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To whom it Mae concern – Lucinda O’Sullivan finds Grainne O’Keefe’s new D4 restaurant collab to be a delight

Having secured a coveted booking, our food critic was charmed by Ballsbridge’s new Mae restaurant, a collaboration with The French Paradox

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Selection of starters at Mae restaurant in Ballsbridge. Photo: Lucinda O'Sullivan

Selection of starters at Mae restaurant in Ballsbridge. Photo: Lucinda O'Sullivan

Rib-eye with a sidekick of braised beef cheek at Mae restaurant. Photo: Lucinda O'Sullivan

Rib-eye with a sidekick of braised beef cheek at Mae restaurant. Photo: Lucinda O'Sullivan

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Selection of starters at Mae restaurant in Ballsbridge. Photo: Lucinda O'Sullivan

I have a love-hate relationship with online restaurant-booking systems. They can be handy, but too often I end up kicking the leg of the desk in frustration when a new hotspot announces that booking opens at precisely one minute and 12 seconds past the hour and, despite my best efforts, I never seem to win the sprint. This was the case for the opening of Gráinne O’Keefe’s new Mae restaurant in Ballsbridge. With a reminder set for 10 minutes before kick-off, and armed with a fortifying double espresso, I had my finger poised to book a table for two in its first week. The time came, and went, and... nothing. “What the hell...?” I thought, getting madder and madder. Then I changed the setting to three people, and, just like that, had a table for the following week.

There are only 16 covers until restrictions fully ease, but my booking wasn’t ideal as I was working and didn’t want to bring two guests. I consoled myself with the thought that, for some, booking a hot new restaurant is merely a sport to boast about to their Twitter ‘friends’, and with all the no-shows we hear about, I might still get the booking I wanted, and right on cue, on the morning of Mae’s second day, up popped that table for two!


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