Parliament Street is full of great restaurants. There is, of course, Zaytoon, the only place you’d consider eating a kebab while sober. Then there’s Corfu: let’s call this one a work in progress. Cafe Topolis is a lovely Italian restaurant, while Salamanca does a few fairly decent deals including six tapas with bread or salad for €17. Ciao Bella Roma’s lunch menu – two courses for €8.95 plus a glass of house wine – is one of the best lunch deals you’ll find in Dublin. There’s also a new Brazilian restaurant which I’ve yet to try.
But The Larder is top of the Parliamentary pile. The set menu runs seven days a week and offers consistent value: €16 will bring you two courses, but for additional supplements, ranging from €2 for the penne pasta, pork belly, and chicken breast to €4 for the pan-fried duck breast and lamb shank or €11 for the fillet of beef. Essentially, the fillet of beef isn’t on the set menu at all, but I didn’t feel deceived: this is more of a quirk with how The Larder lays out their menu.
I utterly ignored the whole lot of it and ordered what I came for: a six ounce rib-eye steak with chips and salad for €10. The offer runs from Sunday to Thursday. It seemed too good to be true.
To avail of this deal, you have to order something else off the menu: that can be a starter, a side dish, a soft drink, glass of wine, or dessert. This condition was instituted to stop people coming in and ordering steak dinners with a glass of tap water; it seems fair enough. And anyway, what on earth are you doing ordering steak in a restaurant without having a glass of red wine? How dare you? FOR SHAME.
The rib-eye: quite nice. Not the most jaw dropping steak you’ll ever have – Le Bon Crubeen’s steak is worth the extra €3.50, and Aldi’s simple supermarket rib-eye sneers at both – but still tasty, tender, and lean. It’s good value for €10.
I do have one quibble though: good steak is crying out for a good sauce, and The Larder’s red wine jus (€2) is bland, forgettable, pointless, and not worthy of this restaurant. It needs a bearnaise, pepper, horseradish, or hell, even a blue cheese sauce.
The lovely waitress very skilfully upsold two desserts for us to take away, including a delicious raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake which I ate with my Geordie friend the next day.