffice it to say that I’ve had some of the best and simplest (in terms of cooking) foie gras I’ve ever tasted here, that I discovered the synergy between monkfish and ham hock here and that the pastry chef is quite the equal of Lumir when it comes to clever, original, delicately judged sweet things.
There’s even a wine list that operates at the same kind of level, and service of considerable charm. Suesey Street is surprising (i.e. different from what one expects), thoughtful and delightfully detailed. What more do you want?