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!
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
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 cinnamon.ie lucindaosullivan.com