Chef Ben Dineen brings his unique flair to Italian cuisine at Luna.
What a way to spend a Wednesday evening. I was delighted to try the tasting menu at Luna this week, having heard such wonderful things about them. The Italian restaurant reopened in May after a few difficult months due to coronavirus regulations, but have been super busy ever since. After months of hype, I finally got to try it for myself; here were my thoughts on the experience.
Why you should go?
If you're someone who loves to try creative food combinations, and get a feel for a whole menu, then Luna is a wonderful spot. The tasting menu had nearly one of everything, perfect for those of us that can never choose what exactly they want to eat. I'd personally suggest Luna if you're looking to celebrate a special occasion, or treat a major foodie in your life.
Who to book with?
Book with people who are similarly open minded when it comes to food. This is not a spot for super picky eaters, although Luna was incredibly accommodating of our dietary requirements (dairy free and pork free), in a way that's almost unmatched in other Dublin restaurants. In my opinion, a tasting menu best suits people who love to try new flavours, and so I recommend you go to Luna with some of the foodies in your life.
Set the scene
Luna is hard to miss from the outside, with a neon red sign and huge wooden doors. From there you go down some steps, where you then wait to be seated. Then we were taken through a curtain and into the main dining area, which was cosy and warm, with leather seats, and a view of the kitchen. The music playing wasn't too loud but it added to the atmosphere. Each table had an old school almost library style lamp, which gave off a warm glow, again adding to the ambience perfectly.
Also, on an extremely random note, we realised that the carpet in Luna is the exact same as that of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. If there's any relevance to that I don't know, but we gleefully discussed it over our meal (and had a much better time at Luna than anyone did at The Overlook).
Luna originally opened in 2015 but abruptly closed after four years in May 2019. Then towards the end of 2021, Luna announced it was opening again, under new ownership. The owner of l'Gueuleton and Hogan's acquired the property, with chef Ben Dineen stepping in to make Luna his own. We had the pleasure of chatting to Ben about his experience at Luna, and he told us how he loves how creative he can be in this space. He also told us that of their 14 staff members, there's nine different nationalities working at Luna, which was a point of pride for him.
We went for the tasting menu, which consisted of 11 dishes in total, including some focaccia to start and a course of petit fours and tea. We had one of nearly everything on the menu, from Guinea fowl to lobster ravioli, smoked mackerel to beef tartare cannoli. The fish courses in particular were delicious, flavoursome as well as filling.
Often with tasting menus, while it's amazing to try a variety of dishes, you can leave still feeling hungry. I can honestly say that was not the case with the Luna tasting menu; I left satiated and satisfied.
Upon arrival we got glasses of prosecco, which is enough to make anyone feel special. Afterwards I moved onto their Pinot Grigio, which was genuinely one of the best Pinot Grigios I've ever had.
It's very hard to choose a favourite dish; as I said earlier all the fish courses were delicious. I think the one that stands out the most however was the pan fried John Dory; it was salty and crispy, and the sauce it was done in was to die for. The lasagna comes in a close second; the beef was extremely tender and juicy and despite the fact mine had to be without the crispy pork belly (which I could appreciate on my partner's plate), it was still incredible.
The service in Luna could not have been any better. They were knowledgable about each dish, as well as the wine, and we were suitably catered for throughout the whole evening.
Each course had ample time to be enjoyed and digested before the next came out; another negative of some tasting menu spots is meals coming out either too fast or too slow. Luna got this tempo just right.
As I mentioned earlier, my partner and I both had dietary requirements. I no longer eat pork, and my partner is dairy free, both of which can be challenging, particularly in an Italian restaurant. Chef Ben Dineen came and spoke with us to double check our dietary requirements, and created dishes that were just as flavoursome as the originals in places where adjustments needed to be made to accommodate us. At no point were we made to feel like an inconvenience, which is again something we've both experienced at Dublin restaurants before. Ben seemed to relish the challenge, and we absolutely reaped the rewards of his efforts.
Truly the service and attention to detail made this a memorable experience.
Luna is down a flight of stairs and it was unclear whether there was a lift down to the dining room. The bathrooms did have a disabled bathroom for those who would need it however.
Where is it again?
Luna is based on Drury Street, just across the road from The Hairy Lemon.
How to keep up with them?
You can keep up with Luna on Instagram HERE.
The set menu costs €69pp and the tasting menu costs €99pp. You can also order dishes individually.
Luna opens Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm to 10pm. You can book a table HERE.
Would you go again?
Absolutely. Truly I cannot think of a more special meal that I've had in recent times. The attention to detail, the array of flavours, the friendly and accommodating service; it was an evening that I won't soon forget. While €99pp for the tasting menu may sound steep, you get such carefully curated dishes and you get to experience the very best that Luna has to offer. If you had a special occasion, or wanted to enjoy some unique Italian cuisine, then you can't go wrong with a trip to Luna. Even if you don't want to do the tasting menu, I highly recommend going and trying out whatever sounds like a bit of you from this review.