I tried out Tante Zoe’s “Credit Crunch Lunch“on Saturday with a friend. The Cajun/Creole restaurant is located on Crow St in Temple Bar, and they’re offering a selection of main courses for €8.50. We had both heard good things from other people, though I’ve also read a few fairly ambivalent reviews, so it was with fairly high albeit relaxed expectations that we walked through the door.
Inside, it’s a bit posher than I would have thought, all tasteful and muted. It was very quiet when we arrived, with only one other table filled, which worried me a little, but by the time we left it was nice and busy and I can now easily see why because we had a really lovely lunch. For starters, the service was perfect, managing to be both laid-back and efficient. More importantly, the food was really nice. I had the Tante Zoe’s Jambalaya, which was lovely and fishy, even though I would have liked a bit more ooomph in the flavour department (to be fair, I’m addicted to saucy sauces so feel free to take that minus several grains of salt). My friend got what she described as the nicest burger she’d had in a long time and – I couldn’t wait to tell Jean this! – it came with chips included, woo hoo! Best of all, the portions were generous, to the extent that we did not clear our plates.
Overall, everything filled us with the joys of the spring and both of us said we will definitely go again and bring more friends. Twenty quid each for getting tastily fed for the day and lolling in a restaurant for a couple of hours over a really lovely bottle of Chilean red wine felt like a really good deal.
One issue does arise though: The wine itself cost about €22, which is where their wine prices start. Given just how nice it was, this seemed like a reasonable price but I have found out since that Paulio Tullio recently criticised this restaurant for their wine mark-ups. Unfortunately, I just can’t comment on this criticism, not knowing enough on the subject. However, it’s something I think I’m going to have to start getting to know. For all that restaurants are getting hip to the need for budget menu deals, it will be interesting to see whether they go the same way with their drinks. I don’t in any way mean to single out Tante Zoe’s – maybe ours wasn’t a massively marked-up bottle anyway and my understanding is that many restaurants in Ireland have outrageous mark-us on their wines; Shebeen Chic, for example, charge €22 for their cheapest house wine. It is definitely something to think about.