Five-star comfort: Dylan Restaurant, Dylan Hotel, Eastmoreland Place, Dublin 4.
The restaurant at the Dylan is not just a hip hangout, says Lucinda O'Sullivan. The bistro-style hearty fare is a hit, too, with the emphasis on local produce
The Dylan Hotel opened its hip five-star doors at the height of the boom years in a great location close to town, yet out of it just enough to be very handy, too, for all the happenings around D4 and the Aviva Stadium, as well as D2. It was the talk of the town, being an extremely luxurious boutique hotel with vamp and camp furnishings attracting the who's who of the Dublin about-town set. Its Still Restaurant was glistening white, with top-of-the-range French-style food, which was well priced for its status and time.
Times, as we all know, have changed but the Dylan is still hugely popular, not only for visitors to Dublin, but for its bar, its bar food, and its restaurant, now called the Dylan Restaurant. The snow-white restaurant decor has been muted into a more subtly sophisticated melange of beiges and golds, and the focus, under new head chef Richard Carmody, ex the Winding Stair, is on more hearty bistro-style food, with a strong emphasis on local and seasonal produce, delivered with five-star service in chic surroundings.
Friend Sheila and I kicked off our visit with two kirs (€6.75 each). The a la carte menu had starters (€8-€12.50) and mains (€24-€32) and there was also an excellent early bird 2/3-course menu at €20/€25, which featured dishes from the a la carte menu and runs up to 7.30pm. Starters included chicken liver parfait paired with apple and pear chutney, toasted brioche and organic leaves, while Ardsallagh goat's cheese had filo sesame, honey crisp and caramelised beetroot. We decided to give both menus a go, Sheila with the a la carte, while I had the early bird. Sheila went for what is one of her favourite starters, the popular surf 'n' turf pairing of scallops and pork (€12.50), which manifested itself in a fine tranche of crispy slow-cooked belly and silky seared king scallops, enlivened with red onion and blue cheese jam. My early bird menu included an a la carte starter of McConnell's smoked salmon on a boxty potato cake with a chive creme fraiche, and I thoroughly enjoyed its freshness, yet it had the satisfying element of carbs.
A la carte mains included Slaney Valley lamb cooked two ways -- roast rump and braised shoulder -- served with garlic and rosemary mash and minted peas.
Other offerings included seared Wicklow venison with black pudding, parsnip puree, red cabbage and a red-wine jus, while Atlantic cod was served with a celeriac puree, pearl onions, peas and bacon, and topped with a Dublin Bay prawn bisque. Sheila snapped up one of my favourite fish, sea bream (€25), a nice chunky specimen, filleted, sauteed, and sitting on baby potatoes and braised leeks, with a seafood sausage accompaniment, and a beurre blanc sauce. My early bird menu had a choice of Atlantic cod, pork chop on the bone with braised red cabbage and chorizo mash, an 8oz rib-eye steak (€5 supplement) or braised neck of Slaney Valley lamb, the last of which was both plentiful, tasty, and tender as could be, served on garlic and rosemary mash with minted peas. Real comfort food.
They also had a choice of three vegetarian mains on the early bird -- Savoy cabbage stuffed with goat's cheese, a caramelised shallot and mushroom tartlet with Mount Callan cheddar, white bean and herb mash, or a pea and broad bean risotto primavera.
Sheila finished up with a lovely chocolate, strawberry and black pepper tartlet with vanilla ice cream (€8.50) while I had the Great Irish Cheese Board -- it carried a €5 supplement, but it was well worth it, with a selection of cheeses and an apple, pear and raisin chutney.
With a double espresso (€4.50), an Americano (€3.95), and a bottle of Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (€29), our bill with optional service came to €139.95 in five-star surroundings with all the bells and whistles.
Tel: (01) 660-3000
Sunday Indo Life Magazine