Sunday, March 17, 2013

[Review] Bang, Merrion Row, Dublin 2

The last week in February saw the bi-annual Dine in Dublin taking place in restaurants all throughout the capital. I have to admit to being a little skeptical of events like this as I believe restaurants should be offering value menus all year around, and not just during promotional periods. There was some really good value to be had though. Early in the week, myself and several work colleagues enjoyed an excellent 3 courses for the grand total of €25 in the Whitefriar Grill on Aungier Street. 

On Sunday night we headed to Bang Cafe to experience their special Dine in Dublin menu, a five course tasting menu priced at €39.95 with an additional wine pairing available for €20. We chose to eat upstairs looking out onto Merrion Row. It was a perfect spot for one of our favourite pastimes, people watching. If you're ever walking by a restaurant and you feel a little paranoid about staring at the diners, then don't. The odds are that I'll be there, staring back out even more.

We received some homemade brown bread, which was followed by the first course of butternut squash soup with wild garlic and wild mushroom. The vivid colours of orange and green translated into smoother and richer flavours on the palate. A second course of Clare Island salmon came with a grainy black sesame paste, which bore an unfortunate resemblance to a mud smear. It tasted well though, combining nicely with the pickled cucumber. Special mention here for the cooling horseradish snow. 
Stitch and Bear - Bang Restaurant - Butternut squash soup
Butternut squash soup with wild garlic and wild mushrooms
Stitch and Bear - Bang Restaurant - Clare Island salmon
Clare Island salmon with black sesame puree, kimchi cucumber, local radish and horseradish
Slow-cooked beef fell apart into shreds with gelatinous ease, and although the sauce was strong, bordering on bitter, it worked well with the excellent champ mash. A simple cheese board was elevated by the presence of a homemade puffed cracker and truffled honey. This was so good that in future, I shall demand that all cheese boards contain truffled honey. Finally we finished with an airy chocolate pavĂ©, enhanced by a juicy mango sorbet, salted caramel and crunchy nut pieces. A bottle of Domain Feline Jourdan Picpoul de Pinet (€32) was an easy drinking companion to our meal. 
Stitch and Bear - Bang Restaurant - Slow cooked beef
14 hour slow cooked beef, rainbow carrots, celeriac puree and champ mash
Stitch and Bear - Bang Restaurant - Cheeseboard
Cheese board with homemade crackers, grapes and truffled honey
Stitch and Bear - Bang Restaurant - Chocolate pave
Dark chocolate pave with mango sorbet and salt caramel
This was really good food, well cooked and well presented from a team headed by chef Phil Yeung. Bang restaurant was a true Celtic cub, and even though that era has passed, it still remains a fashionable dining spot. Service was smooth throughout the meal, if a little determined to push brown bread on us. The tempo of the courses was well-judged, something which is really important when enjoying a multi course tasting menu. When all of the above is combined with a sleek dining room, the end result is a good dining experience. 

Time for a witty pun - the pre-theatre menu offers plenty of Bang for your buck, but dining a la carte requires bucks for your Bang. More impressively, Bang's business lunch menu guarantees your single course within 45 minutes, or else it's free. 

Stitch and Bear would like to disclose that our food (not drink) at Bang Restaurant was free, courtesy of a competition win on Twitter. 

Bang, 11 Merrion Row, Dublin 2
Tel: +353 (0)1 400 4229
URL: www.bangrestaurant.com
Twitter: @BangRestauarant1Bang on Urbanspoon

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