Eating Out: Lucinda O'Sullivan at Glasthule's 64
This home-from-home is a real hideaway with loads of atmosphere, plus great breakfasts and lunches
Some years ago, Gerard Maguire visited Martel, a small town in the south-west of France and, while sitting with his wife, having a glass of the local Bergerac wine with a salad of duck confit, he was struck by the perfection of this simple repast.
Subsequently, they began to holiday in the Basque region of France – which is Department 64 in French geographical terms – and Maguire's love affair with the notion of really good artisan produce and wines, served in simple surroundings, developed more and more.
We all get ideas of what we'd love to do when we're on holidays in other countries, but not all of us do it. Perhaps it was fate, too, when 64 Glasthule Road became available and Maguire opened his wine shop, artisan deli and cafe, calling it simply 64 Wine, bringing more than a touch of the Basque country to Sandycove, Co Dublin.
64 is an oenophile's delight. The focus is on superb wines from small wineries around the world, and regular events are organised, which showcase visiting producers. Many of the wines are biodynamic, all are varied and interesting, from Portugal to Veneto, Georgia to Slovenia, the Middle Rhine to the Margaret River – you can travel the world in a glass. You can take the wines home to enjoy or to impress your friends, but you can also enjoy them in The Cafe @ 64 and just pay €7.50 corkage. Or choose from the in-house wine list and blackboard selections, which vary daily.
I was meeting my friends, Paul and Rachel, for a bite of lunch and we ensconced ourselves in a church-like pew and took in the Teacher's Lunch menu, which runs from 12pm-3pm. It's the sort of food I love, and the cafe is a real hideaway, with loads of atmosphere. Rolls, wraps and sandwiches are around the €6.20/€6.90 mark, while antipasti plates of charcuterie with olives and crusty bread or cheeses are €12/€13. Home-made soup is €5.50, and they also do a great deal of soup and a sambo at €9.50 – an extra 50c if you want your sambo toasted. Two of us shared the soup of the day – a fresh, green melange of rocket and goat's cheese, sprinkled with goat's cheese crumbs and pink peppercorns. Rachel had the meat plate (€12.60), which was served on a board that sported a lavish spread of prosciutto, coppa, and fine and coarse-grained salami, set around a good fluff of dressed leaves with a mixed bowl of great olives.
Paul had a fine slice of pork and plum terrine (€12) served with cornichons and crusty artisan bread – of which we seemed to eat a mountain! Croque Monsieur winked at me with its lusty filling of cheese, ham, bechamel sauce and a side salad, as did a coronation chicken sandwich, but, instead, I had, organic smoked salmon (€13), sourced from Old Millbank Smokehouse in Buttevant, Co Cork. It had a crisp, true colour with a light, clean flavour, served with mixed leaves, capers, spring onions and brown bread.
To follow, a cheese plate (€12) had a lavish selection of brie, comte, blue, and Manchego with membrillo – that wonderful Spanish quince paste that I would eat with everything! Again, there were more delicious olives and rustic crusty bread. With two glasses of organic Falerio Trebbiano wine, at €6.50 each, from the Marche region of Italy, our bill, with optional service, came to €74.90.
They also do breakfast with a difference at 64, from 9am to noon, where, along with a traditional continental breakfast of fresh baguette, jam, butter, orange juice and tea or coffee (€7), you can have toasted cheese and ham croissants (€4.50); granola and yoghurt with home-made fruit compote (€4.80); Manchego cheese, honey and toast (€3.80); or Portuguese custard tarts at €2.
64 is open from 9am-7pm Monday-Thursday, and 9am-8pm on Fridays and Saturdays. It almost feels like a home-from-home – and it is for many of the locals.
64 Glasthule Road,
Tel: (01) 280-5664
Three to try: a la Francaise
La Reserve Brasserie
53 Ranelagh Village,
Tel: (01) 496-8825
An intimate and lively brasserie serving galettes and tartines at lunch and coq au vin, escargots and mignon d'agneau au romarin for dinner. Great Kir Breton
Mains, €15.50/€23.50; Market Menu, lunch/early bird 2/3 course, €19.95/€22.95
Merlu poche Dieppoise – poached hake, mussels and prawns in cream, €23.50
Canal Walk Cafe & Restaurant
Tel: (045) 460-376
Michael Kennedy and Rebecca Lemaire's cafe and restaurant offers French and Mediterranean food, ranging from scallops to duck breast, and fillet steak with wild mushrooms
Baked hake with ratatouille and boulangere potatoes, finished with herb oil, €19.95
The Yellow House,
1 Willbrook Road,
Tel: (01) 493-2994
A comfy bistro serving good food with a French accent; from moules mariniere to Barbary duck breast, rack of lamb to Champagne sorbet
Mains, €13.95-€29.95; early bird 2/3 course, €22.95/€25.95
Monkfish tail with lentils, clams, Parma ham and asparagus, €24.95
Sunday Indo Life Magazine