Two high-profile Dublin restaurants open this week
Veteran restaurateur Johnnie Cooke goes big in Dundrum Town Centre and Botanic House in Glasnevin gets a new lease of life
Botanic House in Glasnevin, which reopens today. Photograph: Paul Sherwood
The Dublin dining scene is gaining further momentum, with two additions this week with the launch on Thursday of a new 125-seat restaurant and 60-seat cocktail bar at the Dundrum Town Centre with Johnnie Cooke at the helm, and the re-opening on Wednesday of Botanic House, a landmark pub and restaurant in Glasnevin.
In Dundrum, the former Harvey Nichols restaurant and bar, subsequently occupied by Niall Sabongi’s Rock Lobster, will re-open on Thursday at noon as Cookes Restaurant. It will be run by the Johnnie Cooke Group, which also operates the restaurant and cafe in Brown Thomas, Dublin, as well as having a private catering division.
Cooke will be executive chef for Brown Thomas as well as the new Dundrum restaurant, where he will be joined in the kitchen by Lee Doyle (formerly of The Exchequer) and Ros Morgan (formerly of The Legal Eagle).
The restaurant will offer breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, an early supper (two courses €22, three €26), and dinner. The food is being pitched as “influenced by Mediterranean and Californian flavours”.
“I am very excited to be adding a new restaurant on the south side for the Johnnie Cooke Group. Cookes Restaurant is the big brother of my previous restaurant, Cookes Cafe,” said the chef, who opened that venture on the corner of Castle Market and Drury Street in 1992 and ran it until 2008.
The breakfast menu has a vaguely Californian theme, with a made-to-order juice bar offering among other choices a Kale-fornia, made with coconut water, organic kale, banana and mango, as well as avocado toast (with Crozier Blue cheese, pear, walnuts and honey), and the full cooked breakfast line up.
Salads, sandwiches, pizza and pasta run through lunchtime, with a beefed up dinner offering of starters, main courses and desserts, as well as the pizza and pasta options.
In the cocktail bar, diners can order bar snacks such as roasted Iranian pistachios or goats’ cheese croquettes, or go for something more substantial, with black truffle pizza, Irish organic beef burger, and Wexford mussels and fries on offer.
Meanwhile, the owners of seafood restaurant Aqua, on the West Pier in Howth, Co Dublin, have taken over the lease at Botanic House, which has been closed since early 2014, and are reopening the pub and restaurant at noon today.
The all-day menu will be available from noon till 9pm. In addition to pub favourites such as chicken wings, burgers and steaks, seafood features in 50 per cent of the menu, with chowder, mussels, calamari, crab, salmon, shellfish and prawns on offer.