Wednesday, 19 February 2014

The Vintage Kitchen

This quaint, quirky and highly regarded dining spot, nestled right beside the renowned Mulligan's pub on Poolbeg Street in Dublin, has long been on my "to visit" foodie list. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to head for dinner one blustery Friday evening in January. January is a long and miserable month, let's be honest. So, I decided as a cheer me up, I'd email the Vintage Kitchen, who were then on a yearly break, and request a table for two. I received a prompt response and was duly given my table at my chosen time. No probs. Job done. I subsequently found out, through Twitter, that it is often very difficult to get a table at all. Lucky me!

So, we arrived a few minutes the early side of our 6 o'clock dining time. We were seated at a small but lovely table for two, right by the wall at the very front of the restaurant. It is a pokey little place, perhaps a little claustrophobic for some but I couldn't have been happier with our table and still felt that as a table for two, we had every chance to chat freely, relax and enjoy our meal.

The main positive point to this gem of a restaurant is the one thing that it should be - its food. The food is delicious, carefully thought out, simple yet elegant, and well presented. For starter I chose risotto, which was an unusual choice for me. But my, was I happy with my choice. The risotto with pancetta, Tipp blue cheese and soft herbs, was unbelievably flavoursome, just creamy enough and delightfully moreish. It was a big, hearty starter, so I feared I may be unable (gasp!) for my sweet. But, I thought to myself, time enough to worry about that after my main...
Risotto starter

And so, to the main. Lamb shank. With roasted carrots. Yummy celeriac mash. Crisp baby potatoes. Treacle gravy - oh, did it work!
The lamb meat was so succulent and melt in your mouth. The flesh literally flaked away in delicious morsels as my fork tucked in. It was delicious. A show stopper of a main. Every component of the dish complemented the next so well. I am not a lamb lover but I am a convert now and am really looking forward to trying out some good quality Irish lamb shank myself. If only I could replicate this superb taste sensation.

Superb slow-cooked lamb shank main
My husband enjoyed the fish starter of smoked Donegal haddock, chorizo and leek gratin with west Cork scallop. He is not one for praise giving but he did say it was one of the best starters he has had and probably the best meal he has eaten in Dublin. He also had the lamb shank. He loves lamb and was equally blown away by what was a stunning main course.

Starter of smoked haddock, chorizo & leek gratin & scallop

The Vintage Kitchen operates a B.Y.O.W. policy, which of course, is another great plus and draw for the restaurant. They only request that you choose at least two items from their set menu. We brought a lovely bottle of Rioja Joven from Lidl, which cost just under €11. Our two course meal came to €50 in total. Great value for a truly wonderful meal. The service was friendly, welcoming and attentive without being over the top. The atmosphere was buzzy and the restaurant, small as it is, was absolutely full by about ten past six.

And yes, on this occasion I felt too full for a dessert, very unlike me and not for lack of some lovely choices. That must be remedied on my next visit.

So, yes, we will be back! I guarantee it. That said, I probably better get emailing soon.

For details, check out the restaurant website here. FYI - you can B.Y.O.V. too; v = vinyl! and there's artsy stuff on the walls for sale too, should you be interested!

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