Dublin is overflowing with foodie-ness but sometimes it can be hard to find the perfect fit.
Yesterday my friend and I arranged to meet for a drink and nibble. Of course, like every other friend of mine, she left it to me to choose the venue - working in Lovin Dublin it's a pretty fair deal, I like to think I know what's good and what's not. I wanted to pick somewhere that was close to both of us, stress-free and easy to get to - no bus, Luas, Dart required.
My friend works on South William Street, a street you'd think would have dinner options a-plenty. Thing is, it's actually fairly limited in terms of high-quality stuff for a fair price point. It's one extreme to the other; I wasn't feeling a luxurious lobster from SOLE nor was I feeling a quick crepe from Lemon.
Luckily, I had spotted a new place the week before that I knew would be a winner for us both - chilled out, delish options and somewhere where we could actually sit down and catch up properly without a waiter rushing us out before the next booking.
(This has started to happen too often in Dublin restaurants as of late!)
Bart's is a contemporary bar that's situated where Eden Bar & Grill once was.
I went to Eden Bar & Grill once and I found it quite OTT and a little pricey so I hoped this revamp wouldn't be just a name change. I headed over to shoot it for "Early Doors", our brand new video series that takes a first look at Dublin venues.
At first glance, the venue is huge. There's a cosy bar area at the front that's intimate, dark and somewhere I can imagine will be a hotspot for first dates. Following on, the room opens out into a big bright spacious seating area with another bar at the back; this is where the big groups of galpals will gather for a bop on a Saturday night.
The decor is aged and Asian-inspired, think ripped red lanterns hanging from the ceilings, quirky art, large plants hanging from a stained glass roof and mismatched furniture. It's almost like walking into your aunt's house, one who's travelled a lot and gathered crazy bits and bobs along the way.
What I really like about Bart's is the menu. It's pretty different from anything else I've seen on the Dublin food scene as of late. It's kind of like a gourmet tapas menu but with a very fair price point.
Dishes are small, unusual and full of flavour. I literally had a plate of carrots and I was swooning over them tbh.
Snacks include oyster crisps, arancini, sourdoughs and croquettes. The real treat, however, is the main dishes on offer. These come in small portion sizes, ideal for one or if you and your mate want to get a load of stuff and try a bit of everything - but be warned, it will be a bite or two at most.
Mains offer sirloin steak with hazelnut salt and black pepper creme brulee, lamb shank, deep-fried turbot, duck bikini and my personal fave, lobster fries. Seriously, these lobster fries deserve their own article, and they'll probably get one if they taste as good the second time around.
It's exactly what I look for when going for food, something that I won't feel completely shite after.
The portions sizes were perfect for me, with two main dishes and a dessert I was nicely full and seriously satisfied.
The dessert options are intriguing, chocolate candy sourdough, smoked "old fashioned" cheesecake, cherry smores and pannacotta. Out of everything I tried I think the pannacotta was the weakest link, it wasn't as flavoursome as I had hoped.
As well as a knockout menu, Bart's is a SHPOT for an inner-city drink. They have all the usual favourites as well as some cocktails.
I sampled a cocktail made with Guinness and stout, not my favourite but I know my boyfriend would hop off it so I'll have to bring him in. It's nice to taste a cocktail that's not riddled in sugar.
I think Bart's is going to be a new go-to spot of mine when I'm stuck for a dining idea. It's easy to get to, it's stress-free, the venue has a deadly atmosphere and the food is divine.
I can't wait to head down next week!
Excited to indulge in seven plates of lobster fries.