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Stunning rooftop terraces for alfresco dining

Review: A well-priced menu that could do with a bit of tweaking

Lenehans Bar & Grill
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Address: Rathmines, Dublin 6, D06 H261
Telephone: 01 496 8060
Cuisine: Irish
Cost: €€

We have a resident ResDiary expert. And she tells me that there is nothing worse than people who want to change the table they’re assigned. It mucks everything up when you need to turn tables. She stops short of referring to the miscreants as Karens, because we all know some lovely Karens, and neither of us has any idea what the Karen of recent social media fame did to wind up with her far from desirable nomenclature.

A table at 8.30pm is not going to be turned, and as we’re shown to the small empty courtyard in Lenehans Bar & Grill, I ask if it would be okay to go up and take a look at the two rooftop terraces. No problem.

There are plenty of available tables up there, it’s atmospheric and buzzing, so I ask, could we move, please? “They’re for people”, is the response. We’re people. “They’re booked”. We’re booked. And after a bit of grudging ResDiarying, he lifts the invisible red velvet rope.

So yes. I know, I’ve lost half my audience. The girls cheering “Go you!” while my husband and some of the menfolk of Ireland are snarling, “Did you really have to do that?” Things feel just a little bit frosty as we’re asked if we want still, sparkling or tap, and I can sense some version of “Yeah, of course you do”, behind the mask when I say tap.


But joy and happiness is restored as I check out the wine list, and our server turns out to be very knowledgeable. There are none of the usual suspects here. Instead, it’s more focused on low intervention wine makers such as Judith Beck, Raul Perez and Alex Foillard. Bottles start at €28, and there’s also plenty by the glass.

The Picpoul Les Mougniels, €35, is a refreshing option, all crisp and citrussy to go with fish, but if you’re looking for a special white, spring for the Raul Perez Ultreia, Godello, €58.

The menu at Lenehans is very reasonably priced. Two courses for €33 and three for €38, with six options on starters and main courses.

A good handful of chargrilled prawns come on toasted sourdough, slathered in an intense cherry tomato arrabiata. It’s a generous portion, not life enhancing food but easy going. The Irish field mushroom tacos are also substantial, with avocado salsa and slaw.

We are out for the night, but an hour between courses seems excessive, and eventually a dismissive “Sorry for the delay” is deployed by the velvet rope yielding manager who makes a fleeting reappearance.

He fails to mention that the grilled, line-caught Irish cod has been waiting a little too long as well. It’s hot, but has seen a bit too much cooking time, and the gluey homemade gnocchi do nothing to remedy the situation. Neither does our other main course, an organic courgette which is filled with a caponata that lacks the essential play between acidity and sweetness. There are carrots, as well as green beans, some patatas bravas apparently, and lemon rosemary oil. It’s a list of things that are expected to make friends on the plate without much help from whoever brought them together in the first place.

For dessert, the tiramisu, which is served in a coffee cup, dusted with cocoa powder, has plenty of flavour from the 3fe espresso-soaked biscuits and a good splash of Amaretto. Less successful is the oat milk rice pudding on pineapple, passion fruit and lemon salsa, which just feels more like breakfast than dessert.

This is a flashy sort of place that is very much in the Press-Up ilk. Although the bizarre coupling of the beautiful wine list with the B-list food may well be the devious work of a former Love Island producer, I can see what they’re trying to do here, and it is well intentioned. Offering menus that cater to a cross-section of people at a reasonable price is admirable; it just needs to be fine-tuned.

And it may be already. With indoor dining back open, the fixed-price menu has been replaced with an a la carte menu, so now you can opt for a series of small plates as you work your way through that wine list. And if you’re lucky enough to make the cut, you’ll be doing it on one of the rooftop terraces, hanging out with a gang of, you know, people, some of whom may even be called Karen.

Dinner for two with a bottle of wine was €111.

The verdict: Amazing terraces, superb wine list, food needs tweaking

Facilities: Communal, cool and clean

Music: Background, at a level that allows chat

Food provenance: Generally mainstream, but meat from McLoughlin's, and fish from SSI

Vegetarian options: Plenty of vegetarian and vegan options

Wheelchair access: Fully accessible, with accessible toilet

Corinna Hardgrave

Corinna Hardgrave

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