Wednesday 25 September 2019

Sharing Plates in Ranelagh: Host, Dublin 6

I wish I had visited Host earlier but it seems to be a very busy spot at the weekend and it took me many attempts to finally secure a booking.
It's a beauty of a restaurant with a modern open kitchen at the back, dried flowers taped to one of the walls and a combination of low and high tables. The restaurant was filled with a clientele of young professionals who all looked like they were 'living their best lives'. We were delighted to be seated at what we considered the best table for us, a countertop tucked away in the front of the restaurant by the window which meant we could have a private conversation and look at what was going on in the street at the same time (sounds like a well-known food critic hated this same table according to this review though).

"Have you been here before?" asked the lady who brought us the menu before explaining that the menu consists of small plates to share. I glanced at Mr. FFID because of the déjà-vu, this is how we were greeted in pretty much every restaurant we visited on our recent London trip.

Smaller plates are priced between €10 and €13. There are also pasta dishes (€11-€17), larger plates (€20 to €43 for a steak to share) as well as sides and a small selection of desserts. We went for the chef's menu (€37 per person) which was basically a selection of some of the dishes from the regular menu.

Two slices of fluffy focaccia with great olive oil for dipping were brought to our table, it almost seemed like a novelty as everyone serves sourdough bread these days. A plate of creamy burrata served with chunks of nectarine made us feel like summer hadn't left us quite yet. Seared tuna with fragrant datterini tomatoes was also uncomplicated but screamed 'Mediterranean vibes' in the heart of Ranelagh.

Then, came the cappellacci pasta. It was filled with pumpkin and served with crispy sage, walnuts and a brown butter sauce that made us want to lick to plate. The tagliatelle with Bolognese ragù were also nice and comforting but the cappellacci outshone by far.

We chose the Hannon's Irish rib eye as a main and paid a supplementary €17 for it. While we rarely order steak when eating out these days we were delighted with our choice. I found it somehow odd that they asked us how we wanted it to be cooked but it came medium rare as per our request. A fine piece of meat (a 400g portion) was perfectly seasoned and blackened on the outside while juicy and tender inside. Tenderstem broccoli with pickled red onion and pistachio yoghurt was a pleasant side dish but the chicory with grilled corn and toasted hazelnuts was even better.

We ordered the baked cheesecake with strawberries to end the meal but while it had nothing wrong with it, it wasn't groundbreaking and definitely was the low point of the meal.

That said, I loved our meal at Host: the service was casual while being very professional and the chef's menu was good value. I told Mr. FFID that Host made me believe again. It reminded of Etto when it first opened and it's exactly the kind of independent restaurants that I would like to see more of in Dublin.

13 Ranelagh
Dublin 6
Host's website

Disclaimer: this is an independent review, I paid for my meal at Host.