Review: This restaurant proves that outdoor dining can be glamorous
Suesey Street’s garden room serves up solid classics with flair – if you can get a seat
- Proprietor: Michael Kelly
- 26 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2
- 01 669 4600
If it seems like the conversation has moved on from outdoor dining, rainproof terraces and who has the best heaters, blankets and whatnot, that is not the case. While some of us have been beating a path back to our favourite restaurants, there are just as many people who prefer to take a more cautious approach. But with the festive lyrics of “Baby, it’s cold outside” ringing in our ears, the question is: is it worth it?
While some restaurants that created new outdoor spaces in Level 3 have returned to indoor dining, Suesey Street, which met the outdoor challenge in a spectacular way, still offers an outdoor as well as an indoor option. And on my visit there is a buzz which immediately makes it feel like the good times have not yet gone.
The garden room is about as inside as you’re going to get for an outside area and the diners at the well-spaced tables are looking extremely glamorous. Reassuringly, I can feel the ventilation at my back as I sit on a banquette. But it’s cosy and I have no need for the blanket provided.
It’s a Wednesday night, the rain is pelting down and Karel Geoghegan, the restaurant manager, explains that the retractable roof isn’t 100 per cent waterproof – it leaks in one place – but there are no tables under that spot. We’re nice and dry.
There is quite a bit of choice on the menu. Boxes for the all-time greats are resolutely ticked with foie gras (€15.50), seared scallops (€15.50), rack of Wicklow lamb (€29) and chateaubriand (€70 for two). Nordic foraging and fermentation have no place here. This is a restaurant where people come to eat with friends, not to sit in reverential silence to ingest the backstory of each dish.
The classic wine list is broken into regions, Bordeaux, Burgundy and the like, rather than a straight red and white listing. There are about 10 bottles under €40 and after a bit of digging I settle on a bottle of Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Domäne Wachau for €40, which is crisp and mineral and matches well with the dishes we order.
The pressed ham with chicken and black pudding terrine (€13) is earthy. The ham has a well-defined flavour and the pickled vegetables and sauce gribiche are just the right side of sharp. Dublin Bay prawns (€15.50) are something I don’t generally order but I’m interested to see if they are good – and here they really are. Generous too. Six plump, beautifully cooked prawns are lightly bathed in garlic butter, served on sourdough with cherry tomatoes and kissed with jalapeno oil, just enough for you to wonder what it is in the dish that gives it a little kick.
Our main courses show the same assured hand. I have opted for halibut (€33), the catch of the day, which really does taste like it is minutes out of the sea. Golden on top, it is cooked so precisely that it just about gives when it flakes. The toasted hazelnuts add texture and the roasted cauliflower (okay, this is a Nordic nod) is rich and nutty, offset by a creamy cauliflower puree.
The St Tola goat’s cheese ravioli (€20) is a good vegetarian option. The pasta is silky and there is a real blast of chlorophyll from the tenderstem broccoli and basil pesto it comes with, with a few smoked almonds tossed on top.
Desserts, too, are good. I thought the elderflower yoghurt cream with roasted pineapple and mango foam (€9), served in a glass, sounded a bit dubious but it was incredibly delicious, light and refreshing with layers of frothy flavour lying beneath a fragile black sesame tuile. The glazed apple tatin (€9), more of an open tart than a tatin, comes with vanilla ice cream and other little bits including a mint gel and some crumble.
The word is out, of course. There is so much demand that Suesey Street is now open daily for lunch and dinner, including Sunday. But if you’re flexible on your dates and times, which most of us are these days, there is still availability.
Dinner for two with a bottle of wine was €139.50.
Verdict: This really is an escape from everything that is happening outside
Food provenance: Well-sourced, very high-quality produce, most appears to be Irish
Music: Background and unobtrusive
Vegetarian options: Limited but very good
Wheelchair access: Through the back entrance on Wilton Terrace; accessible toilet facilities available via a lift to the parent building, Glandore.