I had a really delicious meal here last Saturday. My friend Cat very kindly invited me to join her family for her graduation lunch – and it was incredible.
This is a top-notch deli with a beautiful, bright, airy dining space. There’s only a few tables there and when we arrived at 2.00pm, the place was buzzing: always a good sign.
I loved the sound of a cheese board for lunch – how decadent! But I ordered the Fish Pie. It was a substantial but not oversized meal, served in its own dish. I thought the thin slices of raw onion inside the pie were a really nice touch and gave this creamy dish an extra edge. Cat’s mum ordered the lasagna and it was rich and meaty, with just a hint of red wine – everything a nice lasagna should be.
Cat herself went for the Chicken Terrine. It’s a dish I normally run a mile from: weird, cold slices of reformed chicken. This was different: really light and full of delicate flavours while still maintaining its identity as chicken. It came with some really good bread, cheese, chutney and apple.
I was slightly hesitant about dessert as €5.50 seems like a lot to pay for a slice of cake. However, they were some of the best desserts I’ve ever eaten and clearly prepared with love. The Cheese Pantry’s pavlova was at least equal to my sister Barbara’s, and strangers offer her money to make one of her renowned creations. Wow. Meanwhile, a moist carrot cake with a magical coffee icing and a scrumptious chocolate cake sealed the deal. These were quite big so, depending on your appetite, you could split a dessert between two.
Service was nice and friendly. They gave Cat a complimentary Prosecco cocktail to congratulate her on her graduation. It was heavy on alcohol and, we all agreed, a really lovely touch.
Most of the lunches here are around the €10-12 mark. Dinners range from €13.95 for Rigatone with Sauteed Vegetables to €23.95 for a Chargrilled 10oz Dry-Aged Striploin Steak. It might not seem cheap but if you skip a bottle of wine you could get a starter, main and dessert for around €30-40. Or, check out the Prix-Fixe Early Bird Menu (Mon-Tues 5.30-8.00pm, Weds-Sat 5.30pm-6.45pm), where two courses cost €18.00 and three courses cost €21.00.
The worst thing about The Cheese Pantry is that it is in Drumcondra and I live in Wicklow, so it’s too far away. From now on, I’m going to skip the overpriced rubbish at the airport and pull into The Cheese Pantry for my lunch or dinner before I hop on a flight. The food here is really special, the prices are fair and reasonable, the service is good, and the decor is perfect. Highly recommended.
- The Cheese Pantry, 104 Drumcondra Road Upper, Dublin 9. Tel: 017978936