Review: Dylan McGrath's latest takes a deep dive into Tiger 2.0

Shelbourne Social has some brilliant cooking, but swerves dizzyingly from delicious to disaster

Talking to Una McCaffrey of this parish, chef Dylan McGrath says he’s “not aiming for perfect meals, but great nights out”. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Talking to Una McCaffrey of this parish, chef Dylan McGrath says he’s “not aiming for perfect meals, but great nights out”. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

There’s an air of something when you walk in the power-assisted door of Shelbourne Social. The shape of it crystalises after we head out towards the glow of the Mercedes showroom up the road. It’s certainty, the sureness of a particular generation, a corporate box set with collars of cashmere coats turned up against the elements. There’s a forest of cranes on the city skyline. That low purr of money is pumping certainty up through the soles of expensive shoes. 

Shelbourne Social is Dylan McGrath’s latest restaurant, his first outside the canals since his days in Ranelagh with Mint. It’s in the prow of a new glass and steel building deep in the embassy and rugby belt of D4. The front end is a place to gleam, as brightly lit as the Mercedes showroom. My friend is in the mercifully lower-lit restaurant end when I arrive. 

The tables are leather clad and brass bound. There are beautiful linen napkins and the glassware gleams. The all-male staff deliver food to the table with sprinklings of compliments. Dishes are brilliant or amazing, they say. 

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