10 years ago two best friends took a big risk, making the jump from private catering to opening their first restaurant, statistics show most will fail within their first five years, not for these savvy entrepreneurs though as three weeks ago Lorraine Heskins and Lorraine Byrne opened their fifth Gourmet Food Parlour in Santry.
The dynamic duo are well known in food circles and have been hugely successful in delivery a high quality casual dining experience. So when news arrived that that the guys were transforming a venue in Northwood, that once housed the Asian fusion Mandalay restaurant, this was greeted with much excitement by the locals.
Overlooking plenty of greenery and a picturesque little manmade lake it is surprising no one had ever thought of installing a terrace onto the property. Never ones to miss an opportunity the Lorraines seized the chance to incorporate plenty of picnic style outdoor seating and have created a beautiful outdoor space to enjoy a morning coffee or enjoy a lazy lunch.
Inside locals may find it hard to recognise it as the same building, gone are the veiled curtains, now replaced with light flooding in through the bright, modern space. In true Gourmet Food Parlour fashion there are quirky pops of colour dotted throughout, with comfortable seating that it well spaced out with plenty of instagrammable backdrops.
The menu is a mixture of modern tapas dishes with a few neighbourhood staples thrown in, most notably the pricing is spot on. Good quality food at good prices are getting harder and harder to find in Dublin and its always positive to see such a well priced menu.
We started out with some homemade Sour Dough Bread (€5), hummus, pesto and red pepper tapenade to share over a glass of crisp, Butterfly Ridge Riesling – Gewürztraminer (€7)
At present they can only serve Prosecco based cocktails however once their spirits license is through you can expect some delicious creations from the bar staff that we have sampled in several of their other venues.
We decided to resist the urge to sample the Beef Burger with Hickory bacon and instead leaned towards some of their small plates beginning with a superb Walnut & Gorgonzola Ravioli (€8); drizzled with a pesto cream and served simply with a sprinkling of crushed pine nuts.
Tiger Prawns Pil Pil (€9) is one of our favourite dishes and we love a good kick of spice, on the night we dined the chilli was however a little light handed, although the prawns were cooked beautifully and were a pleasing match for the crushed avocado dip.
If ever there is any mention of Clonakilty Black Pudding (€9) you can be sure we will be first in line to order it, served with scallops and it is an absolute dead cert. This for us was the highlight of the night. Some dishes deserve to be respected and need the absolute bare minimum to be absolutely memorable once cooked well, pudding, scallops and a delicate minted pea puree are a prime example of Irish produce at its finest.
The scallops were never going to be outdone but the balance of some of the healthier sounding dished proved appealing, a plate of Slow Cook Lamb (€11) arrived on a stunning ceramic plate, hidden between a sea of pink beetroot & goats cheese puree and topped with a delightful spiced couscous. One dish that is a must try is the waffle fries, trust us, just order them and you will see why.
We finished with a classic dessert of glazed Lemon Tart (€6.50), a tasty bite with a delicious sharpness to it, served with an uncomplicated white chocolate ice cream and some summer berries, an ideal palate cleanser and the perfect ending to a really enjoyable meal.
Although only open a few weeks and with many new staff, general manger Piotr has carved out an impressive team who seem to genuinely enjoyed what they do, service is friendly, fun and attentive, just the way we like it.
Gourmet Food Parlour is more the a welcome addition to the neighbourhood, it is filling a void of a quality all day eatery that this area has lacked for far too many years and judging from the amount of diners they had to turn away on the night we think the future is more than bright for this little ray of sunshine in Santry.
Dinner for two with one beer, one glass of wine, a bottle of Sparkling water and an espresso came to €75.25
Gourmet Food Parlour
Old Airport Road
T: (01) 968 5400