With the return to office life now in full swing, two of my fellow food loving colleagues and I decided it was high time we booked one of those lovely early, after work dinners that we previously took for granted. The good old days we reminisced about for the last eighteen months or so are back!
We booked a table in the newly rebranded Fish & Meat Bone, Clontarf. Many of you will be familiar with this multi Michelin Bib, award wining restaurant in its former guise of “Fishbone”, now returning with a menu to appease everyone from the confirmed carnivore to the flexi pescatarian.
Situated in the idyllic village of Clontarf with stunning views out over Dublin Bay. There is a spacious, covered outside area that cater for customers on a sunny day but also protect against the elements as winter approaches.
The décor is rustic and chic and it immediately provides a sense of ease and relaxation. Greeted warmly by a friendly and engaging staff member, the menu was explained and we were ready to indulge.
The Menus are very well designed and keenly priced. The food choices on offer cater to a wide variety of tastes. Having visited Fishbone many times in pervious years I noticed some favourites were still available along side some exciting new additions.
Our first and dare we say, favourite starter of the night was the Zaalouk. Smoked aubergine, tomato, salsa, grilled halloumi cheese served with pitta bread.
A deliciously spicy salsa sauce, the perfect contrast to the accompanying grilled halloumi with generous helping of warm pitta bread on the side. This is a dish that we will come back for again and again.
The classic Prawn Pil Pil with its chilli, garlic & herby goodness. These simple but perfectly executed flavours that so many of us know and love. A generous portion of juicy prawns and the surprise addition of fennel which gave a lovely fresh lift to the dish.
The third starter on our table was Fried Calamari served with Harissa chick peas and sriracha mayo.
Another classic dish that was executed perfectly. Tender rings of squid with a gloriously crisp golden crumb. Harissa Chick Peas adding another level of texture and depth with the sriracha mayo providing a pleasant, not over powering, heat to the dish.
The drinks menu has a focused and value orientated wine list, a varied Gin & specialist mixer list, a great selection of beers and a wonderful bespoke cocktail list with some wonderful twists on classics.
All three of us opted for a bottle of locally brewed Hope Beer – Handsome Jack, India Pale Ale. It paired really nicely with all three starters but really came into its own with the smokey, spicy flavours of the Zaalouk.
Our main courses arrived to the table, plated to perfection. Seared Scallops & Pork Belly with sauteed potato, broccoli, beef jus
Buttery scallops played the perfect plate mate to the wonderfully crispy crackling and juicy meat of the pork. A delightfully rich beef jus elevated the overall intensity of flavour of this entire dish making each meaty mouthful so moreish and delicious.
Across the table, the Pan Fried Sea Bream Fillet looked so inviting. Served with baby young peas, sautéed potato, smoked bacon, pearl onion, tomato olive dressing.
All three of us agreed that this was the standout main course of the evening for us. Fantastic freshness and flavour in every bite. A rustic, earthy dish that packed a delicious punch of flavour in every beautifully seasoned forkful.
The third main course to our table was the vibrant Vegan Tacos. Beautifully presented with a satisfying sweetness in each bite courtesy of the mango and avocado salsa. A generous side of brilliantly crunchy sweet potato fries completed this very enjoyable dish.
We really enjoyed our wine choice with all of these great main courses. We opted for a bottle of Landhaus Mayer Riesling 2019. A fresh and ripe wine full of minerality that paired very nicely with all three of our main course dishes.
Bringing our evening to a very sweet end we indulged in a delightfully creamy Creme Brûlée which had that all important, and extremely satisfying, shatteringly crisp top! A scoop of light raspberry sorbet completed this sweet treat.
Hello darkness my old friend! Step forth the most devilishly decadent Almond & Hazelnut Chocolate Mousse Brownie with a side of hot chocolate sauce for good measure. A serious measure of gooey, fudgey, chocolately goodness on this plate was devoured in record time.
Completing the dessert trio was the Rhubard and Strawberry Crumble. We had this served warm, the buttery crumble topping gave way to a wonderfully balanced bed of tart rhubarb and sweet strawberry. Served with strawberry ice cream, that comforting contrast of the warm and cold evoking a real sense of satisfaction and comfort.
Seeing lots of fellow diners being served very tempting looking cocktails we decided to finish our evening in style with a Clontarf Dream. Comprised of Vodka, Baileys, trip sec, Guinness, a shot of espresso and vanilla syrup this was quite the treat!
The Clontarf dream is a cocktail experience award winner. A wonderfully designed cocktail that balances a large array of competing tastes perfectly.
Whether you have perviously visited or are yet to visit, Fish & Meat Bone Restaurant in Clontarf is a super spot to put on your list. The idyllic location, warm atmosphere and most important of all, delicious food makes a visit to this restaurant a must.
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WRITTEN BY COLLY MURRAY