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Lucinda O’Sullivan’s restaurant review: Stepaside’s Woodruff has some rough edges to smooth out

With ‘fermenting’ and ‘foraging’ the buzzwords, our critic headed for Woodruff, but the experience left a bad taste in her mouth

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Connemara crab tartlet, kohlrabi, green strawberry, brown crab & yuzu.

Connemara crab tartlet, kohlrabi, green strawberry, brown crab & yuzu.

Wild halibut, kay broccoli, green beans, mussel bisque.

Wild halibut, kay broccoli, green beans, mussel bisque.

Beechlawn Farm organic spuds, seaweed & spring onion butter.

Beechlawn Farm organic spuds, seaweed & spring onion butter.

Tempura courgette flower, St. Tola, Heirloom tomato, black olive, romesco with Crab tartlet to rere.

Tempura courgette flower, St. Tola, Heirloom tomato, black olive, romesco with Crab tartlet to rere.

Tandoori spiced aubergine, freekeh wheat, halloumi, kale, pistachio, pomegranate.

Tandoori spiced aubergine, freekeh wheat, halloumi, kale, pistachio, pomegranate.

Roasted white chocolate mousse, gooseberry, Thai basil, hazelnut.

Roasted white chocolate mousse, gooseberry, Thai basil, hazelnut.

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Connemara crab tartlet, kohlrabi, green strawberry, brown crab & yuzu.

A review is but a snapshot in time, they say, and I hope so, for in this case it was a pretty poor image that emerged following our visit to Woodruff. The fact of the matter, food critic or not, is that nobody goes out looking for a bad experience — but when you leave disappointed, having dropped quite a lot of dosh, and reach gratefully for the cheese and brown bread when you get home, there’s something wrong.

I’d heard good reports of this Stepaside restaurant, including a long gush from a foodie who was convinced that this amazing gem on the outskirts of Dublin would get a Michelin star. While it does have a basic mention in the Michelin Guide as a good neighbourhood bistro, it doesn’t have a Bib Gourmand and, based on our experience, it would be some leapfrog if it jumped from this basic listing to a star.


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