Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Cafe Novo, Dublin

Cafe Novo is the newest change to the Westbury Hotel in Dublin. It's been getting good press and I decided to stop in one afternoon for a coffee while shopping in the post-Christmas sales. The bar was fairly busy for the time of day, so it seems that Cafe Novo must be doing something right.

It's nicely decorated in dark wood and modern touches and muted lighting. As all the tables were occupied, I had to take a high seat at one of the large communal tables. I must say that although the high chair looked quite stylish, the fruit-basket wire-mesh chair wasn't that comfortable in the long run. I ordered a cafe latte, which I thought was a touch expensive at 3.40 but in reality turned out to be quite large. I'd say that I sat there for the best part of an hour, relaxing, reading my book, making some notes and just enjoying the calm atmosphere of the place.

I then received a call from my other half and we decided to have a quick bite to eat in Cafe Novo. I had been watching food as it was delivered to other tables and I was looking forward to trying some dishes. When he arrived, we switched tables to a window seat and after reading the inspiring menu, we ordered a Thai beef salad (starter) and crispy squid rings to share between the two of us. We also had a beer and a glass of the house white.

A word about the menu - prices are competitive for the location and a lot of the dishes will appeal to diners. Classic and traditional dishes dominate and several dishes are available as sharing platters. The squid turned out to be perfectly cooked but suffered from the fact that the crispy coating kept falling off. This meant that I ended up eating squid on its own and then picking up the crispy coating afterwards. The accompanying garlic aioli was delicious. The squid was served with one of the latest fads - chips in a paper cone. I'm amazed that there are people in the world actually manufacturing chip-cone holders. However, the chips appeared to be of the frozen variety and would have been so much nicer if a little more handcut. The Thai beef salad was a bit confusing as it was essentially red onion, tomato and seared beef. It could have benefited from a few salad leaves. The beef was seared just a little short of medium and sliced into the salad. It was tangy but benefited from a squeeze of the lime wedge that came with the squid.

Overall, I thought that the food was good. I think that it's probably a Euro or two more expensive than it should be but I'd have no reservations about going once more.

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