What do you get when you cross Shelbourne Road with Bath Ave … well probably some of the best eateries any neighbourhood can boast of quite frankly.
After a recent event one evening last week we thankfully had the foresight to book ahead for a table for two in one of the most popular gastro pubs in the country – The Chop House, which you have possibly passed a thousand times, right of the junction of this busy hub of activity close to the Aviva.
Given its location it’s no surprise that we arrived to a buzzing full house on a Thursday night, although billed as a gastro bar The Chop House has always felt more restaurant than bar to us, even though there are one or two sipping on pints out to the front of the conservatory area.
Chef and owner Kevin Arundel opened the doors in 2009 and has evolved the simple concept of The Chop House to showcase pub grub at a very different level. At the time this was quite revolutionary, but in 2017 competition is steep, especially in the leafy suburbs of D4, so how is Michelin trained Arundel managing to still pull in the crowds ? Eat here and you will see why.
Arundel never wanted Michelin stars for The Chop House, his passion was to create hearty plates of top quality Irish produce that could be enjoyed with a pint or a decent glass of wine.
As we are shown to our seat in the bright and airy conservatory; which is soon to be expanded, much to the delight of some of the locals who often struggle to get a table, we can hear an infectious laugh from Arundel in the distance.
The Chop House is renowned for its “Meat Boards” with some of the best cuts of meat you can lay your eyes on but it is also revered for its service, which Arundel is at the heart of. He has created a fun atmosphere for his punters and his staff, which is why he has managed to maintain such a busy trade eight years on.
Our friendly server on the night, Conor, went through the many seafood food specials on offer and presented us with the now infamous “meat board” from which you get to pick your cut before it is seared in the pan.
For starters we began with a simple dish of four plump Carlingford Rock Oysters priced at €3 each and served with simple but zingy Thai dressing and some lemon. Head Chef Kevin Gallagher keeps things simple and lets the quality of the produce do all the talking.
Across the other side of our table lay one of our most loved dishes at the Chop House – Grill Octopus Salad (€12), no baby octopus here, this is the real deal, generous tentacles that would challenge many to cook, but Gallagher manages to maintain a delicious texture that works a treat with the black olive tapenade and tomato salsa.
Our mission for mains and believe me we certainly chose to accept it, was to demolish their 1kg Prime Hereford Cote de Boeuf (€70), there is something so decadent about this beast of a dish that makes it so irresistible, although our neighbours did look slightly horrified when they witnessed the ferocious nature of how we managed to consume this meltingly good meat.
This much beef needs some serious accompaniments, hence why our table was spilling over with food at this stage, not a bad complaint, garlic green beans, twice cooked chips, onion marmalade and a choice of sauces to fight over.
Any good cut of meat deserves a decent bottle of wine to christen it and we chose an excellent Ripasso Superiore della Valpolicella 2014 from Cantine Zeni (€48), a robust red with velvet notes which paired beautifully with the cote. It is worth noting the excellent list on offer in The Chop House with many bottles exclusively imported by Boutique Wines who are well know for their eclectic range.
Any human that can muster up the strength for dessert after that feed has our serious respect unfortunately we were defeated by the Cote and instead pledged to return for dessert another time.
You know you are onto a winner when you have a culinary genius like Anthony Bourdain sample your food and claim “it was the best fucking meal I have eaten in Dublin,” hard to top that and hard to disagree, so don’t take our word for it, just get your ass to The Chop House and find out for yourself!
Dinner for two including wine came to €142.00
The Chop House
2 Shelbourne Road,
T: +353 1 6602390