Call me a snob but I prefer the South side of town – the posh hotels, nice bars, restaurants and wine bars. What I don’t like are the price tags that come with all that so I’ve been loving using all my 30th birthday vouchers recently trying out a few places that were on my list. Most people know I love going out to eat so a restaurant voucher is nice and easy for them and always appreciated by me.
The last one burning a hole in my pocket was one for Good Food Ireland. http://www.goodfoodireland.ie/
These are such a great idea, they can be used in places located all over Ireland – restaurants, some pubs and bars, food shops, cookery schools, markets and some cookery hotels. A quick look on the website will give you the full list of places they can be used – so much choice!
So on a nice sunny May bank holiday Monday myself and my Mam were off to Grafton Street to have a little look around the shops and the have the obligatory make up splurge in BT 🙂
My Mam is like a friend to me as well as an amazing Mammy and we spend lots and lots of our time together going out to eat…. at this stage we’ve got a list as long as our arms of places that we want to go!
After doing some shopping we stopped off at 37 Dawson Street for a quick drink. This is my regular place to go with the girls on a Saturday night, I love it. The interior is like an explosion in an antique shop. There are random things on every wall you look at – deer’s heads, crazy lamps, biology posters and a wall of jars of sweets… all very random but fun! I knew that during the day it’s a lot quieter than the Saturday night mayhem and has nice cosy sofas so we plonked ourselves down and had a chat for half an hour.
The choice for lunch using this voucher was down to Marco Pierre’s steakhouse on Dawson Street or The Saddle Room in the Shelbourne hotel. I love trying new places and have been to Marco’s a few times before so decided on the Shelbourne. They’ve a pretty reasonable lunch time menu so we said we’d give it a shot.
The first thing to note was the staff – they were so so friendly. Couldn’t do enough for you and were so polite. I can’t cope with rude waiters who act like you’re an annoyance even by being there so it was nice to have the guys at the door of the hotel greet us and hold open the door and have such friendly people seating and serving us.
The restaurant interior is lovely. The first thing you see when you walk in is a long island type table, set with champagne glasses. This is the oyster bar and is pretty impressive looking (top image in pic at top of this post). There’s also some nice booths and then a large open plan area. We were seated right around in the open area at the back. For a bank holiday Monday there was a few around but it wasn’t too busy. Quite a few older ladies having lunch and a few families too. I know places like this get a bad rep for being pretentious and full of stuck up people but there was a really nice relaxed atmosphere and we felt totally comfortable and at ease.
So we were seated and handed the menu and wine list. Straight off we ordered some water – for my hangover – and a glass of wine – also for my hangover 🙂
Mam had the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc…. not cheap at €11 a glass. I got a glass of Merlot, more reasonably priced at €8.
Now usually I’ll try to pick something semi healthy from the menu but with a raging hangover from being out the night before I was starving and wanted carbs, carbs and more carbs! So I was a happy girl when they came over with not just a couple of slices of bread but a full loaf…. I actually think my eyes lit up like a kid on Christmas day!
Tucking into that, we had a look over the menu. The lunchtime menu offers 2 courses for €21.95 or 3 for €25.95. There’s a pretty good choice on it… some starter options were asparagus soup, French onion soup, goats cheese salad, ham hock terrine and smoked salmon salad. Mains ranged from sirloin of beef (€5 supplement) or salmon steak to chicken, plaice or cod.
I went for the French Onion Soup and Mam had the Goats Cheese salad with beetroot and apple. I think I definitely made the better choice on starter anyway. As you can see in the pic below, the goats cheese salad looked very pretty but there wasn’t much of it. I didn’t taste it but apparently it was lovely, if quite small. My soup was yum and just what my hangover wanted. Roasting hot and salty and went amazingly well with some of the crusty loaf of white bread they’d given us. I knew I should lay off the bread so as not to be stuffed for my main but I was starving and couldn’t help it!
I’d chosen the 7oz sirloin of beef with spinach, salsa verde and onion rings for my main. There’s a €5 supplement on this but I just wanted something big and substantial to fill me up so knew this would do the job. Mam ordered the chicken with coco beans and morteau sausage. Just the right amount of time passed between courses… I haaaaate when they’ve barely cleared your starter plates and are serving your mains.
My meal was massive! They also came with a side of carrots and baby potatoes. I knew no matter how hungry I was I was going to struggle to finish this lot. I didn’t expect so much food and had eaten most of the loaf of bread! The beef was cooked exactly how I’d asked (rare) and the salsa verde went so well with it. I’m not a huge onion ring fan and wouldn’t have missed them had they not been there as there was so much more food to be honest. I left one onion ring and a small bit of the beef but I made a fair dent in it all!
There’s nothing more annoying than wishing you ordered what your dining partner got and this was one of those times. My Mam’s chicken looked so tasty!! Nice crispy skin and juicy chicken, not dried out or anything. She loved it and I did have a little taste and can vouch that it was yum.
There was only one tiny problem with the whole experience and that was an odd black potato! Not sure if it had rotted through or what the story was but that was literally the only thing I can say that wasn’t great with the whole meal.
Neither of us could even think of getting desert (this is VERY unusual for me!) but there was a good choice on the menu….chocolate and raspberry tart, bread and butter pudding, apple crumble, pavlova and crème brulee… had I not been so full I would have demolished that chocolate tart!
So we settled the bill (most of it paid with my voucher) and left. Total bill was just shy of €80 for 2 lunch menus, 2 glasses of the white wine and 1 of the red. With €10 tip it stacked up at €90 which is definitely more than I like to pay for lunch but as a treat it was such a lovely afternoon…. a really nice restaurant, great friendly staff and fab food – would definitely recommend for the lunch or early bird menu – or even dinner if you’re not paying 🙂
The Saddle Room @ The Shelbourne Hotel
27 St. Stephen’s Green
Phone:(01) 663 4500
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