Monday 6 April 2015

Delahunt: Modern Irish Food in a Beautiful Building

As I was walking on Camden Street Lower a few months ago my attention was caught by a beautiful front shop.  I crossed the road and had a sneaky look inside, it just so happened that it was the very first day of 'Delahunt'. I had a quick look at the menu in the window, it sounded promising and I liked the look of it but I thought I'd wait until they settle in before reviewing it.

Many months later, while I was living down in Cork and on a quick weekend visit back to Dublin I finally got to try the place. It was a cold windy evening and as soon as I got in I felt cosy and liked the atmosphere. The restaurant is located in an old Victorian building where they really manage to keep the old time feel with a gorgeous long mahogany bar, although the art on the walls helps to bring a contemporary feel to the place. At night time the venue is intimate and darkly lit, except for those fortunate enough to sit at the table by the window, which I was a bit envious of.

Mr. FFID and I were welcomed by a very enthusiastic and welcoming staff member who brought the menus. I liked the sound of everything as it wasn't your usual menu staples. It's seasonal, well priced and shows that the chef thinks outside of the box.

We started off with a little snack of crispy pig's ear (€4) to share. It came presented simply on a beautiful wooden board, deliciously crispy and served with dollops of raisin mustard.

We both went for the same starter which we could tell would suit our tastes: the braised oxtail with bone marrow (€10). The portion looked small at first but turned out to be more than satisfying. The oxtail was melt-in-the-mouth tender, served with slices of sourdough bread. The crispy snails, a surprising find in an Irish restaurant, were crumbed and formed part of the watercress salad with flat parsley and shallots. It was very promising so far.

Mr. FFID's main was a total winner, the venison haunch cured in treacle (€26) was full of flavours and extremely succulent. The sauce was thick and rich, the celery was topped with bone marrow crust and there was soured cabbage with fermented walnut and juniper.

My pheasant wrapped in bacon (€25) wasn't quite as flavoursome as the venison but was still very good. It came served with shells of Brussels sprouts, savoury pudding and brown sauce. Both dishes were great solid winter dishes.

Being quite full after all the meat we decided to go for the selection of farmhouse cheeses rather than anything sweet. It consisted of Brie de Meaux, Bellingham, Coolatin and Knockdrinna if I recall correctly. It was a very decent cheese course with nice crackers, an apple and fig chutney and an ale jelly which was my least favourite thing on the plate.

Confident cooking, modern Irish food, a beautiful venue and friendly staff made my experience in Delahunt very enjoyable indeed, I know I'll be back for more. More places like this in Dublin please!

39 Camden Street Lower
Dublin 2

This is an independent review, I paid for my meal.