You know The Gay is getting old when you forget his birthday and it passes without comment. Feeling decidedly guilty I suggested a belated birthday treat at The Drury Buildings, the latest offering from Declan O’Regan (No Name Bar, l’Gueuleton, Kelly’s Hotel). The restaurant is sign-less – if you are trying to find it, it’s the large graffiti-clad building across from Fade Street Social.
The building is a beautiful example of derelict urban chic, with parquet flooring and Scandi-style velvet and wood banquettes. The dining room on the second floor (bar/café at ground level and party venue for hire on the level above) was buzzing at 7pm on this particular Thursday.
The Gay was fashionably late so I had time to examine the menu and quaff a very refreshing Hendricks and tonic. It took me a few moments to realise something was missing from the menu – there are only starters and mains. There are only two Sides of the Day, and they come on a plate for two sharing. All of a sudden I had a yearning for sides of my choosing. Another Hendricks and tonic would have to do!
When The Gay finally arrived, we ordered. The starters took a good 20 minutes to arrive, which wasn’t a problem as we had plenty of catching up and people-judging to do.
I ordered the Rope Mussels and Palourde Clams in a Pinot Grigio and Garlic Sauce. The clams were off the menu, so it was just Mussels tonight. Rope Mussels, I have since learned, are mussels grown on a rope so they don’t grub around on the seabed getting all gritty. Give me a bit of grit any day over these sorry excuses for mollusks. The ones that had opened were the size of dehydrated raisins. The sauce, however, was amazing, but was more pinot and onion than garlic.
The Gay had the Scallop Salad with Warm Artichoke Heart and Salsa Verde, which was totally lost on a massive plate. The scallops were melt in your mouth, but the salsa verde killed the dish – it was too powdery and piquant and overpowered the delicate scallops.
We waited 50 minutes for the mains to arrive, tasting a couple of glasses of really excellent Malbec while we waited.
The Gay, for some unexplained reason, had ordered the Pork Cheek Pasta. It sounded most unpleasant on the menu and what finally arrived was a bowl of beige nothingness at the cheeky price of €19.50. Calamarata Pasta (like giant penne – beige), Guanciale Di Montagna Cured Italian Pork Cheek (give it a fancy name if you want, but really just a scattering of tiny bits of pork – beige) and some grated Pecorino (white-ish beige). With no herbs, no colour, nothing to make it even the slightest bit visually interesting, this dish tasted as it looked and definitively gets my award for the most disgusting dish on a menu anywhere, ever. (As opposed to the Pork Papparadelle at the Rustic Stone €15.95 and the best dish on any menu, anywhere, ever.)
I had the Chargilled Boar Chop. Organic and from the Ballinwillin Farm in Co Cork, I paid a whopping €26.50 for a massive chop with lots of fat and not much meat. It was served on a large plate with Cavolo Nero Leaves (aka cabbage) and a tiny dollop of Parsnip and Apple Purée, there nowhere near enough to compliment the size of the chop. The sides that night were Small Roasties and Cavolo Nero Leaves, neither of which I would have chosen had there been an option.
Redemption came with desert: Tiramisu with Kahlua and Biscotti – a divine bowl of sweet, moistness. With a bill that came to €120, The Drury Buildings was a very disappointing experience. The room is a wonderful place to lounge but the overall food offering is trying to hard and a bit confused, with terrible service thrown in. We won’t be going back in a hurry.
The Drury Buildings, 52-55 Drury Street, Dublin 2, (01) 960 2095, www.drurybuildings.com
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