The Hot Stove, Parnell Square, Dublin 1
Chef Joy Beattie’s new Dublin restaurant is serving impressive Irish food at a great price
Simon Keegan and Joy Beattie of The Hot Stove
Dublin’s Parnell Square doesn’t feel like a square. It’s too big and hilly and it’s got multiple personalities.
At the top it’s a city gent, with the handsome Hugh Lane Gallery and Ross Lewis ’s Michelin-starred Chapter One. In the middle it’s the pink dressing gown of the world’s most aptly-named maternity hospital. The west side is home to teachers, religious headquarters and a Sinn Féin souvenir shop. And now on to this stretch of saints and shinners a new restaurant has landed.
The Hot Stove is in the basement of two Georgian houses. Its slogan is modern Irish cuisine and it has a young woman chef, Joy Beattie, at the helm. She once worked in nearby Chapter One and had stints in Britain, France and Australia. Now she’s here. Front of house is Simon Keegan, a sommelier and restaurant manager who first worked with Beattie in The Four Seasons.
The first impression is that this is a restaurant with big ambitions. There’s the walk-down granite steps, comfortable bar and then two large rooms with heavy table linens and sparkling glasses. The chairs are padded caramel-leather. The timber tongue-and-groove panelling round the room is painted teal blue with white walls above.
The prices are in the mid-range bracket so it’s a surprise when an amuse-bouche (that calling card of the pricier place) lands on the snow white linen. It’s a glass espresso cup of celeriac soup topped with a Cashel Blue froth and a smoked venison ravioli at the bottom. And it’s gorgeous. We’ve ordered a bottle of the Albarino, Pazo de Barrantes (€32) to steady the nerves after a dash to get here on time.
The service is attentive and the effort behind the scenes shows no less precision. The bread comes from the Paris Bakery and a Provence loaf smells of a walk through a herb meadow on a hot day. The butter is house-made from Wicklow cream, two pale disks of it; they make their own butter. A smoked venison carpaccio to start comes as soft pink strips of silky meat, rosy in the middle shading to brown on the outside and smokey as a bottled bonfire.
There’s a tiny helping of celeriac and pear remoulade for a little piquant lift. Carol’s pine-smoked salmon has been house-cured, they tell us, for 24 hours and then lightly smoked for an hour. The result is soft delicately-delicious fish you want to eat in small pieces to savour with a perfect warm mix of potato and leek in horseradish sauce.
My main course is the cheapest dish on the á la carte at €11 and, at this price, is superb. It’s whole white onion slowly cooked and presented in its own cup of thin pastry glazed on top to caramelise it. There are toasted walnuts hidden under a milky foam, fresh leaves and the onions tarts sit on a pickled red cabbage. Carol’s hake with salsify is a great piece of fresh beautifully-cooked fish, the lobster bisque is a little on the salty side but not mouth-puckeringly so. Two sides – duck fat chips, which combine exactly the right amount of crunch-and-flour and Jerusalem artichokes, mashed and herbed in a bowl – work well.
The desserts are excellent. A rich chocolate fondant pudding has a rose sorbet that tastes like licking a bar of granny soap (in a good way) and a house-made pink marshmallow. My crème brulee has a perfect glassy sugar lid and a silken texture.
On this weekend when we think about all things Irish, The Hot Stove is a new Irish voice on the restaurant scene. It’s a sit-up-straight dining experience and Beattie cooks excellent Irish ingredients with talent. Dinner for two with a bottle of wine, coffee and tea came to €109.70.