I've driven through Donnybrook many many times since I first moved to Dublin, but I've only started to walk through it in recent months. It's quite amazing what you will notice when passing by on foot, compared to speeding by in a car. The long-term residents of Donnybrook won't be surprised to learn that they have a fire station right in the middle of the village, but it was news to me. (And thankfully, it's only a few minutes away in case of a kitchen disaster).
Bakers, tucked away on the Crescent, was another recent discovery on my Grand Tour of Donnybrook. It doesn't look very large from the outside, but once through the doors, it opens wide up into a bright warehouse-style setting. At the front, there's a small coffee bar and counter area, suitable for quick pitstops, but then transitions to a mixture of tables and booths. It has the grocery store vibe that I've seen in other restaurants, where shelves are lined with food and drink to purchase for home.
|The interior of Bakers Donnybrook|
|Bread and selection of dips|
We were delighted to be seated at one of the large booths, which could comfortably seat four. As there was just the two of us, we can plenty of elbow room to spread out and relax. The evening menu is a mixture of classic, bistro dishes, which perfectly suits the feeling of a neighbourhood restaurant. A generous plate of olives, oil and bread gave us something to occupy our hungry mouths as we made our selections. The Early Bird menu runs from Wednesday to Saturday until 8pm with two/three courses for €19.95/€22.95, with à la carte prices afterwards.
My starter of pan-fried prawns, brightly coloured in a harissa oil with thin slices of pineapple carpaccio was quite a fresh and tasty dish (€9.50). Peppery rocket added another dimension to the spice and sweetness in a dish that was pleasantly surprising (especially if you don't believe in the combination of seafood and fruit). A perfect, classic Niçoise salad came laden with seared tuna pieces (€10.00) along with the usual egg and green bean components.
|Pan fried prawns with harissa oil and pineapple carpaccio|
|Niçoise salad with seared tuna|
The main courses were what I could describe as good, solid cooking. His special dish of duck breast was nicely pink with rich sauce, potatoes and carrots. My piece of salmon was absolutely huge (€17.50), about twice as large as I needed. I suspect the fish was cooked sou-vide as the flesh was soft throughout, but had been pan-seared to add some colour and flavour. I ended up picking away the outside meat and leaving the flabbier meat in the middle. A smaller portion and this would not have been a problem, especially as the lime hollandaise and beetroot puree really complimented the salmon nicely.
|Nightly special of duck|
|Seared salmon with asparagus, beetroot and lemon hollandaise|
It's always refreshing to find a decent house wine, and here a bottle of house white wine (a French Pays D'Oc if I recall correctly) was very decent drinking. A generous slice of classic Bailey's cheesecake (€5.00) finished off our meal. Service was relaxed and easy going throughout, but still attentive. A sign suspended from the roof advertised a take-away meal of whole rotisserie chicken with vegetables, a fact which Himself noted with interest for future reference.
All in all, I really liked the large open space and relaxed atmosphere in Bakers. As a nighttime venue, it definitely falls into the reliable and safe dining category. However, I'd say that seeing the venue in daylight with a cup of coffee would really present it at its best.
Tel: +353 (0)1 516 6169