I’ve long been a fan of the The Vintage Kitchen restaurant. They have been offering up the finest of food for some time now and having visited many times I’ve never been disappointed. When I found out that it had a little sister I was more than a little excited to take a visit to The Little Kitchen (129 Upper Leeson Street) and see how she compared to her older sibling.
I’m a firm believer if it’s not broken don’t fix it. With that in mind the team behind this restaurant have kept to the recipe which has made The Vintage Kitchen such a great success. Great food, locally sourced with simple surrounds. Two courses on offer for €30 which gives you the bonus of BYOB with no corkage. If you choose not to avail of the two course option (you would be mad not to), you can still bring your own drink and a €5 per bottle charge applies. We kicked off with a glass of Prosecco and some brown bread with a wonderful home made spread, that had hints of chick pea, garlic and mustard. Thoroughly enjoyable. In addition to their usual menu they also have a couple of specials which vary depending on the night.
He opted to go for the Little Kitchen chowder which had Donegal smoked haddock, chorizo and monks beard. Presented in a rich creamy broth the dish was alive with the taste of the sea while being smokey with a hint of spice at the same time. Full of flavour and quite an ample size serving too.
I went for the risotto of prawn, chili, roasted red peppers and herbs. Sublime. Simply sublime. The prawns were cooked just right, the chilli had enough heat without being too overbearing and the overall texture of the risotto was perfectly creamy. Word of warning, its quite a filling dish, so if you order it for your starter, choose a lighter mains or your not even your fat pants will save you.
For mains I went with the 8 hour slow cooked Slaney river lamb shank. It came with roasted celeriac, roasted garlic, treacle gravy and roasted carrots. No surprise, the lamb shank gently left its home on the bone with the lightest of touch. The treacle gravy, dark and sumptuous clung to the meat and filled my mouth with flavour. The roasted carrots were left with textured skins and just enough bite.
I struggled to finish it. In fact I put my fork down, loosened the button on my trousers and declared myself finished. That was until the lovely waitress asked if she should clear the plate. My auto pilot response ‘oh no I’m just taking a break’. I did finish it in the end and was happy I did.
The other main was an off menu dish and one of the days specials. It was a fricassee of baked fillet of plaice wrapped around asparagus and carrots, with mussels and prawns in a creamy white wine sauce with fresh pasta. Now if you thought the description was a mouthful, dear God, the size of the dish was enormous and it came in two mini skillets.
There was more than enough to make it a sharing dish. I’m not sure the photos do it justice however. It was a feast for both the eyes and the taste buds. If you are a seafood lover then you are going to literally put your head down and not speak until you finish it. Mussels, prawns and plaice all in one dish and floating on a deliciously creamy white wine sauce.
We left the Little Kitchen full to the brim, although I did look at the dessert menu twice and had my eye on the Limon cello cheese cake, raspberry compote and pistachio mascarpone. There simply was no room in my belly for it. I had high expectations for the Little Kitchen based on the big sister I know well. I was not disappointed in any way.
Disclaimer: as a regular customer to The Vintage Kitchen I was invited to try out their little sister as a guest. This is a positive review and its based on the dining experience and quality of food on the night. It is well deserved and dining as a guest does not influence my opinions nor my taste buds which always speak for themselves.