I love Italian food and after
declaring Il Primo the best Italian in Dublin I set out on my mission to find somewhere better this week. My journey took me to San Lorenzo on South Great George’s Street which is a long and thin room that is beautifully designed with lots of wood on show. I love good quirky design and the jacks (toilets for any non Irish readers) where the highlight for me. As soon as you step in to them (unisex) you have a beautiful grandstand view of the kitchen. I don’t know if the photo I took does the view justice but you can literally see every inch of the kitchen. I love this because it means the chefs have to have the place spotless given that they are constantly on show from the gantry above. I’ve worked in a bunch of kitchens and they can be filthy places. They are usually well hidden away in the back of a building which means chefs get away with grubby habits but fair play to San Lorenzo for just pulling open their Kimono and leaving nothing to the imagination.
So the food was seriously good. Proper Italian fare and really well priced. The whole menu sounded delicious but I started with Confit of chicken with new potatoes, green olives and caper dressing. It was absolutely sensational. The restaurant was playing a blinder to date but then I started to fuck it all up. Being the geek that I am I was on both my iPhone and iPad working and browsing. I tipped my water over my starter, both devices and myself. No big deal as it happens all the time but i’d fucked up my own enjoyment as I started fretting over the state of my €1000 worth of precious goods. I forgot about the dining experience and starting worrying about all the people looking at me thinking I was some sort of drunk loner.
All dried off I awaited my main course with excitement. If it was anyway as good as the starter I’d be back in business. Out came my Spatchcock Poussin with roasted new potatoes, green olives and pancetta. The second the waiter set it down I realized what a complete and utter gobshite I was. I’d ordered chicken for starter and chicken for main course and to make matters worse both dishes were served with new potatoes. Now I can’t stress enough how this was in no way the fault of the restaurant or the menu itself. It was all down to me. I’d been a complete and utter asshole. Imagine starting a restaurant review blog and then ordering the same thing for starter and main. Imagine starting a restaurant blog that pontificates about doing the simple things well and then flipping the tables and ending up as the turnip yourself. Chicken followed by chicken. You literally couldn’t make that shit up. The poussin was absolutely delicious. Just as delicious as the starter but I actually resented every single mouth full because I’d eaten a smaller portion of the same thing minutes earlier. If I was looking for excuses I’d say that it was down to it being 6 on a Friday and I was absolutely wrecked after a tough week of work but the truth is that I was just a pillock. Oh how the chefs must have laughed seeing an order coming in for chicken followed by chicken. Fucking tosser they must have thought.
I finished the meal with the ultimate acid test for any Italian restaurant…3 Scoops of ice cream and a coffee. They didn’t just pass with flying colors but their cherry, chocolate and vanilla were as good as I have had in Dublin. The coffee was so strong you could stand your spoon up in it. Perfect.
So I left
San Lorenzo pretty disappointed. Nothing to do with them as the food was brilliant, the service perfect and the pricing spot on. They hadn’t put a foot wrong. It was all to do with me. Who knew that the you could fuck up a brilliant meal yourself. So I guess when they say the customer is always right they were wrong. Sometimes the customer needs a good kick up the hole and to have a straight jacket fitted and his dishes decided for him. I will be back though, the cleanest kitchen in Dublin deserves another chance.
The View From Elsewhere
I am only one person eating there on one night and plenty can go wrong so here are some views from other people who have eaten there and reviewed the place as well
The Irish Times
We love town
Any Given Food