THE NEWS IN BRIEF, September 2016
BISTRO ONE GIVES IN AND AGREES TO DO SUNDAY LUNCH
Mark Shannon’s now legendary Foxrock restaurant, Bistro One, which he runs with his daughter Kate, has broken with many years of tradition and – literally in response to popular demand – is now offering Sunday lunch until 5.30pm. The change involves dropping lunch earlier in the week in favour of Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
It’s strange to think that this south Dublin institution, with its crisp linen, sparkling glasses, great wine list and its own olive oil from Mark’s Tuscan grove, will be celebrating a quarter of a century in business next year.
THE FISH SHACK EXPANDS
Padraic Hanley of Ouzos in Dalkey and Blackrock experimented with The Fish Shack concept by opening a food trailer on Dun Laoghaire pier a couple of years ago. Suddenly, Dubliners could enjoy a lobster roll or scampi and chips while strolling by the briny waters of the harbour. Overnight, it developed cult status. Queues formed – and they still do.
From this developed The Fish Shack Café in Glasthule, overlooking Scotsman’s Bay, the only restaurant serving seafood between Dublin and Wexford that has a view of the sea, according to Padraic.
The idea is simple and so is the food, but it’s based on exceptional raw materials. Padraic has a share in a fishing boat that provides all of the restaurants’ needs in terms of crab and lobster.
My favourites here are the Smokies, a riff on John Howard’s combination of smoked haddock and cream that was famous in the days of Le Coq Hardi, the breaded scampi with proper, chunky tartare sauce, the crisp calamari with sweet chilli marmalade (the only thing with the consecutive words “sweet” and “chilli” in the the title that I’m prepared to eat, and – when I’m very hungry – the shrimp nachos with chorizo which are indecently tasty.
There’s tiny selection of directly imported wines and both a Pilsener and an IPA from the 8 Degrees brewery in North Cork.
Earlier this year, The Fish Shack opened in Parliament Street in Temple Bar, thus vastly improving the food offering in this tourist bear garden and, in the process becoming Number 1 restaurant in Dublin on Trip Advisor (which is ironic, given Padraic Hanley’s legendary loathing of the site).
The latest addition to the mini-chain is in Malahide, where it was sorely needed. It’s right in the centre in what was previously Itsa.
ANITA THOMA IS BACK IN THE KITCHEN
Anita Thoma, formerly of Il Primo, is cooking again after a break of some months. She has taken over the kitchen at Farmhill in Churchtown which was opened last year by Paul O’Connor and Keith Hallissey. It’s a neighbourhood café and restaurant with a strong emphasis on Irish produce with proper provenance and, at this stage, weekend brunch has become the stuff of south Dublin legend.
I gather the competition for these premises was exceptionally stiff and Paul and Keith pipped a very serious Dublin restaurateur at the post to secure them. This suggests that there’s a lot of interest in tapping the appetite for suburban eating out in our leafier suburbs. Have a look at the Farmhill menu here.
THE HOT STOVE GOES OUT
The Hot Stove, the basement restaurant on Parnell Street where Joy Beattie cooked some remarkably fine food at very keen prices is to close at the end of September 2016.
THE LATEST FROM PICHET
My latest visit to Pichet was with Richard Corrigan and we agreed that Stephen Gibson’s food is better than ever. You can now eat, drink and even dance, if so inclined, from 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Late@Pichet involves music from electro swing to postmodern jukebox (this is all Greek to me) with DJ Rui Guerra, no less. Plus there are deals on platters for sharing (€45 to serve 6 to 8), four bottles of Prosecco for €100 and fifteen bottles of beer for €50. I should add that Pichet’s splendid revamped bar is presided over by one of Dublin’s most talented and engaging mixologists.
THE FISH SHOP RETURNS WITH EVEN MORE
The Fish Shop on Queen Street took the city’s more discriminating diners by storm when it opened in the Spring of 2015. In the meantime it closed in order to make this very simple restaurant more restaurant-like (there’s now some degree of choice) and reopened, more brilliant than ever, during the Summer of 2016.
However, owners Peter and Jumoke have also expanded, acquiring the old Seven Social on Benburb Street which has now become Dublin’s best fish and chip shop (whatever is best on the day, no choice but you get some salad) with a cracking selection of real wines. There’s seating for twenty or so people, depending on how well they know each other.