Despite being their first ‘like’ on Facebook, it has taken me ages to get ’round to sampling Dylan Mc Grath’s offerings at Fade Street Social. I hadn’t realised the building was so wide, I though the gastro-bar was downstairs with the restaurant upstairs and it was only as we were being led through the gastro-bar and into the restaurant beside it on the ground floor that I realised the full extent of the undertaking (there’s a cocktail bar upstairs).
The dining room is open-plan with natural parquet-effect flooring, exposed red brick walls, leather banquette seating and an impressive exposed kitchen with a wood-burning stove.
We were seated at a cozy table for two, at the left side of the room, between two other cozy tables for two. The lighting was awful in this particular spot, so because the gay knows the importance of suitable lighting on a night out, we were swiftly moved.
The staff were pleasant and professional, albeit a little harassed. The dining room must have over 100 covers and it was full by 8pm. Not bad for the Wednesday after a bank holiday weekend.
The menu reads like food porn and although I was ravenous, I wanted to savour each delectable syllable before making my choice. A large blackboard by the kitchen showed various cuts of meat by weight/price – which were scratched off as they were ordered.
With eyes bigger than our bellies, we ordered two small wood-fired flat breads, followed by lamb stew, the rump cap and seasonal cabbage on the side.
The cocktail menu is liquid literature; each drink is accompanied by a thoroughly descriptive story and all have fabulous names like Betsy’s Bracer, Slippery Sloe, and Away with the Fairies. We opted for a Goosegog (homemade gooseberry purée mixed with Absolut citron and sweetened with golden caramel syrup served short over crushed ice) and a Mairead Rose (Patron silver tequila with fresh citrus juices, elderflower liquor and rose cordial. Served in a chilled martini glass with a vanilla salted rim). Kicking, scrumptious cocktails.
The staff should warn about the portions. The flatbreads were a meal in themselves. Cooked in the wood-burning stove, they were like long skinny pizzas. I had the Pumpkin, Pork & Chestnut, which consisted of pumpkin purée, fresh rosemary, Parmesan, pulled crispy pork, onion purée, Irish mozzarella, sliced chestnut, and fried mushroom. It was the sweetest, nuttiest, most piquant combination of flavours I’ve tasted in a dish since the Pork Pappardelle at the Rustic Stone. The gay had the Poussin, Chervil & Hazelnut – hazelnut béchamel, fried flatcap mushroom, onion lyonnaise, baba ghanoush, brie, blue cheese, shavings of cured bacon, grated toasted nuts, chopped chervil, Parmesan, poussin, and truffle honey. He found the blue cheese overwhelmed the other flavours. We were stuffed afterwards and thought about cancelling the main courses, but they arrived before we got around to it.
The Lamb Stew came with beautiful creamy drops of potato mousse, crusty bread and hazelnut butter. The meat was succulent with a tangy balsamic aftertaste and would have made an excellent main course had we not over done it on the flat breads.
I had the Rump Cap – tender slices of beef served in parsley butter. I should have learned from my run-in with beef cheek in London last month that my delicate palate is used to the firm texture of strip loins, sirloins and the like, but finds other cuts of beef too spongy. I will be adding rump cap to the list of things not to order again. The seasonal cabbage was al dente and oozing with delicious apple and truffle juices.
There was no room for desert, but we did manage to quaff three rounds of cocktails, which explains why the bill came to a ridiculous €165 (including tip). The Mairead Roses were a cool €15.95 each. I’ll be bringing a dining partner with less expensive tastes next time!
Aside from the cost it was a very pleasurable dining experience. We shall be frequenting often.
Fade Street Social, Fade St, Dublin 2, (01) 604 0066, www.fadestreetsocial.com
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