Lucinda gets burnt again in Monkstown

Hav­ing had a bad ex­pe­ri­ence in the Ranelagh branch of Cin­na­mon three years ago, Lucinda O’Sul­li­van hoped for a bet­ter re­sult on her re­cent visit to the Monkstown branch. Wish­ful think­ing!

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - NEWS -

hen I vis­ited the then new Cin­na­mon in Ranelagh some three years ago, the food was good and the sur­round­ings were lovely. How­ever, the ser­vice was far­ci­cal on that oc­ca­sion — to the point where we won­dered if a TV host was go­ing to jump out of the wood­work, yelling “Gotcha”.

A sec­ond branch of Cin­na­mon opened in Monkstown last year, and, on a re­cent Satur­day night, we met up there with some friends, Mary and Miko, for din­ner. We were all quite buoyed by the decor: the fab­u­lously gen­er­ous brown-leather ban­quettes, the rus­tic ta­bles, the bot­tle-lined shelves and gen­eral am­biance. There were only three or four ta­bles oc­cu­pied, and we or­dered a bot­tle of Pro­tos Rueda Verdejo (€27.50), faffing around a bit as we looked at the menus and chat­ted while we were get­ting our­selves set­tled.

Bren­dan passed on the starters (€6-€12), while Miko kicked off with con­fit of duck ter­rine (€10) with pis­ta­chios, fen­nel and or­ange salad, which was fine, if a tad pricey. Mary and I fared bet­ter, with gar­lic and chilli prawns with chorizo (€9), which were de­cent-sized king prawns in a black skil­let with a slice of brown bread; while a su­perb open ravi­oli (€10) had two thin, silky sheets of pasta, lay­ered with beef cheek, sit­ting in a spinach cream with a red wine jus. We were happy campers.

How­ever, 10 min­utes later, we were won­der­ing where it had all gone wrong, as we sat in si­lence, star­ing at our main cour­ses. Had the chef aban­doned the kitchen, we spec­u­lated? Why was Bren­dan’s pan-seared rib-eye steak (€27) served in such an un­couth fash­ion — thrown on top of the chips, the whole lot awash with drip­ping Bear­naise sauce, in­stead of it be­ing served on the side? It was school­boy stuff, and, to make mat­ters worse, the steak was tough and stringy.

Miko took a deep in­take of breath as he looked at his chunky, fatty

The Idle Wall, lo­cated at the gates of West­port House, is a com­plete up­date, un­der new own­er­ship, of what was for­merly

the well-known Quay Cot­tage. The menu also re­flects in­no­va­tive cur­rent think­ing, with­out be­ing over-the-top. There’s lots of seafood and great lo­cal pro­duce, in­clud­ing a

beer made by the lo­cal vet

Price: €8.50-€29.50 Try: Lamb and Clams — Achill Is­land lamb and wild clams, €27.50

Drinks: Wine, Mes­can beer

It’s sea­side chic at its very best here, with stun­ning wa­ter views. Ev­ery­thing is done with a fan­tas­tic nat­u­ral style and panache by the Foyle fam­ily, in both their seafood res­tau­rant and bar. A fab ter­race,

too, and a menu that cov­ers ev­ery­thing from bouil­l­abaisse to mus­sels, as well as steaks with

pan-fried foie gras

Price: €5-€24.50 Try: Spicy and Hot Devilled Crab

Au Gratin, €23.50 Drinks: Ex­ten­sive wine cel­lar This large, new, gas­tropub-style eatery, lo­cated in the vil­lage of Ju­lianstown, caught our eye with its cutesy, at­trac­tive ex­te­rior and

am­ple space for park­ing. They have a wide menu which cov­ers an eclec­tic se­lec­tion, from piz­zas and burgers, through flat­breads and sam­bos, to kiln-smoked and

charred steaks

Price: €4.95-€27.95 Try: Smoked Had­dock Risotto With Peas and Poached Egg, €14.95

Drinks: Full li­cence, cock­tails piece of pork belly (€19), with its rock-hard crack­ling, sit­ting atop red cab­bage and lentils. A cou­ple of cir­cu­lar swirls of red jus and a cider glaze were not go­ing to turn this piggy pau­per into a royal prince! I had a sin­gle, limp fil­let of sea bream (€23) — it was aw­ful, and very poor value. It was flac­cidly sprawled on run-of-the mill cous­cous with a few black olives, while, some­what bizarrely, across the top of the plate, sit­ting like pawn­bro­kers’ balls in limbo, were three large, naked, rock-hard cau­li­flower flo­rets!

Mary’s starter por­tion of wa­ter­cress and baked ham risotto with pan-roasted scal­lops (€12) was also dis­ap­point­ing.

Apart from small gar­nishes, and the chips with the steak, sides weren’t in­cluded, so Miko or­dered chips (€4). On top of all of this, we had come to re­alise that the wine we had or­dered, which we were find­ing very flabby as we got fur­ther into it, had been sub­sti­tuted by another Verdejo with­out telling us, as “they were chang­ing their wines”! We then or­dered a bot­tle of Saint Clair Vicar’s Choice Sauvi­gnon Blanc 2014 (€31). On re­mov­ing the plates, a per­son, who seemed more se­nior, asked Bren­dan if he’d en­joyed his steak, and he told her straight. Ask­ing for the bill, another young lady who’d had us un­der ob­ser­va­tion, but had not come near us all evening, dashed out of the kitchen with two brown pa­per bags con­tain­ing a crois­sant each for our break­fast!

It was eaten bread, all too late, and some recog­ni­tion of our tri­als should have been re­flected on the bill, which had come to €181 for four starters, three mains, two bot­tles of wine and a lesser than nor­mal tip. Aban­don­ing the crois­sants, we ad­journed chez moi for straw­ber­ries, cheese and cof­fee, and a lot of bitch­ing! Cin­na­mon, 23 The Cres­cent, Monkstown, Co Dublin. Tel: (01) 230-3500 cin­na­ lu­cin­dao­sul­li­


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