It’s rare that I’m organised enough to avail of early bird offers. Usually by the time I’ve left work and gathered my thoughts they’ve all finished. But after an exhausting week recently, I decided that I would be out of the office at six pm on Friday no matter what, and would be sitting down eating something lovely in a restaurant I’d never tried before by seven. I was aided in this by some helpful people on Twitter who recommended early bird spots, and my lovely friend Bruiser who was my dining companion.
After the standard dithering and debating, we decided to go for the €15 for two courses offer in The Larder on Dublin’s Parliament Street.
It’s a small, cosy bistro near the Dame St end of Parliament St. We both decided to go for a starter and a main, being more inclined towards the savoury than the sweet. Nothing jumped out at me from the starter menu, so I went for a smoked salmon salad simply because I had never tried one in a restaurant before. It was ok, I wasn’t crazy about the large helping of raw onions or shallots that it came with, but the salmon and dressing was nice. Bruiser’s dips, bread and olives were a bit more of a hit.
Things really picked up when it came to the main courses, however. My Pork Belly was utterly delicious, with a perfect crispy skin. I was also very happy with the creamy mash and nicely cooked, al dente vegetables. Bruiser only had good things to say about the Fish Pan Florentine, which was fish baked with cream and spinach and served with new potatoes. We had one bottle of very decent wine, the name, variety and colour of which I have completely forgotten (we followed dinner with a rake of pints). I do remember that the food, the wine and two coffees all came to just over €50, which is very good value indeed.
The service is also worth mentioning, as it was extremely friendly, warm and attentive. We were asked if everything was ok a couple of times during the meal. There was one small quibble, and I feel bad even mentioning it when everything else was so lovely – but it’s only a small thing and it might be helpful to mention it. We had to ask for water a number of times before we got it, and it might be an idea for them just to put carafes of tap water out so that people can help themselves, rather than having to ask every time they need their glass refilled. I remember from working waiting tables years back that it’s very easy to forget tap water, as you get asked for it approximately a thousand times each night. It was the only part of the service that didn’t run smoothly, and I would definitely recommend The Larder for dinner. Their full price menu is also very affordable.
Big thanks to @TheCaterers on Twitter for tipping me off to this lovely place and its early bird deal. Have you tried The Larder, and what did you think?