Chances are, you’re already familiar with Gourmet Food Parlour. After ten successful years, what began as a petite tapas bar in Dun Laoighaire is now a collection of eateries dotted across Dublin, meaning you’re never too far away from a “GFP”. The latest addition to the empire popped up in Santry earlier this year and we welcomed it with open arms, just a short drive from TheTaste office and a handy spot for a delicious lunch.
Gourmet Food Parlour has made a name for itself for serving tapas style dishes and menus with extensive nods to provenance, from breakfast to lunch with a renowned weekend brunch in between. Each restaurant has recently expanded their evening offering to include a selection of hearty mains and thus become as much a dinner time destination as a trusted lunch haunt.
With that in mind, we popped up to Santry on a recent evening post work to wind down after a long week as the first real cold snap of the year began to bite bitterly and temperatures dropped dramatically – a delicious port in the storm was needed.
While its business park location may be unassuming, the interior of the newest GFP is perfectly mismatched and stylish with mix of powder blue Cinderella style glass top tables and rustic wooden ones, with the odd fuschia throne and plenty of candle lanterns – kind of like a furniture shop that would leave you bankrupt for the want of every item.
Small plates are varied and well priced with distinct Mediterranean flair crossed with traditional crowd-pleaser Irish favourites. We opt to sample a couple as starters, having narrowly missed a varied early bird offering of two courses for €23 or three for €28, including a glass of wine.
Meltingly tender Slow Roast Lamb (€11) and creamy feta are always happy bedfellows and a skillet of this perfect pair, with a pop of acidity from vinegary roasted red pepper went down well and set the tone for what was to come, a generous and flavourful dish to kick off proceedings.
Goats cheese and beetroot never fails to deliver that sweet and salty hit my tastebuds crave. In this case crisp panko crumbed Goats Cheese Bon Bons (€10) and beetroot, both earthy in roasted chunks and sharply sweet in purée form, nailed the combination.
Moving on to mains as the pretty dining room began to fill up, my Duck Confit (€19) arrived to a gasp – not one but two crisp legs propped up on a generous bed of horseradish mash and plenty of purple-hued and festively spiced red cabbage, it was enough to feed two greedy souls.
I have on numerous occasions deviated from tradition serving duck for my Yuletide feast, and this dish reminded me why fall apart with a fork tender duck leg flanked by supremely satisfying crackling-style skin will always trump turkey’s limp limbs. My dining companion was more than happy to help out with this plump portion as it felt like a sin to leave any behind – perfectly executed and warming winter comfort food, plated.
A less overtly indulgent dish across the table proved that GFP can be a haven for those looking to enjoy flavoursome dishes without a food coma and Pan-Seared Salmon (€) ticked the boxes of crisp skin and flakey opacity within, well cooked atop lemony lentils with just the right amount of bite and crispy kale. Saintly without the suffering.
Meandering back to the sinful, hearing the Cheesecake of the Day was Ferrero Rocher, the urge to let GFP spoil us was too great. Two spoons made quick work of a surprisingly light vanilla scented disk on a hazelnut biscuit base, topped with a halo of chocolate and a rocher crown. For once I was pleased dessert wasn’t too densely chocolatey, and this finished dinner on a satisfyingly sweet note.
After a procession of comforting classics, you can’t help but feel like the Lorraines (best friends and owners Heskin and Byrne) have fine-tuned the GFP formula to make it the perfect neighbourhood go-to anywhere in the city.
I take comfort in the knowledge that an area once derelict of solid dining options has come to life with GFP’s arrival, and the dining room is as packed and alive with locals as it would be during peak lunch service, as we settle our bill and reluctantly head out back into the cold, well fed and happy.
Our bill, for two starters, two mains, a shared dessert and two glasses of wine came to €79.
Gourmet Food Parlour
Old Airport Road
T: (01) 968 5400
Growing up with the name Darina, I was constantly asked if I could cook like my namesake. I am the only person to have contested both Masterchef and the Great Irish Bake Off and am passionate about discovering and creating delicious things – I can sometimes be caught in the act on TV3’s Six O’Clock Show or RTE Today. Working with TheTaste allows me to satisfy this craving and marries my food fascination with my love of writing and ranting. Follow me on my pursuit of deliciousness.