March 03, 2015

Rock Lobster @ Harvey Nichols

Dee and I went on a date a couple of weeks ago to see 50 Shades of Pure Shite Grey. We were guests of Glossybox and joined a hundred-odd other ladies (and a few lads) at a private screening in Dundrum where we whooped, laughed, cringed and drooled - but, mostly cringed, for two and half hours.

Since it was a bit of a trek for us to get there after work, we decided to make the most of it and check out Rock Lobster, a second location for the Donnybrook original that is housed in Harvey Nichols.

Infinitely cool with dark and moody decor, concealed uplighting in reds, pinks and purples, plush banquets and lots of industrial-style exposed woodwork and minimalistic pendant light fixtures, it definitely wins points for ambience.

We arrived just in the nick of time to take advantage of the Early Bird which ends at 7pm. €23.50 will get you two courses while €28 sees you adding a third. Not cheap by Early Bird standards but, not terrible either. There's a choice of three starters, three mains and three desserts and with ingredients like Jerusalem artichoke, wild mushrooms and pastrami, there's definitely a lot of creativity and thought gone into the menu.

Dee opted for the Balscadden Crab Cake with Roast Peppers and Fennel while I plumped for the Rare Beef Salad which came with a melange of Jerusalem artichoke, heirloom tomato, basil and torn chunks of fresh burrata and mozzarella.

The crab cake was unlike nothing we have ever seen and, by all accounts, was very, very good. However, according to Dee, the sauces swept around the plate were ill-thought out and didn't marry well with the fresh crab - one was some kind of a mustard and the other we weren't sure about. My beef salad was light and fresh and really enjoyable - it's always nice when restaurants don't come over all stingy with burrata/mozzarella. 

Fish and chips; golden batterd white fish, handcut fries, tartar sauce and pea purée, was Dee's choice of main course while I went for the hake served with celeriac purée, spinach and wild mushrooms. 

The flavours in my dish were good - very warming and the perfect antidote to the blustery Dublin mountain evening. However, the fish was lacklustre; dry, overcooked slightly and not crispy enough on top - I don't expect to go to a seafood restaurant and come away feeling that my own pan-fried hake is better! Dee said similar about her meal and made the point that, perhaps, living where we do, we have been spoiled by the quality of seafood we have access to. She did say that the peas were particularly good though!

Overall, it was a good meal and the HN Malbec we each had a glass of was absolutely divine. That being said, I always feel like if a restaurant is going to so openly align itself with one genre of food, or in this case two (steak and seafood), there is zero room for mistakes, misplaced flavours or over/undercooking. However, we both agreed that we would go back again, not on the Early Bird which, in hindsight, felt like a bit of an afterthought on their part, and try something like the RL Ultimate Surf & Turf which, for €60 sees you and whomever you decide to share with, chow down on a whole lobster sitting atop a Cote de Boeuf. 

Find Rock Lobster here.

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