There is a very dull looking building on the corner of Tara Street and Poolbeg Street called Apollo House. I spent the last three years working there. It’s all bit dreary and dated and gloomy. The saving grace of having worked there, two things:
1: Mulligans Pub. A pub for anyone and everyone with the friendliest staff around.
2: The Vintage Kitchen. A restaurant that is so popular and so busy that you may be waiting weeks to get a table there. Is it worth the wait? Yes it most certainly is.
I have been to the Vintage Kitchen three times since I discovered it. Twice before I decided to give blogging a shot and the last time was just recently. Having worked in the area for three years I remember the premises opening as a type of Australian Pie and Mash eaterie. It didn’t last too long. The Vintage Kitchen took its place along side Mulligans and in my opinion has made Poolbeg Street an eating and drinking destination.
I managed to get a booking for 8.30 on a Tuesday evening. A buddy of mine had jumped at the chance to visit again. I had recommended it to him and he had only been there the Saturday before and raved about the food. I recall his words as ‘my new favourite restaurant I love it’. So we met about 6.30 had a few pints around town and then made our way to Mulligans for a quick pit stop before popping next door to claim our table.
As usual the place was packed with eager food lovers. Our table was at the back right beside the kitchen. A perfect spot to preview all the dishes coming out, all of which looked good.
One of the first things that will catch your attention are the staff. They are tremendously friendly. They greet every customer with such a warm welcome, and it’s not in that annoyingly awful ‘Hi I’ll be your waiter’ type of way. It’s a genuine pleased to have you here kind of welcome. The staff also know the menu inside out and can describe every dish to you in detail and are happy to give you recommendations.
We started off with a couple of glasses of Prosecco which our wonderful waitress promptly produced, while we took at look at the menu. There was also a basket of freshly baked bread.
The menu is a who’s who of amazing food, which is all locally sourced and just screams goodness. It’s also exceptional value. Two courses for €25. Not only that, if you order the two courses you get to avail of the added bonus which is the BYOW policy. Bring your own wine and NO CORKAGE. I felt that needed capitals to highlight how great it is. We brought two bottles of white with us. One was promptly poured into glasses and put in a chiller and the other whisked off to be kept cool for when we needed it. Now that is what you call service at its finest.
The menu has about six starters and six mains to choose from. Varied enough to cater for all. Everything sounds so good it’s difficult to choose. It’s even more difficult when you see the table next to you get their food and you immediately want what they have, then another table gets food and you want that too.
For starters I settled on the Bacon and Pea Risotto. My dinner buddy opted for the Carpaccio of Tuna. Although mine was a starter portion it was huge. Creamy and smokey and just delicious. It would actually be plenty for a main course. Between the two of us the bowl was emptied.
The other starter, again was incredible. I’d never actually eaten carpaccio of anything before. In fact so cusine challenged in the past was I, at one point in a very flash restaurant in the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, I ordered the carpaccio of beef and requested it be well done. To be fair to the waiter he did whisper in my ear it was to be served raw. I promptly had the vegetable soup on that occassion and kept my eyes lowered in shame for the rest of the meal.
I was a little full after the starter I have to admit so was glad that I had chosen a fish dish for my main course. I had gone for the Cod Fillet with Hake served with Potatos in broth. The presentation on the dish was superb. The pictures below do not do it justice.
The cod itself was so light and delicate and was meathy piece of fish I have to say. Just look at how perfectly cooked it was.
I was literally eating great big chunks of it (in a good way) and it was devine.
It was also very filling and while I finished the fillet of cod itself I couldn’t manage to finish the potatos and pieces of hake. As it turned out the girl at the table beside me was ordering the same dishes as me and both agreed they were just gorgeous. Thats another great thing about The Vintage Kitchen, it’s intimate enough that you can revel in the pleasure of their food with your fellow diners if you want, or of course keep to yourself. We ended up talking to two tables beside us and all were impressed with the food. One of the tables had two girls visiting from Essex and they had been recommended the restaurant by a friend and booked it a month before they arrived. They were not disappointed.
My buddy went for the Roast Poussin. Presentation as expected was inventive and impressive.
I didn’t get to taste it. He pretty much just stuck his head down and only came up for air when he finished it. Always a good sign.
At this point we were well and truely fed and watered. The second bottle of wine had reappeared perfectly chilled and the glasses were topped up again. It’s at that point I remembered that they will also play records for you if you ask. They have a selection in a basket by the wall which they are happy for you to rummage through or you can also bring in your own records and they will play them too. I’m not ashamed to admit it, I did ask them to play Bonnie Tyler Total Eclipse of The Heart for me. They did. I chuckled away to myself listening to it drinking my wine. Then I couldn’t resist having a few more songs played from the wonderful soft rock album I found.
Not in any hurry to leave we decided to opt for a cheeseboard between us for dessert. Five differant cheese, crackers, grapes and fig jam served on a slate. Cheese heaven.
Still not wanting to leave after that we opted for some Irish Coffees. I don’t even think they were on the menu but the staff were more than happy to make them for us. I opted for a Baileys one I think. To be honest it was starting to become a little vague at that point.
Overall we spent about three hours in The Vintage Kitchen having dinner. That was the great thing about an 8.30 sitting, it’s unlikely you will need to rush off the table.
I had a good think about it since my visit and try as I may I could not find fault with the dining experience. Incredible food. The chef is to be commended. Staff that you pretty much want to invite to sit down and enjoy dinner with you they are so fun and friendly. The atmosphere is one of pure joy. A full house of smiling diners says a lot about a restaurant. In terms of value for money, as mentioned you get two courses for €25. Our bill came to about €70 in total after we added a cheeseboard and Irish Coffees. I would pay more with pleasure.
Vintage Kitchen Team, thank you for having us.
Ph: 01 6798705