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, December 1, 2012

[Review] El Toro Bravo, Portobello, Dublin 2

Sometimes when eating out, you desire lots of little things. You want to be a butterfly, flying daintily from dish to dish, grazing from each, before moving on to the next tempting bite. When you feel like this, there is no better cuisine than Spanish tapas. Whenever we go for tapas, we always order our favourites dishes of patatas bravas and garlic prawns, but I'm always on the lookout for dishes that are a little different. 

El Toro Bravo is a relatively new restaurant on Dublin's South Richmond Street. This area is slowly improving and becoming a decent destination for a casual night out. You can have a pint in a proper pub at O'Connells, or eat at Rotana, Seagrass or even Kebabish Original. I've eaten at El Toro Bravo before, but didn't write about it. However, on a more recent visit, we sampled a good range of dishes, and hence plenty of photos. The interior is all dark wood with simple tables and chairs and it felt a little cold to me. We managed to get one of the more isolated tables, giving us a little space in this small room.

Pan con Jamón was for him (€4.00) featuring two slices of toasted bread rubbed with garlic and tomato topped with slices of Iberian ham. I really love the Spanish version of black pudding, so I ordered reveulto de morcilla leonesa, or scrambled eggs with morcilla, served atop a potato nest (€6.00). The eggs were a little too scrambled and dry for my liking, but the portion was generous and the advertised nest of potato strips added some nice bulk to the dish. Chistorra or pan-fried spicy pork sausages, were delicious, spiked with smoky paprika flavour (€5.00).  A large disc of goat's cheese (queso de cabra) was served warm, topped with a double whammy of onion marmalade and carmelised onions on more potato nest (€5.75)
Stitch and Bear - El Toro Bravo - Selection of dishes
Clockwise from top left: scrambled eggs with morcilla, pan con jamon, goat's cheese with onions and spicy Spanish sausages 
The patatas bravas, fried potato pieces with spicy tomato sauce, were at the expected standard (€4.50), while gambas al ajilo rounded out the savoury section of our meal (€7.15). This generous bowl of garlicky prawns hit all the right notes. We completed our meal with two desserts from the chalkboard offering of homemade desserts, several of which were advertised as being gluten-free. In my case, I had the tarta de Santiago, a marzipan-like almond cake while himself chose the somewhat pedestrian cheesecake. 
Stitch and Bear - El Toro Bravo - Selection of dishes
Clockwise from top left: Patatas bravas, gambas  al aijilo, cheesecake and tarta de Santiago
El Toro Bravo strikes me as a neighbourhood joint, a place to get a Spanish fix without getting all dolled up for the trip to fancier places in town. Occasional live flamenco and Spanish music adds atmosphere, while there is outside seating for those sunnier days. El Toro Bravo often runs deals in conjunction with daily deal websites, so it's possible to eat here at a very decent price. Just don't expect too much fanciness for that decent price. 

El Toro Bravo, 27 South Richmond Street, Dublin 2
Tel: +353 (0)1 475 8460
URL: eltorobravo.weebly.com
Twitter: @torobravodublin
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