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!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

[Review] Fishbone, Clontarf, Dublin 3

It's always nice to have a seafood restaurant actually located near, you know, the sea! Talk about a novel concept but seafood always seems nicer when it's eaten within a hop, skip and jump of the sea. New restaurant Fishbone is located on Dublin's lengthy, sea-hugging Clontarf Road, just opposite the Dollymount Wooden Bridge. While sitting inside, something immediately reminded me of the long-established Bay restaurant, so I wasn't at all surprised to learn that Fishbone comes from the same proprietors.

Fishbone is set back a little bit from the road, with a bright yellow exterior that immediately catches the eye. There's outdoor seating for those lovely sunny days while inside, it's bright and light, with a lovely modern atmosphere, tempered with a slight Moroccan feel. The chalkboard menu is wonderfully attractive, and packed full of daily specials and tempting dishes. As you look out the front window, another chalkboard menu entices you with the list of house cocktails.
Stitch & Bear - Fishbone - Blackboard menu
The blackboard menu at Fishbone


Saturday, August 6, 2016

[Review] Amuse, Dawson Street, Dublin 2

Exciting food and fine dining are not often common bedfellows. Well, not as often as I'd like anyway. During our recent holiday on the Amalfi Coast in Italy, we dined in two separate one star Michelin restaurants, and came away feeling decidedly "bleh" after one and "meh" after the other. In fact, one of the meals was the singularly most sexist experience I've ever had. I never thought I'd describe a meal in a Michelin restaurant as "sexist", but there you go. You live, you learn.

Which is why I'm glad that a recent visit to Amuse restaurant on Dawson Street showed that the creativity of chef Conor Dempsey has abated not one jot. The awarding of Michelin stars in Ireland has long been a source of great puzzlement; indeed it took several years for the neighbouring Greenhouse restaurant to secure its star. Based on my experiences, I feel that the food at Amuse is at the required standard, but who knows if the Michelin judges agree with me.

Amuse is located at the southern end of Dawson Street and often flies unnoticed, not helped currently by the ongoing Luas works. The dining room is small, but the tables are set well apart. I personally love the lampshades, which match in style the plates and glasses used.  Conor's cooking is described as Franco-Asian, which is a hint as to the types of ingredients he likes to use.

We started with an aperitif of lovely sparkling rose, made with Pinot Noir grapes. Shortly, a selection of various seaweed and rice crisps, with puffed rice, goats cheese and a delicious mussel arrived. These were accompanied by a stunning little bowl of gently sweet coconut and pea soup, with salty pops of trout caviar lurking within. Our final amuse consisted of an intense basil puree with anchovy and warming horseradish.
Amuse bouche of various crisps and toppings
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