Walking past the black, wooden-clad facade of no.11 Dawson street, that houses Peruke & Periwig, you could be forgiven for the presumption that this old-timely building is somewhat out of place. However, catch a glimpse through a pane of the front door on any Saturday night and you are bound to find a room brimful of giddy purveyors of the some of the most assorted and exciting inebriations Dublin city has to offer. Having been fully retrofitted to reflect the heritage of the wig shop that had previously occupied this turn of the century building, it sends you back in time as you perch yourself at the bar or grab a stool.
Looking for something sour to get me salivating ahead of our meal, I go for ‘I Fought The Law’-€13, Chivas Regal, Bulleit Rye, Dolin Brianco, Peruke’s very own pomegranate grenadine, made freshly in house. With further additions of lemon, whites grapefruit and peach bitters it is a full-on explosion on the palate initially but actually works rather well as something quite refreshing.
Our host Andrew regales us with stories of how the dusty old wigs decorating the high shelves of the bar are real and authentic and how two disappeared under suspicious circumstances the previous Christmas. As we go upstairs and take our seats by our window table overlooking a bustling Dawson Street, Andrew explains that the banister in our hands is in-fact the original and over one hundred years old. The sheer opulence of the room and the attention to detail that has gone into the retrofitting of the décor is outstanding. The Pre-Theatre menu offers a trio of choices for each course with two courses for €25 or the full three for €30.
With Soup and Fishcakes being the first two options for starters, it is the Crispy Hen’s Egg that immediately strikes a chord with both of us. Served with buttered asparagus, black pudding crumble and a red pepper purée, our hearts break at simultaneously slicing through our crispy centrepieces only to find a solid yolk and no gushing river of yellow richness. However all longings for a runny yoke are quickly forgotten as we begin to mop up the vibrant red pureé instead. But it’s the black pudding crumble that really wins us over here as the earthiness brings the whole dish together.
Always being a sucker for chorizo, I’m drawn towards the Chicken Pappardelle, which delivers juicy pieces of sautéed chicken breast enveloped in a smoky chorizo cream and entangled in beautiful thick strand of fresh tasty pasta. In true Italian style this dish forgoes elegance or refinement for heartiness and flavour.
Being a big fan of lamb, my accomplice for the evening struggles to hide the grin on her face when she spots the Braised Lamb Shank. Served with the creamiest spring onion mash, glistening braising jus and a scattering of perfectly cooked honey roast vegetables there can be no mistake that this is a feast for carnivores. I’m sure that it is only the disapproving stares of the upper class aristocrats adorning the walls that kill the urge for most to grab the shank by the bone and devour in caveman style. There is some fine butchery and attention to detail in this dish that the protruding bone has been French trimmed to perfection.
After a pair of such generous and wholesome mains, we indulge in the digestive properties of a second round of cocktails. We really get the after show party started with our very own smoke machine as ‘Pass The Dutchie’-€13 is brought to the table and infused smoke is carefully piped and held beneath the concealing napkin cover of the margarita glass. Taken from the Greatest Hits menu, ‘Corner of Bow Street & St James’s Gate’ comes highly recommended form Andrew upon hearing of my penchant for an old fashioned, and credit to out host this Jameson and Guinness syrup concoction with chocolate bitters really hits home with a serious whack of booze. This is right up the top of the list for me as far as whiskey based cocktails go.
Keeping with the alcohol theme, we call for the Guinness Choc Pot, served in a glass just big enough to go digging for treats with your silver spoon, the deep chocolaty dessert comes with a raspberry reduction, ripple ice-cream and some kirsch cherries to help counteract the richness. On the opposite side of the table the Sticky Toffee Pudding lives up to it’s name as it threatens to stick to the roof of your moth. However the threat does not last long as it is quickly neutralised by a pair of battling silverware.
As we finish up our drinks and round off our evening we a treated to a private viewing of the library bar on the upper floor which, equipped with a fairly unique piano key bar, serves as a regal and elegant function room for hire but has been know to serve as a second dining room during busy times and as we make our way back down the flights of stairs, wrapping around the ancient banisters, we wonder how many more rooms like this could there be in the city?
Peruke & Periwig,
31 Dawson St,
T: (01) 672 7190
Having previously devoted every ounce of his spare time to music, Tony is more commonly found these days in a kitchen than on a stage. With experience in writing on festivals and shows around the country he has recently turned his pen to more culinary exposés. With a particular penchant for craft beer he can often be spotted travelling from one bar to another in search of the latest brew to hit the market.