When friends asked us last week if we fancied trying out the latest hotspot Luna on Dublin’s Drury Street, have to admit we were slightly hesitant. I guess the old saying “never judge a book by it’s cover” springs to mind as expectation and reality can often be two very different things. First thing to point out is just how different Luna is to it’s sister restaurant Super Miss Sue. Luna is like the grown up, sophisticated sibling who will be the apple of her parents eye and this we liked a lot.
As Luna only opens Wednesday to Saturday from 5pm, it’s no surprise to find bookings here are like gold dust and we were very fortunate to secure one for their last slots at 9.30. Walking down the short but steep staircase we couldn’t get over the amount of people queuing to get in, a sign of a return to booming restaurants times and a venue in great demand. Apart from the sexy, red naked lady greeting us at the door (don’t worry it’s just a statue) something else caught our eye. The debonair and charismatic Declan Maxwell; ex Chapter One, as front of house, beaming with happiness and looking right at home, quite a coo for John Farrell and we can’t think of anyone better to head up a cool joint like this.
Unsurprisingly the room was packed and laid out beautifully with huge, comfortable leather booths which wrap around you like a warm hug. We were seated in front of the well stocked bar and overlooking rows of tempting looking parma ham hanging from the ceiling and had a bird’s eye view of every delicious plate leaving the kitchen.
The menu reflects the setting perfectly, think upmarket Italian Steakhouse. Lots of cured hams and meats, with a generous sprinkling of seafood thrown in. We started off with some Achill Oysters in a shallot red wine vinegar courtesy of the chef, a great way to kick of the evening when paired with some bubbles. For starters we chose a mixture of Beef Carpaccio with warm bone marrow and a summer truffle, which proved to be a unanimous winner at the table, Tomato and Mozzarella Salad and Crab Tortellini mixed with Broccoli Rabe which had a delicious bitterness to it. At €24 it could be viewed more as a main option and it should be noted there are many more affordable options such as the Oxtail Minestrone €9 or even just some Sourdough and butter €3.50 but by God was it worth it. Blending this with the bottle of Weingut Geil Riesling we had a match made in heaven.
The mains are where Luna really excels; Roast Tail of Lobster, Turbot Roasted over Coals, or a succulent Pork Rack. Based on our dashing waiter’s suggestion we opted for the very indulgent Veal Chop Marsala; which depending on the piece, price will vary, however we were forewarned of the €56 price point and assured two would certainly not go hungry sharing this. True to his word, a mini haunch of veal that King Henry VIII would be proud of arrived, with leafs of charred onions, spinach and sweet onion relish and an added side of truffle pasta which is a must try when you dine here as it is truly exceptional.
Sticking with the meat theme our companions on the night, tanning queen Jennifer Swaine and her husband Neil shared an equally decadent dish of Cote de Boeuf cooked medium to rare, with some crunchy fries on the side. Once again a triumph in the carnivore stakes, the quality of the produce is second to none and clearly Head Chef Karl Whelan, also ex Chapter One, knows how to bring out the absolute best in these cuts.
Having spent the evening being tempted by the sight of the dessert trolley slowly passing by every 20 minutes there was never a question of dessert being skipped, even after the meat challenge. So two generous creamy chunks of Baked New York Cheesecake with zesty lemon curd were swiftly ordered while we polished off our smooth bottle of Les Granges 2013.
We left Luna feeling satisfied, impressed and slightly intoxicated, more so with the infectious atmosphere than the wine. Not something easily achieved but then again John Farrell does appear to have the midas touch in Dublin and knows how to create something people cannot seem to get enough of.
This is a Unique Taste we highly recommend.
2-3 Drury Street
T: +353 1 679 9009
Keith & Jules Mahon are the founders of TheTaste. We want TheTaste to be a culinary kaleidoscope to champion every taste, food, wine, cocktails, whiskey, etc. We are delighted to be part of such a creative and fast moving industry and are very passionate about sharing with you our unique journey around Ireland finding the best culinary hotspots.