All fired up in Dublin 4
My pork has been “Adobo-rubbed”. When I ask, I’m told it’s a dry spice rub. Some post-dinner research tells me that adobo is a Spanish method of immersing raw food in a spiced stock with garlic and vinegar, a kind of flavoursome brining used to preserve meat in the days before fridges. I’d have preferred this dish if they had gone the traditional wet route. The pork meat is dry and tough, and could have done with soaking up some marinade before being fire-grilled. It comes with a good pickled red cabbage and an oniony relish with golden sultanas that almost make up for it.
The surprise here is that nothing tastes very barbecued, apart from a side of corn-on-the-cob which has been charred and buttered to a dribble-down-the-chin treat. Desserts are chocolate fondant “rich and dark and luscious, like something you’d eat in the Georges Cinq,” John says, and an apple crème brûlée, which is a little less decadent, with syrupy cubes like something you’d find at the bottom of a Mr Kipling tart.
Despite this, Asador is impressive, in these early days. Good for gossipy nights and a spot of people-watching.
Dinner for two with two bottles of sparkling water (€4.50 each) came to €97.20.
1 Victoria House, Haddington Road, Dublin 4, tel: 01- 254 5353
Music: Easy listening
Food provenance: Not much. Ryefield goats’ cheese a lone name
Facilities: Bronze-black mosaic
Wheelchair access: Yes
They had me at hello with the open fire on the first floor of the Vintage Cocktail Club in Temple Bar’s Crown Alley. This speakeasy (no sign, just the letters VCC on the door) is a flowery carpeted, flock wallpapered time machine taking us back to an era somewhere between 1920 and 1960.
There’s nothing retro about the prices, which hover upwards of the €10 per cocktail.
But a cucumber gimlet was delicious and part of the fun is in watching the drinks being prepared. Some of them have things spritzed on them from hand-sanitising bottles before you drink them.
The only shame is that they didn’t get some crystal perfume bottles with puff-ball spritzers to finish it off, Miss Piggy style. Mwah.
The Vintage Cocktail Club, 15 Crown Alley, Temple Bar, Dublin 2