Saturday lunchtime found us driving over towards Harold's Cross so as to allow me to pick up my mobile phone which I had "forgotten" in a pub on Friday night. In other words, I might have been a bit oiled, and making sure that I had my mobile phone with me when leaving wasn't top of the list of priorities. (BTW, if you haven't checked out the great cocktails in MVP, then you really should. Just don't forget your phone!)
The upside of this unplanned trip was that I finally had an easy opportunity to visit Craft bistro for lunch. Ever increasing rent costs mean that only venues with big backing are opening in the city centre, with other smaller ventures being pushed outwards where rents are cheaper. Thankfully, this is to be benefit of many neighbourhoods, giving the opportunity for some seriously good dining without the trek into town. Think Forest & Marcy on Leeson Street, or newly starred Heron & Grey in Blackrock. In the case of Craft, chef Phil Yeung, formerly of Bang Cafe and Town Bar & Grill is the man with the plan.
|Cauliflower soup with pistachio|
Craft isn't large, but it's very neatly laid out. The tables are small, but the decent spacing means that it doesn't feel crowded. Lunch offers really exceptional value with two courses for €18 and three courses for €22. A dish of torched mackerel with a bright medley of vegetables is excellent and fresh, while a bowl of cauliflower soup is smooth and warming, if perhaps a bit one-dimensional. The soup is accompanied by a slice of excellent treacle brown bread with a fantastic crunchy crust.
Mains include hake with spinach, toasted cauliflower and a red wine fish sauce and a rich wintery stack of shredded venison shank with baby carrots, celeriac puree and some crispy kale. It's all very polished, beautiful presented and cooked. This would be impressive at any price point but bonus marks are awarded for the side dish of crisp and crunchy duck fat roasties that were served alongside.
|Hake with spinach and red wine fish sauce|
|Venison shank with baby carrots and celeriac puree|
|Duck fat roasties|
Despite a selection of desserts, we both chose the salt caramel and hazelnut slice, which came precisely, nay sharply, cut. I love when desserts display this level of scientific precision. There's just something so attractive about a cleanly cut slice of pie. Salted caramel often under delivers on the salt, but this version was hitting all the taste buds. Segments of citrus, a sharp blood orange sauce and a lovely vanilla ice finished it all off nicely. The combination of this dessert, and the excellent brown bread served alongside my soup makes me think that there's a very good pastry chef in the Craft kitchen.
|Salt caramel and hazelnut slice with blood orange and vanilla ice cream|
The total bill for two including a glass of NZ Sauvignon Blanc, sparkling water and coffees comes to approx €60. Leave the extras out, and it would be just a mere €44. Wow, the boom may be back, but some venues are still bringing the value.
Craft, 208 Harold's Cross Road, Dublin 6W
Tel: +353 (0)1 497 8632