Food & DrinkGrub Spy

Grub & Grape Spy: The wonderful Washerwoman and Carmen Wave Sauvignon Blanc

Grub & Grape Spy: The wonderful Washerwoman and Carmen Wave Sauvignon Blanc

SOMETIMES forget how hard it must be to run a restaurant.

All that money invested, all those hours slaving away in a furnace that calls itself a kitchen. I roll my eyes and wonder why they put themselves through it. And then some wise-ass food critic saunters in and tears strips out of it.

Even running a bad restaurant takes effort. And if you put so much effort into running a bad joint, you’re asking for the scathing reviews.

Today we’re in the north side of Dublin, visiting the new-ish Washer­woman in Glasnevin, run by the crew from the Woollen Mills and The Wind­ing Stair. If recent rapturous reports are anything to go by, we should be in for a humdinger.

On entry, we are shepherded up­stairs. I quickly scan the surroundings and the menu. It is not a fancy place with an over-inflated opinion of itself - more it’s the kind of place where fami­lies, friends and dating couples can feel right at home.

And then there’s the food. The starters are nigh-on perfect. A whorl of smoked chicken liver pâté is the smoothest, silkiest meat paste ever to bedaub a wedge of toasted sour­dough. The Boss just adores it.

There’s also a pair of spicy crab cakes and some watercress topped with fresh crayfish with a side of saffron-laced tartar to bind it all together. They taste so intensely of crab and crayfish I wonder if other restaurants really know what they are doing.

There are no great innovations hap­pening here, but like I said, the starters are nigh-on perfect.

And then we have the bovine dry-aged superstars – Dexter 28-day rib-eyes jockeying for position with 30- day Limousin sirloins, 28 day Himala­yan salt-aged T-bones. AND proper dry-aged burgers. These cows got some serious looking after; first by a farm­er, then by a butcher, and finally by a skilful chef.

The Limousin steak arrives as ordered - medium leaning towards rare - seared with a seductive char and crowned with a nub of wild garlic butter.

There is so much to admire here - the beef tastes amazing, the chips are like chips used to be, the chipotle slaw is a crunchy, smoky pleasure (although may­be an extra thump of smokiness would not go astray). And finally, there’s some excellent garlic aioli.

A great looking chicken supreme coated in crunchy panko and loaded with Durrus cheese is up next. Chicken can often be dreary and tasteless in res­taurants, but not this baby. It’s stunning­ly tender, wonderfully moist and tastes like chicken should taste.

It is lifted even further out of the ordinary by the Durrus cheese melting over the spuds and broccoli, and by a splash of shamelessly rich plum gravy.

Never trust a panna cotta in a glass. If its not wibbly-wobbling on a plate, it’s just not cricket. And shovelling on whopping great piles of homemade granola (albeit a fine granola) does not rescue matters. The Boss was not a happy bunny.

A cheese selection with a glass of Barao Di Villar port was much more successful.

So, now I know why these particular guys do it – why they invest so much of themselves in ventures that could dis­appear overnight. They are staggeringly bloody good at it.


60 Glasnevin Hill,

Dublin 9 Ph: (01) 837 9441

4.5/5  Stars

Grape Spy by Jean Smullen

2014 Carmen Wave Sauvignon Blanc €9.99

If you are looking for a FAB SB, this summer look Chile for value. Carmen Wave is a wine partner at the Volvo Regatta in Dun Laoghaire from July 9 -12. This is a classy wine with lovely asparagus aromas and lime flavours backed by a subtle mineral finish. Great with fish.

For wine events see www.