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Forbes Street review: This Dublin spot is all about quality Irish produce - and the caviar is worth a try

This is not what you expect from a hotel restaurant

Forbes Street by Gareth Mullins
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Address: Anantara The Marker Dublin Hotel, Grand Canal Square, Docklands, Dublin 2, D02 CK38
Telephone: 01 6875104
Cuisine: Modern International
Cost: €€€

Caviar. Is it worth it? There’s a burning question I’m sure you find yourself asking on a regular basis. In case you haven’t noticed, it is having a moment, along with wisps of gold leaf, gilding the dishes of fine dining restaurants.

I’ve been afflicted with a first world caviar habit – yes, thoughts and prayers – a side effect of a brief stint as an air steward in the last-century Middle East. Clearly, it’s a “Houston, we’ve got a problem” situation as a severe lack of funds is a cruel hindrance to my mile high indulgence. It’s my birthday, however, and I muse for a moment as I see it listed on the menu at Forbes Street by Gareth Mullins, the restaurant in Anantara, the hotel formerly known as The Marker. It’s a family of swanky resort hotels, hence, I suppose, the caviar. So, I’m all in. Even at €50 for 10 grams.

It arrives with its own set of accoutrements: the golden flecked pearls glistening on the upturned tin of Ars Italica Oscietra Imperial caviar, sitting on a salt filled glass bowl, which, in turn, sits on a specially designed wooden tray. It looks impressively self-assured. A bowl of crème fraîche is dusted with chopped chives, another bowl is filled with Ballymakenny potato crisps and a third has two mother of pearl spoons sitting on top of Ballymakenny potato blinis. I guess I’m sharing.

I had expected the caviar to be a darker colour, more of a silvery grey, but I later discover that the amber Imperial caviar is twice the price of the Classic caviar from Ars Italica. It’s the only option on the menu, unless you spring for a 30 gram serving for €140. Indeed, you could add Bollinger Champagne to that as a trolley is on the way but to balance out the excess of my habit, I am sipping De Sol Picpoul de Pinet (€35), which is perfectly chilled and delicious.


Back to the caviar. If you want to be all TikTok and Gen Z about it, you’ll be loading it on to the crisps for a high low snack but, for me, it’s got to be the blinis and crème fraîche routine, the deliciously salty pearls popping as I roll them around my mouth. I do, of course, demolish the crisps because 10 grams, well, it’s as dainty as it sounds.

You would think that a starter as flashy as this would beat everything into submission but the ricotta and spinach raviolo (€14) is equally good; silky pasta stuffed lightly, perfectly seasoned and bathed in the most wonderful cheesy sauce.

For main course, we have taken the steak route as dry-aged beef, displayed in the custom-made fridge, is quite the thing here. It’s an 8oz strip steak (€34), cooked to what I am beginning to realise is an Irish medium-rare (ordering steak rare may be advisable), with a very good Béarnaise and two sides, included in the price. There are four sizeable slices of black pudding and potato hash and a generous serving of purple sprouting broccoli which would more than cover off a few of our five a day.

Turbot on the bone (€43) is one of the more expensive main courses but, again, it is a generous portion and this king of fish never comes cheap. Served with a caper and chicken jus, it sits on top of spinach purée with some broccoli florets to the side. It’s a lovely piece of fish but I’m not convinced of the benefit of cooking on the bone when it’s in portion sizes rather than as a whole fish. A tranche is more elegant and while the saucing is good – the chicken jus adds richness – I think it’s hard to beat a beurre blanc.

Dessert will have you absorbed, certainly if you opt for the rhubarb with smoked vanilla, herbs and crispy potatoes (€12). I know, it doesn’t sound like a dessert but it works in a beguiling way. The soufflé strips of potato add a crunch to the savoury smokiness of the cold parfait and a snappy basil sorbet brings it all into focus.

Forbes Street is not what you expect from a hotel restaurant. With Gareth Mullins at the helm, provenance is key and there is a huge emphasis on quality Irish produce. The cooking is assured, the service is notably good and the caviar is worth a try, especially if it’s your birthday.

Dinner for two with a bottle of wine was €188.

THE VERDICT: Caviar, dry-aged beef and turbot, what’s not to like?

Music: A hotel-type mix

Food provenance: Flaggy Shore oysters, Italian-farmed caviar, John Stone beef, Ballymakenny Farm, Goatsbridge Farm, Young Buck, Ballylisk, Coolattin and St Tola

Vegetarian options: Two starters and two mains including vegan options – summer tomato salad, ricotta and spinach ravioli, courgette with tempura courgette flower and roast aubergine

Wheelchair access: Accessible room with accessible toilet

Corinna Hardgrave

Corinna Hardgrave

Corinna Hardgrave, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes a weekly restaurant column