W.J. Kavanaghs

I’m a big of L. Mulligan’s Grocer in Stoneybatter and when they opened a sister gastropub on Dorset Street I resolved to eat there as soon as I got the chance. That was over a year ago and it’s only now I’ve actually managed to get there. This is what happens when your wife is studying every spare hour and you’ve a mad two-year-old haring around the place!

The night myself and Pauline went we met up with friends and friends of friends, which, greedily, I always like because it means I get to taste lots of different things on the menu. Speaking of the menu, it’s very on trend, featuring lots of Irish ingredients with just enough information on provenance before becoming ludicrously detailed.

The starters are all pitched around €5-€7, great value and most of the standout dishes were to be found here: black pudding wantons all crispy, feather-light pastry and unctuous filling, richly buttered sourdough bread with white crabmeat and sea vegetables and an intriguing chunky ham hock and white pudding terrine.

Main courses are hearty pub fare, large portions and little refinement or affections, which is exactly what you want. There was a mountainous wild boar burger that oozed juice when you bit into it and a slab of oak smoked pork rib-eye with a cola sauce and a clever garnish of little scotch eggs. The only major misstep was my ale and beef pie, one, because it wasn’t a pie, just a stew with a pastry lid and, two, a lot of the meat was still quite tough, another hour or so on the stove for the filling would have made all the difference.

We didn’t have any desserts but we did manage to avail of the great beer list and try some of the suggested matches listed on the menu, the Rothaus Weiss to accompany the crab being particularly good. We even managed to nip into their off license on the way out to grab a bottle of White Gypsy, a stunning Belgian style dubbel from Tipperary that was listed as being on draught but, unfortunately, had sold out.

There’s lots to recommend here, the food is, for the most part, very good and the drink selection is outstanding; service could be a little bit more attentive but then it can be hard to stay on top of everything with a group of eight, it really was a minor thing anyway. And given the lack of passing trade on Dorset Street it’s a testament to the quality of the operation that the place was full when we leaving – early unfortunately, see paragraph one…

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