Most people dining in Dún Laoghaire tend to do so when the sun is shining and the harbour offers some striking views. Unfortunately we happened to visit on a wet and windy Wednesday. Taking shelter from the weather we were greeted warmly in Hartley’s, a local institution since it opened in 2007.
The bright and airy dining room made a welcome change from the dismal situation outside. The restaurant is situated in the old ticket hall of the Kingstown train station and that provides Hartley’s with a Victorian elegance that is made contemporary with some modern elements like their cocktail bar.
Steak and seafood are the stars in Hartley’s so we opted for the Fritto Misto, a generous portion of crispy calamari, crab claws and prawns that were fresh and delicious. The homemade tartare sauce brought the seafood to life with its creamy and zingy flavours.
We also had a starter of Fish Cakes with Ham Hock and a preserved lime aioli which was a special. The subtle hints of citrus in the sauce were perfectly balanced and the light breading on the outside of the cakes gave a crispy texture. The shredded ham hock paired really well with flaky white fish which was light and melted in the mouth. The pickled cucumber dotted through the accompanying salad was a pleasant surprise.
For our mains we had a comforting pasta dish of Wild Mushroom & Chorizo Linguine with White Wine, Garlic and Spinach Cream. The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente, with a great variety of mushrooms through the dish. The oil from the chorizo made the sauce incredible and the sausage itself was soft and fell apart like it had been slow cooked. A perfect dish to warm you up in all kinds of weather and excellent value too.
Our second main was Pan-fried Hake with samphire, asparagus, peas and a Smoked Cod Broth. The fish itself was fresh and we received a more than generous portion. The accompanying veg were sweet and salty providing a great blend of flavours but the smokey cod broth absolutely stole the show. A different spin on a classic dish, fans of smoked fish will love this.
We finished off with a Frozen Blood Peach & White Chocolate Parfait. It was presented in solid blocks and reminded us of grown up raspberry ripple ice cream but with beautiful peach flavours running through it and a smooth chocolate texture. A hint of Amaretto in the syrup added a depth to the dessert and a little more sweetness. It was a refreshing way to finish off our meal.
With some sparkling water, an espresso and two lovely glasses of Rula Feiticeira, Rias Baixas 2013 Albarino the bill came to €93.80.
Hartley’s is a Homely Taste in an old world, elegant setting.