Another Cracking New Dublin Restaurant Has Just Opened – Bastible
Yet another stunning addition to the Dublin restaurant scene
At the crossroads of South Circular Road and Clambrassil Street is a spot called Leonard's Corner.
Those three names conjure up memories of an older, and very different, Dublin but this corner of D8 happens to be one of the most diverse and exciting new parts of the city.
I'd call it the mini Middle East. You have halal shops, superb kebabs, great Indians, and all sorts of ethnic supermarkets and restaurants.
The Muslim community in particular seem to have gravitated towards this area and the food influences they've brought with them will surely help shape our culinary trends into the future.
Into this melting pot of cultures slots a new restaurant: Bastible. Unlike their neighbours, the menu, staff and decor are as Irish as it gets. The room a brilliant deep green, the wood wonderfully varnished and the menu packed full of quality ingredients.
The staff is tiny with just three starters and three mains, but that's something I love when the choices are delectable (which they were). A daily special gives another option for the picky eaters. Offering this little choice shows confidence from the chefs and makes my decision time short rather, than getting lost in a giant menu with hundreds of choices.
The sourdough bread I received was made with a '20 year starter', meaning it containing a special living yeast, which is often passed down through generations.
Along with a quality high end butter, I could've been served an eight course tasting menu of bread alone and I would've left happy. Outstanding, and as I always think to myself, "you can stick your gluten-free diet up your arse".
A little appetiser served to all tables was a deep-fried chicken skin zinger, which was superb. I'm sure it shaved a good four years off my life expectancy, given the oozing fatty taste, but it warmed the heart figuratively at least.
As I waited for my starter, I listened in on a few conversations around me. Parking was an issue for everybody in the restaurant. Because it's on a very busy junction, you've to park a good 200 yards away in various residential areas.
Arguments broke out between husbands and wives about the need to pay and not get clamped, with one man getting dispatched back with coins just as he'd settled down for his first sip of wine.
My starter was outstandingly good. One of the most unloved fish in Ireland, the mackerel, was perfectly cooked but it was the Jerusalem artichoke and puree that stole the show. It had a velvety and a rich nutty taste that blew my mind. A perfect starter and wonderful Irish cooking.
The kitchen is open and you can watch the three chefs working their magic. The room was too quiet at the start of the evening, but as it filled up with chatter, in the way a good neighbourhood restaurant should, the buzz started to come alive. The chefs kicking into the gear of service and sizzles, pans clanging and anticipation all mixing into the air.
My black sole (second only to the mighty turbot in my fish rankings) was plump, chunky and brilliantly white. The fact that it was cooked with precision made it a great eat.
I was glad I'd ordered the truffled potatoes as a side, because the dish just lacked a little something. Maybe it was just my mind being programmed into needing chips with fish, but I was over the moon with it all.
I finished with a honey tart. Something I'd never had before, served with a light, tangy apple sorbet. This was easily one of the best desserts I've ever had in Dublin. Like a creme brulee on a wonderful crumbly biscuity base. It wobbled on the spoon cooked to perfection and slipped down the throat like a dream.
When the bill arrived showing €34, I went to give it back to the server explaining it was a mistake. It had to have belonged to someone else. Food like this couldn't have been that cheap. I'd have paid €34 in some places for the black sole alone.
It turned out I was on the early bird menu and I felt like I'd robbed the place blind. There was no way they'd made any money on that meal and I pray they raise the prices over time.
Because of crazy city centre rents, these deadly little restaurants are popping up around the outskirts of the city. Think Forrest Avenue, Lock's, Sister Sadie and The Fumbally all within a stone's throw. Wonderfully talented chefs and front of house staff are finding old cheaper spaces and putting their own stamp on them.
It makes for an incredible new Irish foodie scene and Bastible slots right in near the top of the list. Simply Superb.