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!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Port House Ibericos, Dundrum

Earlier this year, I received an invitation to attend a session of the Campo Viejo Tapas Trail which included a pit stop in the excellent Bar Pintxo in Temple Bar. This is part of the Port House group of venues, all of which are cosy, darkly romantic and very tasty. After this visit, I had marked my to-do list with the name of the latest Port House venture - the Port House Ibericos, located in the busy and movied-heaven of Dundrum Town Centre.

Despite being part of the newest and shiniest shopping centre in Ireland, the Port House Ibericos is housed in the Pembroke Cottages, which were a series of 3 developments built between the 1870s and 1880s by Lord Pembroke as part of his philantrophic efforts to provide housing for his estate workers and labourers. These charming cottages have been carefully restored under strict guidelines from Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, providing a relaxing contrast to the glass and steel of Dundrum Town Centre.

Inside, the Port House Ibericos follows the same guidelines that have proved so popular in the other locations. Lighting is low, with fat candles providing most of the ambient light. Tables are small and cosy, nestled into nooks and crannies. Romantic and cosy is the vibe here. When we arrived (approx. 21.30 on a Friday night) the restaurant was just at capacity. We were invited to take a seat at the bar, but thankfully, we were quickly seated. Other later arrivals weren't as lucky as us, with many having to wait for longish periods.

The menu is a double-printed sheet of A4 paper, which later doubled up as a mat to absorb all the  inevitable oil and foodstuff spillages. (In case you didn't know, my enthusiasm for my dinner often leads to "incidents" - I shall say no more). We were unsure as to how hungry we were, so we decided to order just a few tapas, promising ourselves that we could order more later. 

Service proved to be quite slow, although we received our drinks quickly enough. He chose a bottle of Estrella (expensively priced at €5.00), while I chose a glass of Vina Esmeralda Gew├╝rztraminer (€5.60). This was a really refreshing, light wine with delicate floral and honey flavours. Between the tasty wine and the long wait for food, my glass was bordering on empty when we finally got our food. 
Stitch and Bear - Tapas selection at Port House Ibericos Dundrum
Our tapas selection
Starting from the bottom and moving clockwise, our tapas were as follows:
  • Garbanzos - chickpeas with black pudding (5.35). The black pudding crumbs added a gentle warmth to the bulk of the chickpeas, which did require some additional salt. 
  • Gambas Pil Pil (7.25) came in a dish of garlickly oil, which still had the light flavour of green olive oil. Very moreish! 
  • Patatas Mojo (€3.85) - The potates had a light golden crust with a fluffly inside, and the paprika-alond mojo sauce made for an interesting alternative to aioli and bravas sauce. 
  • Caballa - makarel fillets on toast with tomato (6.30). This was last, but most definitely not least. The mackarel was outrageously fresh, with juicy flesh and full of sea-flavour. A little dish of these would make for a fine lunch any day of the week. 
Despite our original thoughts to perhaps order more tapas, we found ourselves quite full after these dishes. The carby nature of the chickpeas and potatoes provided enough bulk, while the rich oil of the prawns filled us up. Slow service aside, the tapas were excellent and the best part of the night came with the bill. Our total for the night was just €33.35!

The Port House Ibericos, 5-6 Pembroke Cottages, Ballinteer Rd., Dublin 16.
Tel: +353 (0)1 216 6133


WiseM├│na said...

Wow - that might be the best value for money 'tapas' I have ever seen. I think Estrella is €5.50 or €6 in most of the places in town.......yes. Expensive. But good.

Caroline@Bibliocook said...

That tapas trail was so much fun! Sounds like you enjoyed your food at the Dundrum outpost of the The Port House too.

dudara said...

We met the manager as well - who we had seen in Bar Pintxo on the tapas trail! I really liked this spot. Can definitely see myself stopping there for a few tapa while shopping.

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