Temple Bar can be a tough nut to crack for reputable restaurants. While tourist-centric eateries are a dime a dozen, there aren’t many restaurants that locals flock to. However, rumblings of a new opening had circulated through the air.
Following the closure of Nick Munier’s Avenue, the Crow Street locale sat idle until now. It’s so secret that Munier found the locale a difficult spot, and whilst his vision of a ‘one-stop-shop’ style venue fell at many hurdles, the venue has been given a new lease of life.
The latest addition to the dining scene comes from David Coffey and Damien Quinn, who also own 105 Café and The Sussex Restaurant on Leeson Street. The idea behind the venue is to give diners Irish soul food with an American twist.
The interiors have been designed by O’Donnell O’Neill, the hospitality designers responsible for venues such as Vintage Cocktail Club and The Stella Theatre to name a few. The three-story building has exposed brick walls and timber floors, giving a warmth and vintage feel to the room.
The walls are adorned with bespoke artwork collected from Bauhaus Archive Gallery in Berlin. Upstairs there is an elegant lounge with simple and sophisticated furnishings, ideal for a pre or post dinner drink. An extension to the venue’s two additional floors is in the works by owners Coffey and Quinn.
When we arrived for dinner at 7.00pm, there was a handful of diners scattered throughout the room, but as the evening went on, the entire dining room was full – no easy feat in Temple Bar on a Wednesday evening.
For my starter, I chose the Braised Pork Shoulder Soft Shell Tacos (€8.95). Two substantial sized tacos in blue corn tortillas were served with pickled cabbage, drizzled with chipotle aioli and garnished with lime and coriander, a tasty plate of food that was thoroughly enjoyed.
Before I could even snap a picture my eager dining companion had nibbled a few tasty morsels of her Spiced Crispy Calamari (10.00). Served with a refreshing pickled ginger salad and a pleasant soy and honey dipping sauce bringing the entire dish together.
Across the table sat a Grilled Dry Aged 10oz New York Striploin Steak (€28.50). A simple dish that won’t be rocking any culinary waves but a perfectly good piece of meat. Cooked medium rare and seasoned well, it was served with roast tomato with rocket and parmesan salad.
I opted for the Monkfish Scampi (€19.00), a lighter sounding option on the menu full of tempting comfort food treats. From the kitchen out came a pretty looking plate of delicately battered monkfish served with pea guacamole, lemon and basil aioli and hand cut chips.
The monkfish was lightly battered and the aioli was a nice mouthful of food. The pea guacamole was an unusual addition, with raw red onion flecked through the mix. The jury is still out on this.
Each dish comes with a portion of fries and we couldn’t even polish off one portion – perhaps smaller portions would be more suitable?
To finish our meal, we decided to split a dessert of a classic Crème Brûlée (8.00). Served with buttery homemade cookie and a tart plum compote that balanced out the richness of the cream-laden brûlée.
In total, dinner for two people with two glasses of frizzante and a bottle of wine came to €127.00.
Given the new status of Crow Street, you have to allow for the restaurant to find its groove and sort through any teething problems. The service cannot be faulted, attentive waiters with good knowledge of the wine list are, for me, the current stars of the venue. Only time will tell if this cobble-locked Temple Bar spot will stand up to the stiff competition and the tricky location.
Crow Street Restaurant
1 Crow Street
T: +353 1 441 1588
FEATURE BY SINÉAD SMYTH