Meal Ticket: Rustic Stone, Dublin 2

A good spot to try fresh, healthy food, while still getting lots of flavour for your money

   
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Rustic Stone

One of Dylan McGrath’s stable of restaurants, Rustic Stone focuses on healthy, seasonal dining. Lots of nutritional information crowds the menu - even for the 28oz brute of a T-bone for two (€64). The menu is split into bites, starters, pasta salads and mains - some “on the stone” and others off. The stone refers to a concept I first saw in Australia a decade ago - a traditional technique where meat or fish is served on a hot volcanic stone and the diner cooks it to their liking. When Rustic Stone launched, there were lots of jokes about paying to cook your own dinner - but the restaurant continues to thrive nonetheless.

It’s also one of the few places in Dublin where you can eat really good raw food - there’s a full raw menu at lunchtime, based around simple ingredients with little or no cooking. Plates come in small or big sizes. There’s carpaccio of salted beef with a puree of celeriac, capers and parsley (€4/€8), or Irish salmon cured with citrus (€4/€8). You can’t have the raw food menu at night, but

you can still find raw dishes, including some delicious pickled baby peppers stuffed with tuna tartar, avocado puree and herbs (€3.75). There’s a dish of fat, salty stone-in green olives served with thin slices of pink grapefruit on a bed of crushed cucumber ice (€3.75). Salads are the real deal here - a “boisterous beetroot” comes in an attractive wooden bowl crammed with fresh shaved fennel, baby gem, radicchio and chicory with chunks of avocado, grapefruit and radish - bound with a beetroot juice and oil dressing (€8.75/€12.50. The smaller one is more than enough).

Better again was the “posh pesto” bowl of baby leaves, cress, coriander and basil studded with cherry tomatoes, meaty black olives, and piquant pickled shallots, which came with a little bottle of pine nut and herb dressing (€7.25/ €10.95). 

We try the stone, with a fat tuna steak which we whip off and eat as sashimi, with a thick sauce of coriander, dill, basil and rocket (€26). This is a good spot to try fresh, healthy food, while still getting lots of flavour for your money (although next time I’m trying their enormous Himalayan salt-aged steak).