Thursday 22 August 2019

Wine & Small Plates Galore: Frank's, Dublin 2


When I noticed on Instagram that Delahunt's owner Darren Free was about to open a wine bar on Camden Street, I knew this would be an exciting addition to Dublin's food scene. I've been a fan of Delahunt (review here) ever since it opened and even had my wedding meal there, way before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle booked the entire restaurant for a lunch date last year.

Frank's is more the type of wine bar you find in London or Copenhagen than the continental style you might find in France or Italy. No sign of charcuterie or cheese boards and you can't exactly go there with a gang of friends to sip vino for hours on end.

The facade of what previously was Frank's Pork Shop has been maintained and its inside is an interior design work of art with chequered tiling on the floor, green walls and a beautiful table with a Corian countertop in the middle of the room.

I should probably mention that Frank's don't take bookings, cannot fit more than around 20 people and only have high stools with side-by-side seating at the communal table. That's no bother for some (like me) but might not be everyone's cup of tea. While we visited on a Saturday at 7 pm, on a day it was reviewed by a national food critic, we had to wait no more than 5 minutes to get two seats. The clientele were mainly couples and pairs of friends, the restaurant layout and no booking policy wouldn't really work for bigger parties.

As you'd expect from a wine bar they have a comprehensive choice of wines by the glass (125ml pour) and by the bottle. The best thing about Frank's is its focus on low intervention wines and how reasonably priced they can be, where else can you order a glass for €6 or even less and enjoy good food at the same time?

The food menu changes regularly and features small sharing plates. Snacks come in the form of nocellara olives (€3.50) or smoked almond paired with amontillado sherry (€7.50). Savoury plates range from €11 to €15 while dessert is limited to a cheese option and a sweet plate (€9-10). All the dishes are prepared by the chef who cooks from a small kitchen station located at one end of the communal table.

We nibbled on some olives to open our appetites while waiting for the myriad of small plates we ordered. The burrata dish with heirloom tomatoes, basil and pickled onions (€13) was very simple but perfectly light and summery for the warm day that was in it. The ham hock terrine (€10) was one of the highlights, served with some pickles, parmesan cream and a piquant JalapeƱo sauce which gave a good kick to the taste buds.


The best dish was the chicken wing (€12) with charred corn and hen of the woods mushrooms. There was a lovely contrast of crispiness and tenderness to the meat and the flavours worked very well together. The whipped duck liver (€15) was the low point of the meal. Between the liver being served at quite a cold temperature and being piped perhaps too generously on the plate, the combination with preserved strawberries didn't really do it for us.


The cheese course was the always delicious Durrus, a wonderful wash-rind cheese made with cow's milk in West Cork. It was served with a cherry compote and some charcoal crackers. A humble plate of peaches with creamy ricotta and brown butter crumbs (€9) was uncomplicated while being a satisfyingly sweet end to the meal.


I liked Frank's a lot. I enjoyed just rocking up for an impromptu date night of wine and food. The wines are incredibly good value and from stalking them on Instagram, I see that the menu changes frequently enough that there will always be a reason to visit again.

Disclaimer: this is an independent review, I paid for my food and drinks.

22 Camden Street Lower
Dublin 2
Frank's website