Many restaurants are born from a labour of love, however Malahide’s newest venue, Old Street has taken husband and wife team, Mark & Adriana Fitzpatrick eighteen painstaking months to renovate from a “derelict” cottage to an impressive two story restaurant, bar and wine cellar. Due to open last January we have been keeping a close eye on its progress and finally last Wednesday after many setbacks and unexpected building issues they opened their doors.
We popped in on Thursday with an 8pm booking to a relatively busy room with mostly “Malahidians”, a suburb by the way that houses over 30 restaurants, which for the population says a lot about their love of dining out.
From the outside it is hard to believe this was once one of the oldest cottages in the village as it now stands as an impressive contemporary building that somehow manages to blend right in.
We were greeted by a familiar face, Denise McBrien, who is the General Manager of Old Street, many of you may recognise Denise from her days in the award winning Pichet, she still oozes that front of house charm that is harder and harder to come by in Dublin these days and will no doubt bring many of her old regulars out to Malahide.
We are shown to the bar area which is all rich leather, exposed brick and some very well stocked shelves, particularly if you are a whiskey lover. The interior design, all of which was curated by Adriana herself, is well on point and makes excellent use of the space to create a feeling of comfort whilst still feeling quite contemporary.
A beautifully bound cocktail list gives us an insight that Old Street intends to be a lot more than just a restaurant. With an impressive underground cellar and plans to open this to the public for tastings and private parties it is clear that the owners are passionate wine lovers and want this to become the go to destination in North County Dublin for people with a penchant for good vino.
We sampled a decent G&T (€12) whilst reading the dinner menu but were more impressed by Old Streets’ clever take on an Old Fashioned – “Smoke & Mirrors “ (€12) made with Jameson Caskmates, maple syrup and lapsang souchong, which is where the smokiness comes into play.
The menu on offer is probably a little more adventurous than most “neighbourhood” spots, Old Street have not only recruited well on the front of house but also behind the scenes with Head Chef Fergal Caffrey, who is ex Amuse and his talented young sous chef Chris Fulham, who is ex Chapter One/Amuse also and was recently a finalist in the Euro-Toques Young Chef of The Year competition.
Putting these efforts into quality recruiting shows these guys are in it the for the long hall and we have no doubt that there will be some interesting developments in the coming months, when they have ironed out the usual opening teething problems.
Starters range from €8 for a Barbequed Beetroot Salad up to €15 for Scallops, Black Garlic Gel, and Truffle Mayonaisse, we liked the sound of the Beef Tartare, Chipotle Pepper, Shimeji mushroom, Avocado, Sourdough (€13) a more inventive slant on a classic dish. Flavours were well balanced and delicate and clearly displayed an experienced hand in the kitchen.
On the other side of the table sat a plump Pork Croquette (€12), generously packed with shreds of delicious slow cooked pork, simply dressed with a seriously good burnt apple puree, mustard dressing and a creamy chive and celeriac remoulade.
Rarely on reviews do we order steaks, not because they aren’t bloody tasty but often they don’t tell a food story well. In Old Street we made the exception as we keen to sample the Organic Ribeye from Ballyhenry Farm in Co. Wicklow, not only home to some of the best grazed cattle in the country but also famous for being the home of the Vikings TV series.
Good steak shouldn’t require too many trimmings, we believe the beef should speak for itself if cooked well, as Marco Pierre White once said “the more you do to food the more you take away”. Served with a simple Bernaise sauce, cooked medium to rare with helping of home cut fries clearly Fergal agrees. Although the meat was meltingly good at €32 in a neighbourhood venue the pricing does seem a little steep.
Our second main of Cod, Mussel Veloute, Lovage Oil, Hispi Cabbage, Smoked Potato (€24) not only represented excellent value but also was the standout dish of the night. The smoked potato is reason enough to visit Old Street by itself but as die hard fans of a buttery mash we may be slightly biased.
If you are going to put this much effort into the food you need a wine list that can do it justice, only two days open and we were seriously impressed by the interesting and diverse list on offer, compiled by co-owner Mark Fitzpatrick and Eva Iwasaki who just happens to have an excellent plate for wines that are guaranteed to excite and an eye for creating a list that is easy for punters to navigate.
With over 23 wines by the glass (priced from €7 upwards) and a small tome by the bottle (priced from €26.50 upwards) we eventually settled on a Sicilian stunner Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso 2015 (€55) if you have yet to sample the volcanic wines from this region than now is the time, beautiful structure, bright acidity and elegant tannins make this a very drinkable drop to explore.
Desserts are a bit mysterious and if ordering purely from the menu you may be doing so blind, but we guess there is a method in the madness as the limited information spiked our interest, the “Old Street Cinema” (€8) was an easy sell once we heard that it entailed; sweet and savoury popcorn, cola jelly cubes, almond praline crumble, pistachio crumble and vanilla ice cream – nostalgia, superb presentation and luscious flavours made this the best dessert of 2017 for us so far.
When you have a dessert where two spoons are fighting against each other you know this will be hard to live up to, our second dessert of Sourdough Donuts, Hazelnut and Milk Chocolate, Buttermilk Snow, Olive Oil Sorbet (€8) sounded a lot better than it actually tasted, the sourdough was unfortunately just too tough for our liking but it is easy to put this down to second night jitters, even though many will argue if you are charging full whack you need to be 100% ready.
We both really enjoyed Old Street and love what this dynamic duo are trying to create in Malahide, once all the pieces fall into place we have no doubt this will be quite the mecca not just for Malahidians but for anyone searching for a delicious night out.
Dinner for two, including two cocktails and wine came to €173.10.
T: 353 (1) 8455614
W : www.oldstreet.ie