Luna: Outstanding food in fun restaurant is a revelation
I've lost count the number of fine restaurants that have come a cropper since I started writing this column.
It’s a risky business, and the intricacies involved with running an eatery nowadays are so complex that most of us mere diners couldn’t even begin to get our heads around them.
With that in mind, I would have said that opening an old-school New York Italian-ish restaurant under a multi-storey car park in Dublin’s city centre might be a tad risky.
However, if the success of Super Miss Sue, 777, Dillinger’s, and The Butcher’s Grill (still serving the best steaks in the country) has taught me anything at all, it’s that sometimes when remarkably simple dining ideas are imaginatively and skillfully brought together, the end result can be amazing.
Case in point: Luna, John Farrell’s latest opulent offering located at Drury Street car park. Farrell is the cool-dude concept king of Dublin’s restaurant scene. All his joints not only sell food, they also sell an ambiance and a mood with a seductive back-story.
Luna’s back story? Well, imagine descending into a luxurious 1950s restaurant in New York and finding Michael Corleone and his crew in a booth making plans to take over the city and you are very close.
Luna’s ceilings are as low as its lighting, the booths are divinely comfy and there’s even a Campari bar.
And then there’s the grub. The fun starts with sliced raw scallops and Baeri caviar. It’s like an eruption of seafood freshness in my mouth that just keeps going. The splashes of gold leaf are a bit of posh nonsense, but who cares? That scallop-caviar hit...wow.
It’s a rare moment when beef carpaccio tastes of anything but beef carpaccio. With fail-safe old-timers like these, it can be difficult to present them in exciting ways. One way is to add warm delicious bone marrow, little crunchy croutons and truffle shavings – then you really do have something new and exciting.
I have to try the pasta. The spaghetti looks fantastic; the skimpiest whiff of truffle deepens and elevates ordinary cream and Parmesan to a whole new concoction level. I expect the pasta here to be cooked perfectly – and it is. There’s a party going on in my mouth and I’m the guest of honour.
I’ll be calling back for that experience alone.
Amusing as it is to see a sweet trolley for the first time in yonks, I’m afraid the onboard dessert goodies are not tempting enough, so I forgo a sampling. Maybe next time?
A couple of glasses of delicious Montepulciano, professional laid-back servers who know their stuff and a buzz that only comes from diners who are enjoying a great evening out – what more can a hungry table jockey want?
Yes, Luna is expensive enough, but you will understand why and you will not complain. If you book for the late dinner sitting you’re in for the night as restaurant morphs into the place-to-be-seen for late night revellers, staying open until 2am.
Believe it or not, there are snooty foodies out there who I have heard pooh-pooh Farrell’s themed approach to restaurants.
What’s wrong with serving outstanding food in a fun restaurant that makes people smile? Just go there and you’ll know exactly what I mean.