Every Wednesday evening, I drag myself up from hibernation in Wicklow to attend a class near Camden St. This is a pretty cool street, with its own style and personality, one-off shops, and good bargains. It’s also probably Dublin’s best drinking spot.
However, it’s always been somewhat of a culinary wasteland, with its eateries mostly consisting of Eddie Rockets, pub food in Solas, and a few burger/ takeaway joints.
Until now. Recently, I’ve discovered a few wonderful places around this neck of the woods. Green Nineteen beside Anseo pub on Camden St. has been open for a few months, and it seems have tapped into the current zeitgeist. It has a simple, great value menu consisting of old favourites, and all mains cost €10. I’ve eaten there twice now and it’s very good value – for a tenner.
I’ve sampled the Corned Beef with Cabbage and Mash, which was deliciously tender and salted to perfection. The mash was creamy without that awful stodgy milkiness you often get, and the cabbage had just the right amount of bite. I thought that the Fish and Chips were a wee bit disappointing, with way too much batter and very little fish. But that’s the problem with a restaurant like this: what do you expect for €10?
My friend Roisin had the Braised Lamb Chump with Winter Root Veg and praised the rich and vibrant flavours, as well as the quality of the meat.
On another occasion, Cat – who will soon be posting about cheap eats in Cork – had the Pot Roast Chicken with Seasonal Vegetables and Potatoes. She enjoyed the meal, but pointed out that it lacked a decent amount of gravy.
Normally she’d ask for more but, this time, was reluctant this time because it was so cheap. At this low price, are you entitled to ask for more? We Irish are just not used to this level of price and quality, so we’re all a bit unsure of what to do.
Service was really friendly but the place seemed to be understaffed. Then again, if you’re only paying €10 for a good main course, are you even entitled to service? I just don’t know the etiquette, it unsettles me.
I particularly like how their menu encourages patrons to steer clear of bottled water by pointing out that tap water is free – good riddance to the days when you were made feel guilty for asking for this. More restaurants should follow suit. And I adore their Mojito ice-cream, even though it easily outshines the reasonably nice Apple Crumble and miserably dry Chocolate Brownie desserts that are completely unsuitable accompaniments.
On a visit just before Christmas, Roisin and I spent a good four hours there, drinking a bottle of red Temperanillo Rioja wine (€18)and two cocktails (€9 each). We left with a bill of €71 before tip, which we were both very happy with. Then again, we were hammered.
Green Nineteen also do a good value brunch: I haven’t had it myself but I hear it’s great. Roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings for €10, Bacon or Sausage Sandwich for €4, Organic Muesli with Fruit for €4. You know, how much things should cost.
Green Nineteen is getting better each time I go. It’s about time Ireland had a place like this. In its first few months of existence, it has really laid down the gauntlet to other Irish restaurants to justify their often offensive prices.
If Green Nineteen can manage to thrive, there’s no more excuse for other places overcharging. I bet there’s a lot of overpriced, over-rated restaurants hoping its doors close permanently.
But don’t just take my word for it. Our lovely reader Ellen Ward told us:
I have been back a few times and tried the Portobello Mushrooms (€5 and very tasty), the Corned Beef and Mash (perfect winter food) and the Fish and Chips (surprisingly easy to screw up, but they did it proud). The menu is mercifully short, they make cocktails, and serve food late – I think we walked in at 10.30 and got freshly cooked meals. Mains cost €10 with sandwiches and starters around €5-€8 and everything I saw coming out of the kitchen looked very good.
Since opening the staff have remained very friendly, and while the portions may have shrunk slightly the quality is still good. After many less enjoyable Dublin restaurant experiences, this place restored a little of my faith in eating out.