Casual Atmosphere and Incredible Food - Meeting House Dublin, We'll Keep You
The Meeting House popped up in the place of Eden last December, and it's been steadily building a great following since. Unfortunately, it wasn't until last night that I got the chance to check it out, having heard great things for the past while.
With a banging hangover from extended St. Patrick's Day celebrations over the weekend, the last thing I wanted to do was touch alcohol but I was more than ready for lots of food. Upon arrival, we were seated in the gorgeously toasty terrace, and after one glance at the cocktail menu I realised I definitely needed a drink. We ordered two Porn Star Martinis while we took a gander at the menu and they arrived almost immediately with gorgeous presentation, and an even nicer flavour combination of passion fruit puree, vanilla vodka and prosecco.
Myself and the friend I was meeting for dinner are a bit awkward when it comes to dietary requirements - I'm a coeliac, and she's a vegetarian. Generally when I ask what dishes are gluten free on a menu, I'm greeted with some confused glares, a grunt or two and noncommittally vague gestures towards the menu. Here when I asked our server if he could point out the gluten free dishes on the menu, he disappeared for a second and returned with an entirely gluten free menu. My eyes lit up - I was allowed eat the mini asian burgers, and the mussel soup, and the prawn curry? I literally couldn't believe it. The food on the menu is probably best described as Asian fusion, and there's a lot of Burmese influences, but flour is usually the number one element in Asian cooking as a thickener so imagine my surprise when I discovered I could actually eat the majority of the dishes on the menu, with just a few minor tweaks.
While we were technically two of the most annoying types of diners, our server was super helpful and had loads of info about the menu. We surmised that we were a great combination, as we covered all bases on the menu with our different diets. We were starving, and hungover so when ordering our eyes were definitely bigger than our stomachs. All main dishes are €9.99, and our waiter suggested getting two to three per person. Well obviously we had to listen to him - he was the expert after all, so we ordered three each - sashimi tacos, coconut prawn curry, ribs, mussel soup, vegetable tempura, asian sliders, and a portion of jasmine rice to accompany the curry.
Within less than 15 minutes there were multiple turquoise rectangular plates in front of us, piled hugh with piping hot food. We looked at each other in disbelief, realising that we had ordered far too much food but fully ready to give it a solid effort. I tucked into the mini burgers first, which even had tiny gluten free coconut buns with them - they were really meaty morsels of tender beef and the wasabi aoili really made it stand out from your average burger doused in mayo or ketchup. My friend made a beeline straight for the sashimi tacos, and she could not believe how fresh the tuna was - I had some (without the tacos!) and it was incredible, with really nice citrus tones throughout.
The smell wafting from the mussel soup meant that I simply had to get involved, and I was not disappointed. It was a gorgeously creamy yellow soup with a mound of mussels in the middle, and shallots, garlic, coriander, coconut, ginger and chilli combining for a burst of flavours in each spoonful. I found myself pausing to consider if it was actually gluten free, because it just tasted so good.
My friend's vegetable tempura got an amazing response, with beetroot, brococoli, asparagus and courgette coated in an insanely light batter accompanied by a Ponza dipping sauce. It was so tasty in fact that all the beetroot was the first to go, and our attentive waiter noticed this was the case and brought over more of the beetroot tempura - talk about top quality service!
The prawn curry was a huge portion, and we definitely didn't need the rice we'd ordered with it. It was a creamy curry, with coconut, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and coriander in the sauce. Sometimes prawns can be done so badly, ending up like a tasteless rubbery mess - but this was not the case. Not only was there a generous serving of prawns in the curry, but they were also huge and really succulent having absorbed the decadent sauce.
At this point both of us were feeling pretty stuffed, but I had to give the ribs a try. I love the idea of ribs, but I hate when you get a lengthy rack of them and you have to tear them apart to get at the meat, ending up with sauce from ear to ear. These ribs arrived, beautifully presented in a little stack of eight in total, on top of each other in a square. They were perfectly sized, and smothered in a rich glaze which was so delicious it had me forgetting my manners and licking every last bit off my hands.
The atmosphere is perfect in The Meeting House, it's the kind of place that I'd gladly go to for dinner after work on a Friday for a bite to eat, but inadvertently end up spending the whole night there having to be peeled from the dancefloor at closing time. It's extremely chilled with amazing music, and just an easy-going outlook on socialising. All mains are under a tenner (€9.99 to be exact), and on Sundays they flip the menu on its head and everything becomes €6.66. It's easy on the pocket and the portions are massive so you don't leave feeling shafted. We need more of these kinda places across the city, less stuffy fine dining, more informal settings but with top class food. There's also plans underway to expand into the adjoining building which has already been acquired, so watch this space! The Meeting House, I think we're gonna get on just fine...