Having tried, unsuccessfully, to make reservations at Fade Street Social over Christmas I was grateful, for once, for the inconvenient timing of my birthday, just before January payday. When I called to book not only did I have my choice of sittings but I also had a choice of the restaurant or the gastro bar. I chose the bar as I liked the sound of the tapas menu and I had heard great things about some of the dishes from fellow blogger Yummeelicious who had visited just before us.
The gastro bar occupies the top floor of the building and has a very cosy feel complete with wood burning stoves. We had a cocktail from the bar while waiting for our table and I was impressed by the unusual and inventive sounding creations and house made ingredients.
|Clockwise from left: Beef carpaccio, soft shell crab, pork belly|
The word ‘tapas’ in the gastro bar seems to refer more to the size of the dishes than the origin of the cuisine; there are no patatas bravas or albondigas here. We decided to go with 2 – 3 dishes each with some portions of chips to share. I chose meltingly soft slow cooked pork belly with crispy peanut brittle, beef carpaccio with a zingy celeriac and apple remoulade, and I decided to be brave and order the soft shell crab, something I have always been a little bit squeamish about. I was glad I did as the generous portion of tender crab in a fragrantly spiced crispy coating with a miso mayonnaise was incredibly moreish.
|Clockwise from top left: Char-grilled skate wing; baby crab toasties with hollandaise; bacon and cabbage burger; octopus carpaccio with Spanish ham|
We tried a good range of dishes from across the varied and, at times, quirky menu and all of them were declared delicious. Everyone ordered dessert and we were impressed by the presentation (Clockwise from right: chocolate mousse; baby banoffee; neapolitan sandwich). Their take on banoffee didn’t quite meet my expectations though I will put this down to the fact that I was stuffed as it was happily polished off by The Boyfriend. The neapolitan sandwich was a great modern take on a retro dessert. During our meal we drank the house red and white wine which were excellent value for €20 per bottle.
Overall, I was impressed with the quality of the food and drinks, the quirkiness of the menu has been well balanced with the need for the food to still taste good. I felt that the menu lacked clarity about how to order and there was a considerable difference in portion size between some of the dishes meaning that bad ordering could leave you with a bit of a skimpy meal (part of the reason why The Boyfriend had no trouble eating two desserts!)
This could be remedied by a good explanation on the menu or an introduction by the staff, however, this brings me on to the only real flaw of our evening. The staff were perfunctory at best, a brief explanation of the menu was offered only when we managed to flag a waiter down and it felt like the bare minimum of attention was paid to our table all night. When we were left with empty wine glasses towards the end of our meal I was reminded of Jeffrey Steingarten’s hilarious book ‘The man who ate everything’ and the chapter where he goes to waiter school. He learns to increase his tips by never treating any table like a dead table until they’re in their taxi. A staff member with any initiative could have easily sold us another bottle of wine, perhaps even another round of cocktails. As it was, thirst got the better of us and we went across the road to the Market Bar.
Fade Street SocialFade Street, Dublin 2
01 604 0066