Lotts to love in this game
Next up are sharing plates, priced between €8.50 and €11. We get two cooked dishes, a hake and the lamb, and one assembly of cooked and raw ingredients. The latter is the best of the three, slices of sweetly roasted onion squash, Swiss chard, chestnuts and luscious curd-like Fivemiletown goats cheese. Fennel seeds, a pickled red onion and more of that sensational pickled beetroot finish off these wonderful flavours with complementing textures. My hake fillet is lovely with a saffron sauce smothering the fish and clams still in their shells topped with thinly-sliced fennel. Paul’s lamb shoulder is a little less swoon-inducing, the only wobble of the night, the meat strangely both fatty and dry. But it comes with a good lemony yoghurt soup and sweet potato and spinach.
A divine financier and a poached pear fanned with candied walnuts and a cardamom pannacotta are both a triumph and great value at €4.50 apiece. At the end of the night the shop fills with the smell of something fruity and spongy baking, presumably for the morning coffee crowd.
The Food Game may be fun and small but it’s a serious operation, putting flavour bombs on plates. Three of them will cost you around €25 and bite-for-bite they’re worth every cent.
Dinner for two, with four glasses of Guigal Côtes du Rhone (€6) came to €80.
10 South Lotts Road, Dublin 4,
tel: 01 281 5002
Music: Lovely mix of 1980s and 1990s pop
Facilities: Funky paint-bombed walls
Food Provenance: Excellent,
Toonsbridge, Fivemiletown are among the cheesemakers. Lamb from Roscommon and pork belly from Crowe’s Farm.
Wheelchair access: Yes
Dublin has a new Hungarian restaurant on Bolton Street in the north inner city. The Sab Inn Café is a friendly place with blackboard lunch specials, none of which included goulash the day I was there. The Hungarian national dish is stew by any other name, so I had the beef casserole (€9.95) with traditional dumplings. A plate of meaty chunks in a dense tomato-based sauce arrived promptly. The dumplings were not the round type we see in English cooking but smaller knobblier versions – like gnocchi that had been knocked around a bit. They were good for soaking up the sauce with. There was a green peas stew, which sounds interesting and a shomlo sponge cake which seems to be going down a bomb with Hungarian expats, homesick for home cooking.
Sab Inn Café, 61 Bolton St, Dublin 1, tel: 01-873 3810