Cleaver East might be best known for its bottomless brunch, but the newly revamped dinner menu makes a strong case for making your next reservation here, too.
Chef Oliver Dunne and his team have given the food and drink menus an Eastern Asian-inspired revamp that focuses on predominantly Irish produce while creating an entirely new concept for the restaurant.
After arriving at the restaurant on a buzzy Wednesday evening to check it out, everything on the menu looked so good that we decided to opt for the five-course surprise tasting menu so that we could try a variety of dishes.
Starters like General Tso’s cauliflower with Buddha’s hand (a Chinese citrus plant), mint and chilli dip, and peppered yellow fin tuna with mango and pineapple chutney are delicious but light enough that they don't leave you too full to get excited about the mains still to come.
Other highlights among the new starters are the steamed duck gyoza with shitake and XO broth, pickled shimeji (a mushroom native to eastern Asia) and artichoke crisps, while the duck spring rolls are the best I’ve eaten in recent memory – perfectly flaky and with a very generous amount of filling.
For the mains, we were served up a combination of the striploin of beef with slow roasted tomato and pepper sauce along with a melt in the mouth slow cooked beef shortrib that comes with an unbelievable white miso and pomegranate molasses glaze.
New signature cocktails also nod to the oriental theme and include the Ruby Tang, containing Opihr gin, pomegranate juice, lime juice, rose syrup and raspberry liqueur; Tequila Thai made with Don Julio Blanco tequila, lychee purée, lime juice, fresh coriander and chili; and an Eastern Old Fashioned made with Bulleit Rye, ginger syrup, lemon juice and angostura bitters.
Just make sure you save room for dessert – in this case, a delicious chocolate shell with an ice cream filling that's just asking to be Instagrammed.
Speaking about the new menu, Oliver explains, “Cleaver East opened in 2013 with one of the first tasting plate menus in Ireland. It was a new and innovative concept at the time that gradually evolved. Six years later and we wanted to refresh. I believe that if a venue is not evolving ahead of trends then it will be left behind.
“The Irish food scene has changed so dramatically over the last number of years, we wanted to take steps forward in creating innovative dishes and concepts that excited both our customers and our team, like we had before.
“We wanted to shake things up a bit. After extensive research and looking to the countries to the East, we found a whole new world of amazing flavours and ingredients that work well with our predominantly Irish produce to produce some stand out dishes. Asia is a really interesting continent with incredible ingredients, and we wanted to develop new dishes and create a new concept which has revitalised the entire restaurant and the team.”
The tasting menu is €50 per person and everyone in your group has to avail of it together, but it’s well worth it for a special occasion as you get plenty of food and can try lots of different dishes.
If you're not feeling up to the challenge of five courses, fear not because you can still do plenty of mix and matching with your sides which are €4.25 each or three for €10.50, while starters cost from €8.50 and mains from €18, up to €32 if you opt for the fillet of beef.
The new evening menu is available at Cleaver East from 5.30pm to 10.30pm seven days a week and you can book here.