On my second business trip back to Dublin, we continued our eating well spree. It also happened to be the first time I ordered room service, mainly because I had a quick workout in the hotel gym and had a conference call so I didn’t really want to be eating too late. The “silver dome” service was very nice indeed. But back to the food in Dublin.
I organised for a couple of work dinners and one of my colleagues constantly mentioned, “I am yet to have a bad meal in Dublin yet!” Of course, it helps to be doing a bit of research on what is good, get some local recommendations. I do agree with his sentiment though, and as I mentioned the last time I was here, the food scene has changed. Good value meals are found if you are happy to do early bird, although still be prepared to pay London prices as some of the more popular restaurants.
Cheating a bit, here are the highlights on this trip.
The Chameleon (Indonesia)
This restaurant missed my research radar, but a friend recommended it and I’m glad they did. The specialty of the house is the Rijsttafel (rice table) or an elaborate multi-course meal of many bites. I highly recommend eating on the first floor as it has more ambiance than the downstairs. They do have traditional seating areas where you sit on cushions but I think it tends to be very uncomfortable unless you are used to sitting like that dinner.
Indonesia food is very similar to Thai or Malay foods with curries, satay and pan-fried vegetables common dishes. The Chameleon does a wonderful presentation of the food and I highly recommend a menu that contains the confit pork belly. It’s a small tiny square that melts in the mouth and jam packed full of flavour. I liked the sautéed cabbage and the fresh salad that made the meal a bit lighter.
Great value for money and plenty of food!
1 Lower Fownes Street, Temple Bar, Temple bar Dublin 2, Ireland
+353 1 671 0362
The Winding Stair (Modern Irish)
Generous portions and friendly service match up to the Bib Gourmand recommendation given by the Michelin Guide. It also means that you have to book in advance as all the tables fill up rather quickly. The food here is traditional Irish, using locally sourced ingredients, beautifully presented and, most importantly tasting amazing.
I started with the traditional Irish chowder soup that was thick, creamy and extremely hearty. The dark bread (Guinness I think) was a perfect accompaniment, or even just good by itself. Although tempted by so many other options on the menu I continued a seafood theme with mussels and frites. The frites were just how I liked them, remaining super crunchy on the outside, super fluffy on the inside and perfect for dipping into the sauce that came with the mussels. Unnecessarily so, the mussels came with brown shrimp and mayonnaise on toast for that extra decadence. I wasn’t the only person to be impressed by the execution with one person claiming the steak was the best one they had eaten for a long time and a thumbs up on the pork belly.
I couldn’t resist trying the ginger cake – a lighter alternative to the brownie that others ordered and we all went home very full and very happy.
40 Lower Ormond Quay Dublin 1, Ireland
+353 1 872 7320
Kinara Kitchen is part of a wider group around Dublin and I was hoping for some very tasty Indian/Pakistani food. I had previously tried Konkan (listed as the best Indian in Dublin) but was a bit disappointed. Kinari is noticeably more up market, complete with your asian-inspired cocktails to take you home.
Sticking to my vegetarian dishes, I was tempted to give in to try the Tandoori dishes (the monkfish was apparently amazing!) I stuck with two classic dishes, a Tarka Daal, and a Channa Masala.
Although both dishes are based on chick-peas, they taste totally different. The tarka daal was definitely decadent, like you could almost taste the ghee running through the dish. Strong chilli flavours had my taste buds going and I thought a good level of heat considering the local taste for blander stuff. Thumbs up to this dish. The Channa Masala was also wonderful.
Great stuff to the naan bread as well and though not really needed, I did try a dessert in the form of sugar-soaked doughballs and ice cream – a classic Gulab Juman.
Kinari Kitchen is located in the very posh district of Ranleigh.
17 Ranelagh Rd Dublin 6, Ireland
+353 1 406 0066