Sometimes you just need steak. I have a friend who has steak every Friday night. It could be Monday morning and he would be talking about his pending Friday night steak with a glass of wine. Steak and wine are like the Cagney and Lacey of food and FX Buckley has them both. Continue reading
I walked by Featherblade last week and it reminded me of the fantastic meal I had when they first opened. So here’s a rewind to my original review, which is of course glowing. Continue reading
I remember going into Walton’s music store many years ago looking for sheet music. I had a notion that I could learn to play guitar and after two sets of lessons it became clear to me and my instructor that a life of music was not for me. I should have known in advance. I played a leper in our school musical of Jesus Christ Superstar and the only lines I had to sing, were actually dubbed, by a class mate standing in the corner with a microphone, while I mouthed the words as best I could. Apparently I was graced with the ability to look like a leper but not the vocal cords to sing like one.
Walton’s moved their North Frederick Street store to Blanchardstown back in August 2013. The premises has banished its musical past and embraced a cooking future instead. All that remains of Walton’s are the letters which spell out its name on a wall over seating in one section of the restaurant which has taken it’s place.
The Old Music Shop restaurant is part of The Castle Hotel on North Frederick Street. I took a visit on a Friday evening at 5p.m. and it was virtually empty, but I did see a few tables with reserved signs on them. I’m not quite sure what to make of the setup, or if indeed the restaurant is as confused about it’s identity as I felt it was. It’s part restaurant, part coffee shop/café and appears to be where breakfast is served for the hotel it is joined to.
The cafe counter runs along the right hand side as you enter the restaurant. The main seating areas are then to the back and off to the left of it.
There is a mix of comfortable blue velvet chairs along with the more tradiational wooden table and chairs.
Towards the back you will find another seating area, again with a different feel to it. Long and narrow it has a row of seating along the wall with a mix of coloured chairs. The space here feels very bright to be a restaurant.
Off this area in another section of the restaurant you have what feels like a hotel breakfast area with large windows looking out to the street.
The surrounds are well appointed it has to be said. I can’t help but feel that using such an amalgatmation of styles, it became more disjointed and doesnt really have that cosy feel where you can imagine yourself deep in conversation over a couple of bottles of wine. It presents itself as having much more of a hotel vibe than restaurant to me.
The menu is diverse enough not to be limiting and has a mix of fish, chicken, steak, salads and pastas. Neither of us were overly hungry when we visited so knew we would concentrate more on the main course than a starter or dessert. As a result we opted to share a starter of breads and dips (€4.50). A selection of fresh baked breads with a trio of dips. Sundried tomato pesto which was rich and flavoursome. Rapeseed oil which was bland. Incidently rapeseed oil was used in the 19th century as a lubricant for steam engines and there is a question over whether it is good or bad for us due to the level of eruic acid in it. The last dip was a black olive tapenade which had a smoothness to it but I’m not a fan of olives. My fellow diner however is partial to black olives and spread it generously on his bread.
For the main course I opted for the fried buttermilk chicken breast (€15). It came with wilted greens and fries and a horseradish dip. The greens I’m happy to say were not wilted so they were soggy and retained their flavour, colour and some crunch. The buttermilk crust was non oily and crisp and the chicken was succulent. While very enjoyable it probably could have benefited from being marinated in the buttermilk mix for longer to really enhance the flavours and have them seep into every shred.
H went for the 10oz Sirloin Steak (€20) which came with fries. He likes his steak blue, so it was far too bloody for me to even attempt it. I tend to avoid anything which might walk again with a couple of shots from a defibrillator. The sauce on the side of this was smashed peppercorns and Hennessy cognac jus. It was thick and had a fire from the peppercorns which was constrasted by a smooth silkiness from the cognac. It was devine. Most of my chips went into it and I’m tempted to email them for the recipe.
As we were both off the booze for January there wasn’t a glass of wine in sight and it was a round of water.
I wouldn’t rave about The Old Music Shop to be honest. The food was very decent. Not so great that I would go out of my way to visit again and not unpleasant that I would deter anyone else from visiting either. For sake of a better word and not wanting to appear negative, as far as food goes it was just ‘grand’.
The name Beeftro has been on the lips of many so I figured since they were opening a new branch on Balfe Street I’d make it my business to visit. They opened to the public Monday. A soft opening I’m told with still a few bits and pieces to iron out. I visited Wednesday lunchtime.
