The N17 was immortalised in song, and now the N11 is about to have its moment, as the inspiration behind the name for restaurateur John Farrell’s latest venture. Eleven, located above Whelehans Wines, the landmark building that was formerly the Silver Tassie pub in Loughlinstown, Co Dublin, opens on Sunday.
The restaurant is a separate business from the wine shop, with an independent entrance fronting on to the busy commuter route. It will however source its wines from Whelehans’ extensive list.
It is the fifth restaurant in Farrell’s current portfolio, joining Dillingers, The Butcher Grill, 777 and Amy Austin. The interior fitout is of Farrell’s own design, and building work started last October to covert what was previously office space and storage.
A zinc topped bar dominates the space, with jazzy silver leather upholstered stools accommodating 20 for full-menu dining, or cocktails and sharing plates. “We went manly with the colour,” he says of the oxblood paint on the walls, a deep black red. Wooden floors are softened with Moroccan-style rugs.
There is also seating for 45 at tables in the main space, and a side room with high tables for communal dining. In total, the restaurant can accommodate 90 diners, with an additional terrace space opening in the summer. There will be live music from Dublin singer/songwriter Niall Lawlor, performing bluegrass from his slide-based guitar and harmonica.
The kitchen, overseen by executive chef Atish Bhuruth, along with head chef Domingo De Vera, has a wood-fired grill. The menu kicks off with small plates (€14-€33), including charred prawns from the grill, as well as Achill oysters, smoked beef carpaccio, hamachi ceviche and peach, burrata and fennel salad.
Main courses (€17-€32) include fish and duck, as well as two types of house-made pasta. There is a separate section for dishes from the wood-burning grill, including grilled prawns, seared tuna, lamb chops and steaks, and a selection of larger dishes to share, with three cuts of beef including chateaubriand (€110), and Dover sole (€65).
Sides (€6) are separate: “I like to be able to decide what I want with a main course,” Farrell says, and the choices include some interesting dishes that would eat well alone, such as barbecue carrots with Hegarty’s cheddar whey, and charred Hispi cabbage with bacon and kombu.
On Sundays, roasts are the thing, with a choice of beef striploin (€27), corn fed chicken (€23) or free range pork with apple sauce (€23), all served with Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, duck fat roasties, gravy, carrots and cabbage. There is, at the moment, only a single dessert on the menu, Sauternes creme caramel, with an option of a selection of cheese.
Current opening hours are Wednesday to Saturday for dinner, from 5pm, and Sunday for roasts, with three sittings, at noon, 2pm and 4pm. Lunch on Wednesday to Friday, and Saturday brunch will be introduced at a later date. Happy hour (5pm-7pm) Wednesday to Friday, will offer €2 oysters and €2 discount on cocktails. When lunch service kicks in, diners will be able to purchase wine from Whelehans Wines, with €10 corkage.
The restaurant wine list is extensive, with a price range for full bottles in the white selection that kicks off at €42 for Domaine Malartic Mosaic Blanc Colombard/Ugni Blanc 2022, rising to a punchy €266 for Jean Louis Chavy Puligny-Montrachet 2020. In the reds, the entry level is €45 for Avidagos Douro Tinto 2019, rising to €156 for Château Moulin Riche St. Julien 2018.
There is a “Specials” selection too, for the highrollers insulated from current economic concerns, where you’ll find Krug Brut Vintage 2006 (€500), alongside Opus One Napa Valley 2018 (€600).
If cocktails are more your thing – and Farrell is keen to emphasis that the welcome for those dropping in for a casual drink will be just as warm as for those splashing out on dinner and a canter through the wine list – the selection is inventive. You’ll also be able to order a pint on draught for €6.50.