Food & DrinkGrub Spy

Brookwood fails for me, especially on the steak

The interior of Brookwood on Dublin's Baggot Street
The interior of Brookwood on Dublin's Baggot Street

The blurb on Brookwood’s menu page reads: We love steak. We wanted to show that you can go to a restaurant and get great steaks in Ireland. Well, based on a ‘flat iron’ steak that is presented to me, all I can say is: codswallop.

It’s 6.30 on a Friday evening. I’m at a window seat in the deceptively small eatery on Lower Baggot Street in Dublin’s Southside, observing a swarm of ravenous office types scampering around to chow down and wet their dry whistles. Not many are venturing in here though.

Some do narrow their eyes and shake their fists in Brookwood’s general direction. Actually they don’t, I just made that up. But if they did, I could easily understand why. 

I begin with truffled mushrooms on toast. At a non-piffling €8, not only does it not taste of truffles, as a dish it looks both mournful and incomplete. A square of toast, a creamy glug of mushrooms and that’s it. I taste tarragon, and the mushrooms aren’t at all bad, but as a starter it’s a bit of a non-starter.

A glass of Montepulciano arrives. It’s such an absurdly small amount I’m convinced I’m being asked to taste. But no, that’s it - for €7.50. And while it is a gorgeous example of Italian oenology, I am not impressed.  

Anyway, back to the steak, and cue prodigious amounts of chewing. I become almost slack-jawed by the sheer volume of masticating that follows. It is mysteriously, monumentally and unforgivably tough.

I immediately see where things may have gone belly-up. Flat iron (also called feather blade) has some monstrously tough gristle running around and through the cut. If not properly removed, it’s like gnawing on the inner tube of a JCB tyre.

Somebody somewhere must have fecked-up the butchering and left more than a little gristle onboard.

Alongside the woeful, steak there’s a daft attempt at steamed greens. Regrettably, the chopped beans, sugar snaps and cabbage combo, is undercooked to the point of completely raw.

The problem here is a kitchen not paying enough attention – the ingredients are excellent, it’s the execution that misses the mark by a mile.

Which is a pity, as the smoked mash is a joy to behold, an alchemy that transforms ordinary spuds into a dreamy dish you might put in a diary of specially remembered dreamy dishes.  

Thank goodness things pick up with dessert, to such a degree. I’m wondering if the same kitchen is responsible. The sticky toffee pudding is almost without fault. I say ‘almost’ because the sponge is slightly on the dry side and is rescued by a classic deliciously rich toffee sauce.

After initial high expectations and pricing that is definitely on the expensive side, a terrific toffee sauce should not be needed to save the day.

Finally, I detect more than a whiff of haughtiness from the servers, an attitude that never fails to annoy the hell out of me and never elicits a tip worth noticing.

Brookwood fails for me, most especially when it comes to their beloved steak.  

Food €42.00  Wine €7.50   Water €4.00

Verdict: 2/5