I really like the interior I have to say. It’s classy but reminds me of an old style butchers at the same time. It might be the tiled walls that has put that in my head. Either way I like it.
The grill is open for all to see so you know the chefs are confidant in their food. There is a large upstairs with luxurious leather seating around the sides. Downstairs there are two further dining areas which I believe our host said will be available for private parties in due course.
As it was lunch and we only had an hour the focus was on the lunch time specials.
Mine was served on toasted bread with sauté mushrooms, red onion, rocket, garlic butter and fries. The steak was tender and cooked exactly the way I asked which was medium well. The mushrooms were juicy and the chips a slight crisp which I would expect.
The service was excellent, the surrounds were comfortable and the welcome was warm. While it was not very busy with diners when I was there I suspect Beeftro will fast become a popular lunch spot once word gets out the doors are open. I don’t doubt that I will be returning to Beeftro and am very much looking forward to tucking into their dinner menu.
I was recently invited to try out the new Sunday Roast menu at Brookwood on Baggot Street. As it turned out the Sunday Roast was such a roaring success that by the time I arrived at 6 p.m. they were completely sold out. That’s probably a really good sign. I did get to see it being delivered in all its finery to the table next to me which happened to be Carol from Gin & Griddle. You can read her review here. It’s also really good value at €32.50 for a half roast which serves 2 people or €60 for a full roast which will serve 4/5 people. It does of course come with all the trimmings, mash, roast veg, gravy etc. I’ve already booked to return and try it out.
Getting over that little hurdle was eased by the arrival of some wonderful cocktails which are half price on Sundays. H had the amazing looking creation below which is their signature cocktail which is incredibly refreshing and served in quite a novel way. It’s Hendricks Gin, Cucumber Syrup and black pepper.
I opted for the Champagne Mag which was an equally tasty mix of champagne with cherries.
The menu at Brookwood is a whos who of steak and seafood. They heavy hitters like fillet and rib eye mixed with the more delicate prawns and mussels are all present and correct.
For starters I opted for ‘Posh’ Potato Skins which were three very ample potato skins with a mix of fillings including bacon and cheese and salmon. The were served on a marble slate with an accompanying garlic mayo dip. While the flavours were excellent and very tasty, they were very slightly over done on the outside.H had the Brookwood Salad which was light and tasty with a zingy dressing that was just perfect for a starter. I suspect I’ll try it myself on a return visit.
For main course we both opted for the 10oz Rib Eye steaks. H had his served blue which is just a bit too much alive and kicking for me. I opted for medium. Both were cooked exactly as requested and were excellent. Mine was the right amount of pink and very tender. H’s, well it was still alive so I wasn’t trying that. The steaks are served very simply with just some roast tomatoes to the side.
We ordered some hand cut chips and seasonal greens to accompany the steaks. All of which were extremely tasty. The greens not over done and still having a nice bite to them. H had garlic butter with his while I opted for Béarnaise sauce.
As if we weren’t full enough we decided to give dessert a shot. H went for the mouth watering sticky toffee pudding which was just gorgeous with a very generous serving of rich toffee sauce.
I went for a firm favourite of mine which was Banoffe and the slice was so big I wasn’t even able to finish it. It had a nice thick base and lashings of cream on top.
We also opted for a scoop of ice cream to accompany our desserts. Little did we know that a scoop of ice cream in Brookwood is actually a dessert in itself. It came with a little jug of syrup and small bowl of hundreds and thousands which I hadn’t seen in years and thought were a really great detail.
While our dinner was complimentary it doesn’t sway my review. The positives of Brookwood I felt were many. The food could not be faulted. It was cooked as requested and delivered by staff who I can only say were exceptional. From Sophie who greeted us at the door to Anna who served our food and the friendly bar men who made our cocktails. Good service in my opinion should be recognised and I have seperately complimented Brookwood via email on their staff.
The surrounds are comfortable and a lot of attention to detail has gone into them. It has the swagger of being Gatsbyesque without being over the top. I do have to say however the tables were too close together and it was difficult to get in and out from my table. Also on the Sunday I was there a group were playing and while they were excellent I felt the upstairs dining room was too small to have such loud music as it was difficult to have a conversation at times. That feedback again was given to Brookwood via email who welcomed it graciously and confirmed they were trying a number of musical options until they found the best fit for the space.
Brookwood Dublin 141 Baggot Street Lower Dublin 2 Ph: (01) 661 9366