Sometimes I'd love to understanding the reasoning employed when naming a new restaurant or venue. Do you keep it local and simple, or do you go for an abstract name? That's what I asked myself when Peruke & Periwig opened on Dawson Street, in the former premises of a travel agents. What would powdered wigs have to do with cocktails, drinks and food? (It turns out that long before the travel agents, this venue housed a wigmaker).
Downstairs is a small bar, finished in dark wood and copper, while the rows of mannequin heads sporting periwigs perched up high made me feel all French Revolution. The narrow stairs leads to two floors lavishly decorated in red velvet, gilt-framed portrait paintings (with more wigs) and marble-topped tables. It's all very lush and very comfortable. Those of you familiar with the Liquor Rooms on Wellington Quay and the Vintage Cocktail Club in Temple Bar will recognise the vibe, only here it's been amped up to decadent levels.Note that reservations are probably required on weekend nights but a chat with the host might free up a table for a quick drink.
|Leather bound cocktail menus|
|Plush red velvet, old portraits and dark wood interior|
The cocktail menu is quite well designed with unique takes on classic drinks. Each cocktail description is accompanied by a reference to the associated classic drink from which it derives. The "Zed's Dead" was a delicious twist on a Last Word, featuring gunpowder infused gin, Taylor's Velvet Falernum, Luxardo Maraschino and Lime (€12). Tequila lovers like me will enjoy the "Dia Del Meurtos", a margarita made with Olmeca Resposado, Earl Grey infused Cointreau, agave, bitters and lemon with a salt rim (€12).
|Zed's Dead and Dia del Muertos|
Over the course of two separate visits to Peruke & Periwig, we tried out a selection of the food menu. On both occasions I ordered the excellent risotto balls, richly flavoured with wild mushrooms, served with wilted baby spinach, delicate poached quail eggs and truffle oil (€11). Rocket salad was served with crispy bacon, eggs and celery (boo!) all coated in a ranch dressing (€8). Crispy pickled red peppers served with house ranch dip made a great snack alongside the cocktails (€4).
On one visit, Himself ordered the burger, served with tomato chutney, Gruyère cheese, green peppercorn mayo and shoestring fries (€18). At this price point, you'd expect an excellent burger, which didn't quite happen. It was a decent burger, but the bun disintegrated long before he'd finished the burger, plus the shoestring fries had been replaced with regular fries. Anyone who orders a dish on the basis of shoestring fries will understand our disappointment.
|Wild mushroom risotto balls with truffle and quails eggs|
The bartenders here know their stuff and every drink we sampled was well made, well balanced and tasty. But short of bringing a measuring jug into the bar and measuring the damn things, I'm just going on my instinct here in saying that the drinks are small. And small drinks with a €12 price tag are hard to stomach. In fact, they're rather sobering, which surely defeats the purpose of hard spirits.
Cocktails shouldn't be cheap. A good bartender with years of experience and knowledge, quality spirits and ingredients and a comfortable venue all cost money. And I will happily pay for a good drink. But, flaithulach and all as I am, I don't like to feel over-charged. This isn't a sensation unique to Peruke & Periwig and charging a mere euro (or two) less per drink would fix this perception in many bars.
Service was excellent throughout and the kitchen is cooking tasty food that will surely hit a sweet spot after a few drinks. Lashings of red velvet may not be to everyone's taste, but I found it a cocooned, relaxing experience. However, the combination of cocktail size and price meant that the experience was tempered with some disappointment.
Peruke & Periwig, Dawson Street, Dublin 2
Tel: +353 (0)1 672 7190