Nothing breaks up the day like a leisurely lunch, with time to linger and lounge with fine food and company but we all know that doesn’t always happen. Despite everyone in TheTaste office being wholly pre-occupied with the topic of fabulous food and where to get it all day long, we often end up dining al desko with one eye on the computer screen. Studies suggest that getting away from your desk, actively seeking out food and mindfully eating it can improve your work for the rest of the afternoon. Having read up on these fun facts Gaby and I vowed to make a concerted effort to claim back lunch, because…science.
For us, this meant breaking up the Thursday workday by ditching the tupperware and popping to 1900 on Harcourt Street to mentally check out of the office and have a leisurely lunch. Around the corner from the bustling business hub of Hatch Street, plenty of suits had the same idea as us and 1900 was filling up at 1.30, when we arrived to an upbeat welcome from manager Jeffrey.
1900’s late night incarnation in the Harcourt Hotel, the Black Door, is a great spot which is well known for a stylish crowd, the coo of a piano and a boutique Georgian feel, which is mirrored by the daytime decor of 1900. A grand piano and chandelier make the entrance reception sleek and inviting and artistic allusions to the Harcourt Street train-crash of 1900 which inspired the name adorn the walls. Gentle jazz tops off a laid back atmosphere and our fellow diners seem to be lapping up the chilled lunch time vibe.
While 1900 has an extensive lunch time offering, the menu doesn’t really have a dedicated starter option, so Gaby and I opted to share a main-course portion from their new salad section. This was definitely a wide selection that made choosing difficult, too many places offer lack-lustre lighter dishes which would neither satiate or satisfy with little thought given to creating something worth eating, but 1900 seeks to cater to everyone’s wants and needs. We struggled to choose between Quinoa, Pear and Spinach and Beetroot, Feta and Candied Pecan but settled on Goat’s Cheese with Marinated Vegetables and Fig Dressing(€9.95) – compromise!
A bountiful bowl arrived quickly, good news for our hungry selves. As salads go, this was well-dressed with what tasted more like lemon than fig, which along with the sweet peppers and aubergine cut through the goat’s cheese nicely. We were a little surprised when the goat’s cheese arrived panko breaded as this wasn’t mentioned on the menu (as it should be) but the crunchy coating encasing warm cheese was pretty delicious so we weren’t complaining too much. The portion was ample enough to comfortably share and without being prompted our very friendly waitress Lydia ensured we both had bowls to feel like we each had our own dish – a nice touch.
Again for mains I was a little overwhelmed by the amount of choices, a good problem to have. In typical Darina fashion I opted to be saintly with a Detox Salad(€9.95) but the devil on my shoulder made me coyly suggest to Gaby that we share Stealth Skinny Fries(€4.50). I added chicken(€3) to my salad of avocado, bulgur wheat, carrot, baby leaf, dotted with creamy and zingy lime avocado dressing, which I was a big fan of.
Adding protein made it a very filling main despite being light enough to feel virtuous. The fries on the other hand were very naughty, sprinkled with parmesan, they arrived piping hot and perfectly crisp. Dunked in a little ramekin of hollandaise that Lydia had thoughtfully dropped over, I could have eaten 1900 of these with ease.
In the mood for something fishy, Gaby opted for the Seared Salmon with Ratatouille (€14.95) which arrived crisp-skinned on a bed of ultra buttery mash. Ratatouille can be hit and miss, but Disney’s Remy would have approved of this one and it cut nicely across the richness of the oily salmon fillet – I conceded that Gaby had chosen the best dish of the day. This was a serious portion, confirming that no-one will come away hungry from a meal in 1900.
As we had been somewhat restrained with healthy options (forget the fries!) and avoiding the offer of ‘A Cheeky Glass of Wine’ which was well priced at €6, we decided we had earned some dessert before heading back to the office. We shared a silky Coole Swan and White Chocolate Cheesecake(€5) served in a cocktail glass and topped with a punchy blueberry syrup, which was a stellar sweet offering indeed. We also sampled some of 1900’s extensive herbal tea collection, Black Assam and Red Berry(€2.50 each) rounded out a big meal nicely.
As we got ready to return to the office, Gaby and I agreed that 1900 was a quick and easy option for a midweek lunch hour pitstop, as we were served (with a smile) in rapid time despite opting for three courses. 1900 is perfectly located and keenly priced for very substantial portions, whether it’s a salad or a hearty main.
Our bill, including teas and excluding service, came to €52.35.
59 Harcourt Street,
T: (01) 476 4667