New kid on the block
BECKETT & BULL KEEPS IT LOCAL -- and manages TO APPEAL TO THE WHOLE FAMILY WITH ITS AMERICAN STYLE
The main joy of living in a city is the easy access to the goods and services you need to keep your life functioning and interesting. Sadly, much of suburban Dublin is lacking one vital service -- a decent local restaurant.
There are dozens of restaurants in the Rathgar/Terenure/Harold's Cross area but only a couple serve consistently good food. There is now one more.
Beckett & Bull was opened earlier this year (in the old Riva) by Jonathan and Amanda Kirwan with the aim of bringing a "New York- style eatery" to Dublin 6. For "eatery" think less casual than a restaurant and more formal than a cafe.
Thanks to the strong chances of meeting your neighbours, a local place like Beckett & Bull is probably not ideal for a first date, and definitely not the place to bring your mistress or fancy-man!
The emphasis is on the casual -- they will encourage you to linger over the second bottle and you know you can stumble home easily enough.
I visited with the Engineer and the Aspiring Teenager and had two good omens within the first three minutes -- a sophisticated friend was just leaving looking happy, and the coolest girl in the neighbourhood was working in the kitchen.
Our welcome was warm and the restaurant was busy, despite the fact that it was only 6.45pm. A glass of French Sauvignon Blanc and a bottle of Chicago's finest Goose Island India Pale Ale got us in the mood.
The wine list is short but with a good quality selection from Woods Wines. Our young Spanish Ercavio Tempranillo from La Mancha was supple and fruity, and tasted well above its €23.
We ordered two starters to share -- fresh, tasty mussels with fluffy garlic bread and calamari deep fried in panko breadcrumbs. The crumb casing was a little doughy for the squid according to the Engineer but the squid itself was perfectly cooked with a lovely light texture.
The Aspiring Teenager's sirloin (€19) arrived medium rather than rare but was well seasoned and hung.
The steak was served with excellent onion rings and large wedges (which they called "chips"). Wedges seem to be making a comeback in Dublin restaurants (not a good thing) but at least these wedges were as good as they can get -- crispy on the outside and fluffy within.
The Engineer's pizza (€14) had a thin base and a large quantity of good-quality topping -- Parma ham, sun-dried cherry tomatoes, rocket and Parmesan. My beer-battered fish (€16) was very fresh and cooked just enough to crisp the batter without the fish over-cooking.
White chocolate Toblerone and honeycomb cheesecake was light and creamy, and the rich chocolate chilli cake had a sticky ganache centre and a mild chilli kick.
So B&B is perfect for "keeping it local", and if you live on the northside catch the 16 bus over and bring your fancy-man.