The rate of new openings in Dublin at the moment means you'll never need to head to the same place twice.
But once you've tried Isabelle's on South Anne St, we reckon you'll want to.
The latest addition to Hospitality Group Press Up's collection of restaurants, bars and hotels in Dublin has been hyped for months and it opens this evening at 5pm, just in time for Christmas.
A brave choice, throwing open the doors just in time for the Christmas rush 150 metres from Grafton St, but it's not the team's first rodeo.
Heading up the team at Isabelle’s is General Manager Joanna Duda-McKenna formerly of Roly’s Bistro, Sophie’s Restaurant and Angelina’s.
Head Chef Barra Hurley has been working in the food industry for 20 years, beginning his career as a commis chef in L'Ecrivain and Chapter One. With nine years at Shanahan's on the Green under his belt, and a stint at The Butcher's Grill, his flair for cooking has made him a hugely respected chef. Barra spent the last year as Head Chef at Tomahawk Steakhouse on East Essex St, and he now steps away from Tomahawk’s firing grill to take the reins at Isabelle’s, putting his stamp on the city centre’s brand new addition.
The menu has been created as the result of a collaboration between Barra and Chef Stephen Ryan. The pair travelled to London on numerous occasions to get inspiration for the menu, which has been in the works for the past six months. They wanted to create food that has been prepared with love, simple but packed full of flavour, centered on seasonality.
Opening in the height of winter time, there are dishes that will warm you up from inside out, featuring robust winter vegetables and slow cooked meats, such as the Glazed Beef Short Rib, Pomegranate, Globe Artichoke, Parsley.
Seafood features prominently throughout the menu, with a focus on top quality fish served with minimal garnishing. Dishes include Baked Cod, Rainbow Chard, Gerkin Verde, Lemon Crisp and Pan Fried Stone Bass, Lardo, Jerusalem Artichoke.
The pizzas, fresh from the woodfired oven, will bring diners something a little bit different. For example, expect to see a Bolognese pizza on the menu, with a rich homemade ragu and a garlic crust, and a Black Fig & Gorgonzola pizza, the sweet fig providing a perfect balance to the rich and creamy cheese.
The lunch menu offers a selection of more casual mains and pizzas, such as the Blackened Shrimp Po’Boy, Cajun Spiced Pepper Salad, Sour Cream and Overnight Smoked Brisket, Homemade Brown Sauce, Potato Salad, Toasted Rye, served quickly for those on a speedy lunch break.
The design of the restaurant is contemporary yet crafted, with clean lines and a meticulous attention to detail and materiality. Oak clad walls, natural marble floor, large mirrors, bespoke light fittings, and a mix of comfortable banquette seating and locally crafted furniture, blend together to create a welcoming, warm and inviting feel.
It's the perfect spot for people-watching, thanks to the seated terrace on Royal Hibernian Way - a thoroughfare with a slower tempo than nearby Grafton St - perfect for soaking up the atmosphere without the mad crowds.
The open animated show kitchen is a focal point and feature of the restaurant, with as high a level of decorative finishes as the dining space itself, from the copper clad pizza counter to the handmade clay glazed wall tiles. Guests can peer through the pass to watch the expert team of chefs at work, or perch at the Pizza Counter and take in the team throwing dough before placing it carefully in the burning hot wood fired oven.
Isabelle’s Bar Manager Ronan Barrett has created a cocktail menu which features eight classic cocktails. Isabelle’s Whiskey Sour with a Christmassy spin for the season - made up of Roe & Co Irish whiskey, red wine, nutty flavours and a spiced porter - is a must-try.
Isabelle’s has teamed up with both IMMA and Kerlin Gallery to curate the art that lines the walls. IMMA have brought in 10 pieces from Clare Ormerod, an Irish artist working with fabric and materials in innovative and exciting ways. This 2018 collection is entitled She Is On Her Way and is made up of fabric, pastel, ink and wool.
We had a sneak peak of the lunch menu earlier this week and were massively impressed. The low ABV cocktails were the perfect choice for a lunch-time tipple with Ronan noting, ‘The drinks menu has been created to lift and add to the dining experience. The low ABV creations are also a great way to enjoy some sociable drinks'.
One tip - go HUNGRY!
Isabelle's Restaurant & Bar opens today (Friday Nov 30) at 5pm and opening hours are as follows going forward:
Monday - Friday: Lunch 12pm – 3pm
Afternoon Menu 3-5pm
Dinner 5pm – late
Saturday: Brunch 10am – 3pm
Afternoon Menu 3pm - 5pm
Dinner 5pm – late
Sunday: Brunch 10 am – 3.30pm
Afternoon Menu 3.30pm - 5pm
Dinner 5pm – late