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Good for the goose

This Ballsbridge eatery is on to a winner with French bistro-style fare that’s given a hearty Irish twist

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The restaurant is located along one of Dublin 4’s busiest stretches of eateries and bars.

The restaurant is located along one of Dublin 4’s busiest stretches of eateries and bars.

The restaurant is located along one of Dublin 4’s busiest stretches of eateries and bars.

It's the first Friday of indoor dining and drinking, and I’m back in Dublin, in leafy Ballsbridge to be exact. Pre-Covid, eating in Dublin was something I did a great deal — not that our capital has better eateries than the rest of the country, there’s just more of them to choose from.

10 Merrion Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

Four Stars

FOOD €75 WINE €36

 

There is always an annoying level of struggle getting there and back — traffic, trains and general hassle — not to mention the occasional insanely priced meal. And, of course, I always complain, but I’m so fond of the city I’m always planning the next trip.

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This time round I picked Ballsbridge for two reasons.

One, I have always enjoyed a few pints on that craic-filled stretch of pubs and restaurants between Roly’s and the Horse Show House.

What’s not to like? Just think Crowes and Paddy Cullen’s, six deep at the bar and 10 deep outside. And two, having twice cancelled a visit pre-lockdown I was determined to check out the cutely named Girl and the Goose restaurant.

The entrance is a handsome pair of grey-painted double-doors leading upstairs to an equally handsome dining room.

Reassuringly, there are ample amounts of socially-distanced seating with stacks of comfy leather banquettes. Menu-wise, rather than offering anything revolutionary, we take a familiar journey through French bistro fare with hearty pinches of Irish.

Take the barley risotto starter for instance. It’s a big dollop of earthy loveliness with shrimps, tiger prawns, chopped scallions and red pepper. Sizable enough for a main course, it is creamy and delicious.

Next up is a goat’s cheese brûlée. Served with raspberry sauce, cubes of poached/marinated beetroot and toasted sourdough, it is scrumptious, surprisingly light and fluffy, and — thankfully —not too goat’s-cheesy.

For my main course, I have a lamb shank that is everything I could wish it to be. Sitting neatly in a puddle of heavenly gravy with bacon lardons, chopped carrots, celery and potato, it is juicy, falling off the bone, and bursting with lamby, garlicky flavours.

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A neat-looking wedge of smoked bacon strudel completes the dish. Regrettably, the strudel is the only downside of the meal — it lacks seasoning and the pastry is verging on raw.

The Boss loves the pearly white fillet of Atlantic hake resting on a pile of pumpkin and basil gnocchi. The advertised asparagus is absent and the two lonely florets of broccoli don’t make up for the oversight. Still, that perfectly-cooked hake is pretty much the best she ever tasted and the gnocchi is also up there with the best.

Accompanied with a side of roasted baby potatoes, a glass of Merlot and a chilled bottle of Pinot Grigio, both dishes are shovelled up with gusto.

We share a generous-sized apple galette with a portion of honeycomb ice cream. The flaky pastry is thoroughly serviceable, the thinly-sliced apple is pleasing, and the ice cream melty and tasty.

As you most likely guessed by now, I’m going to overlook the strudel boo-boo, mainly because everything else (including the service) is first rate. Girl and the Goose is the kind of place you can’t help liking and I will definitely call there again.

 

Grape Spy by Jean Smullen

TODAY I’ve got two French wines from Vignobles Bonfils, exclusive to Dunnes Stores, for you. The white has been a firm favourite with customers for many years, so the supermarket added a red to complement it.

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2019 VAUGELAS LES FALAISES AOP LANGUEDOC €11

This full-bodied white wine is a blend of three grape varieties: Grenache Blanc 50pc, Vermentino 30pc and Marsanne 20pc. It has lovely peach and honeysuckle aromas. The Grenache adds rich ripe peachy fruit flavours and a hint of spice. This wine will handle any variety of foods cooked with herbs and spices, try it with chicken satay or Moroccan tangine lamb or even a hot sweet potato curry.

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2019 CHÂTEAU VAUGELAS FÛT DE CHÊNE AOP CORBIÈRES €12

Château Vaugelas is a well-known producer from the red appellation of Corbières in the south of France. This wine has a classic blend of the region’s best-known red grapes: Syrah 50pc, Grenache 35pc, Carignan 10pc, and Mourvèdre 5pc. A lot of these grapes are older which means the fruit flavours are very concentrated. Great with roast meat, such as glazed lamb or pork, it has lots of black cherry flavours and a good firm tannin.

  • For wine events, see jeansmullen.com

Quick Bites

Have you got foodie news we should know about? Email quickbites@sundayworld.com

 

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QUICK BITES SUNDAY 15 AUGUST

QUICK BITES SUNDAY 15 AUGUST

QUICK BITES SUNDAY 15 AUGUST

 

Full of Bull

TOMATO, chilli, barbecue, burger, tartar, taco — at this point, there are probably more sauces than actual food in the fridge here at Magazine+ HQ.

But that hasn’t stopped us making room on the bottom shelf for the latest mouth-watering range from Bull’s-Eye.

Best known for its Original BBQ Sauce, the US brand has just launched a selection of BBQ and Hot Sauces to put the heat in your meat this summer.

We’re not too chicken for the extra hot Carolina Reaper with Black Garlic Hot Sauce, €2.59. Or dip, drizzle or marinade with the Kentucky Habanero with Whiskey Hot Sauce, €2.59, or Hickory Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce, €2.99, available from Tesco and Dunnes Stores.

We’ve got a pack with all seven Bull’s-Eye BBQ and Hot Sauces up for grabs. Email your name and contact details to competitions@sundayworld.com with ‘Bull’s-Eye’ in the subject line. Entries close Friday, August 20. Usual T&Cs apply.

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