Images by Lovin Dublin
This swanky new spot on Coppinger Row is a lot more than its extensive wine list.
If you spent your early to mid twenties in Dublin, you're probably well familiar with this part of town due to the unrivalled allure of Pygmalion's 2-for-1 pygtails, twinkling alongside their trademark purple fairy lights.
However, if your tastes have changed over the years and you now yearn for biodynamic wines and the comforting crackle of a vinyl record, we recommend a jaunt over the road to the newly opened Row Wines.
Launched by Dublin-based brothers Marc and Conor Bereen, Row Wines is a natural wine bar, small plates and vinyl listening experience in one of the most vibe-y parts of town.
The brothers were inspired by Tokyo's Japanese style listening bars and the natural wine movement, which advocates sustainable, organic farming and the use of grapes native to each area. The wine list is populated with offerings that are either organic, natural, biodynamic, or sustainably made, and the bar also offers low ABV cocktails and Irish craft beers on tap. In short, this spot is made for a date with that hipster lad you matched with on Hinge or your pals when you've been tasked with choosing the location for drinks and want to impress.
But this new opener is a lot more than a wine bar - the small plates are among some of the best we've had in Dublin in recent memory.
The menu uses small dishes to showcase the best of local ingredients, from Kerry lamb to creamy coolea cheese – we might have had to give some of the dishes a cheeky google (we’re looking at you, pork polpettes) but once you get past that you’ll find the food is unpretentious and tasty in equal measures. Irish classics like crab and lamb are given a modern, small plate-esque upgrade with results everyone from your mam to your mate who’s been working a high-flying job beyond in Tokyo for the last three years will be into.
The Row Wines kitchen is headed up by talented young chef Paddy Maher with Dan Hannigan (also of Orwell Road) at the helm as executive chef. At just 23 years old, Paddy guides us through the menu expertly and with just the right amount of enthusiasm, as I reflected on what I was up to at 23 (plonked outside Pyg across the road, elbows deep into my fourth round of pygtails with no jacket, no way of getting home and no self awareness). He advises that the crab rostis (€18), the coolea and wild garlic flatbread (€9.50) and the crispy lamb belly (€14) are among the most popular dishes, so we order one of each.
We started off with the flatbread - they weren't joking when they said wild garlic. The light, airy loaf which is fermented over five days was topped with wild garlic stems, delicate garlic flowers and a generous grating of coolea cheese, with a healthy serving of coolea mousse on the side for dipping. This is cheese dip like you've never had it before, and a triangle of the flatbread is the perfect vessel to scoop it up with.
Image by Lovin Dublin
The rostis will awaken all your favourite memories of crab sambos and creamy pints by the sea - but the delicately sliced spuds which form the rosti beneath take it to a whole new level. Across all the dishes, you really notice the texture and it makes for such an enjoyable dining experience.
The lamb belly is lamb like you've never had it - tender, dissolve-in-your-mouth with a crispy exterior and shawarma-style spices, and the contrasting tang of the accompanying salad ties everything together to create a bite you won't forget in a hurry.
Prices for the snacks and small plates at Row Wines range from €4 for smoked nuts or Bread 41 sourdough up to €18 for the aforementioned crab rosti. There's no minimum spend and it's the perfect spot to sit back with a wine (biodynamic, of course) and watch the world go by.