REVIEW: One Of Dublin's Best Foodie Secrets Is Tucked Upstairs In This Crowded Cocktail Bar
You've been there dozens of times... but have you tried the gnocchi???
I’m sure the majority of people who frequent Dublin’s nightlife have heard of Peruke & Periwig.
Located on Dawson St in the heart of the city, it’s not somewhere that easily flies under the radar. Its unassuming exterior doesn’t make it as flashy or eye-catching as its many trendy neighbours, but its mystique coupled with award-winning cocktails makes it somewhere that’s surely been on many Dubliner’s lists of places to go.
From the minute you walk in it’s impossible not to marvel at the strange yet beautiful ambiance. Its magnificent classic mirrored bar and variety of 1700s style powdered wigs arranged around the room make stepping into Peruke & Periwig feel like you’ve stepped through a portal to a completely different world.
Having been here many times previously for drinks (and being absolutely floored by how delish their craft cocktails are) my only qualm about this place was that its tiny front bar was always incurably crowded. But I’m going to let you in on a little (poorly kept) secret - head to the back of the bar to the left and you’ll find the hostess who holds the keys to the top two floors of Peruke & Periwig, where the space is aplenty and their full dinner menu is served.
Walking up the staircase to my table, it hit me - the portal I felt I had stepped into upon arrival was to none other than Hogsmeade Village. For non-Harry Potter nerds, Hogsmeade is the village next to Hogwarts. The bars and restaurants located in Hogsmeade are generally described as having a cosy, magical, old-timey feel, covered with lots of paintings, dark furnishings, fireplaces and books. Let me tell you, this place fits that description to a tee.
I realise describing a place as ‘seeming like you stepped through a portal into the world of Harry Potter’ will make a lot of people think this place is kitschy, but on the contrary, it is a beautifully curated, elegant space with the perfect amount of coziness to tone down any air of pretension. Once seated, it’s easy to sink into their plush chairs and forget about the outside world as you browse their small but truly delectable menu.
For appetizers, you can pick from their ‘Starters’ menu (€8 - €15) or their ‘Snacks’ menu (€6 - €9, with smaller portions) both offering small bites to prep your palette for your main. My date and I went for the crispy pork belly skewers, which are presented exactly as you’d imagine.
We both agreed the combination was extremely creative, with the fresh apple complimenting the succulent pork belly perfectly. A surprisingly simple, light dish that is easily palettable. Not the best pork belly I’ve ever had, but delightful nonetheless and a great starter to share if you’re peckish for protein.
Before we knew it we were on to our mains. I went for the hand rolled gnocchi (€19) and my date had the pan fried cod (€23).
As a gnocchi lover in general, I have extremely high standards for my potato dumplings. Therefore I’m thrilled to report that this dish was exceptional - a meal I will come back for. Peruke & Periwig’s version is smothered in butternut squash, sage & chilli and topped with fresh spinach. Definitely untraditional, but the squash acted perfectly as a cream sauce, and an extremely flavourful one at that. This dish was innovative and warm, the definition of a cosy wholesome meal.
I have to admit, when I heard my date order the cod I was a little concerned - €23 is a steep price to pay when we can easily pop down to Leo Burdock’s and get some of the tastiest cod in Ireland for less than a tenner. However, after one bite of his dish I quickly realised how mistaken I was. This cod, for lack of a better word, is perfect. Buttery, rich, completely melt-in-your-mouth.
Perfectly proportioned so that you feel satisfied but don’t want to lay flat out on your bed like a starfish after consumption.
The complimenting potato fondant and mint offer a lovely touch, but the cod is ultimately the star of the show. If you love cod, this dish is easily worth the price!
For sides, we went for the parmesan fries with garlic & rosemary and the truffle mash. Truffle always screams my name, and chips are naturally the perfect accompaniment to cod.
The truffle mash was UN-FREAKING-REAL. My biggest foodie pet peeve is when I order truffle-infused foods and I get no taste of truffle. Needless to say, this was not an issue. The truffle flavour was prevalent, the potatoes were rustic, salty, creamy - everything I want in a good pile of mash. The fries were...well, fries. Though they were skinny & crispy (just how I like them) I was rather disappointed that the parmesan was grated stiff and not fluffy, and the garlic and rosemary flavour was minor. But, hey, if you fancy some chips, these do the job.
Overall, a truly fantastic meal and a wonderful dining experience. This is one of those places you can sit down with a friend and get lost in chat for hours without realising any time has gone by at all. If the prices don’t suit your budget, worry not, you can still book a table for drinks, light bites, or dessert - dinner isn’t required to enjoy the ambiance!
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