- a blog about food and value

Mermaid and Gruel restaurants close in Dublin

Two of Dublin’s most well-established restaurants closed over the Christmas periodThe Mermaid Cafe and Gruel are sister restaurants on Dame St, and according to the Irish Times, staff are still waiting to hear if they will reopen.  Gruel will be particularly missed for its excellent lunchtime ‘roast in a roll’ , cosy surroundings and well-priced evening meals.

Newstalk reported today that the chain Luigi Malone’s is also in trouble: the five outlets in Cork, Dublin and Limerick have gone into liquidation.


  1. I am gutted about Gruel. I will really miss the Tagine on their menu. I thought it was a really lovely place to go for a quick bite to eat. Not many restaurants that I know offer the tasty food at the good value that they did.

  2. I thought these were some of the busiest places in Dublin at lunch time? Is it that their rents are unsustainable? Hope they reopen, I very rarely eat out but I am sorry for the staff

  3. This is really sad about Gruel. I’ve been there for lunch every day for the past 4 months and it was always busy. The staff were great and food spot on.

    If this is because of high rents then shame on Dublin landlords!

  4. The staff of both the mermaid cafe and Gruel knew on the 23rd of december that both restaurants would not be reopening, you and the Irish Times both have it wrong

  5. There’s a follow-up piece on this in the Times today:

    It seems that high rents were the main factor. I’m inclined to agree with the restaurant manager here; this is incredibly short-sighted behaviour on the part of landlords.

  6. “The lack of visitors to Dublin in April 2010 when flights were suspended due to volcanic dust.” Its interesting that the owners business plan seemed to focus on tourists and not local, repeat customers. I went to the restaurant twice and each time paid only for the wine because the service was so bad. I also found the staff in Gruel arrogant and rude. My last vist there was in November when I walked in to buy a brownie. I was informed they were not open by a staff member shouting to me from below stairs. Charming. If rent is the problem, why not cut your losses, break the lease and move? That is exactly what my emplyers (a not for profit organisation) are doing.

    Honest to Goodness in the Georges Street arcade is a good alternative to Gruel.

  7. I agree with Claire. I’m surprised the issue of service hasn’t been raised by others. I ate in Gruel once and never went back. Perhaps I got them on a bad day but there are too many good restaurants in this city to return to a place where staff were offhand and unwelcoming.

  8. The last time I went to the Mermaid Cafe (hadn’t been for a few years and used to love the place) it was for a brunch “treat” for a special occassion. Some treat. The portions were TINY – we left hungry. The staff were obnoxious. They actually sneered at customers so I’m not one bit surprised they’re closed. Brasserie 66 just around the corner does much the same brunch menu for a lot less €€ and a lot less sneer.

  9. I’ve heard many reports of terrible service from Gruel and they’re all very convincing, but I never experienced it myself. When my little girl was a baby, I used to go there regularly as the lady that ran the place was so nice and welcoming to small babies and looked after us really well. Strange how people can have such different experiences of the same establishment…I guess it was just one of those places!

  10. I had terrible, awful, and stunningly rude service one evening in Gruel. When they added a service charge onto my bill I protested and explained why I wasn’t prepared to pay it. The cashier was visibly miffed – he practically sneered at me – and didn’t apologise or probe any further. I didn’t go back for years. Based on my own experience and what I heard, it seems the service was better at lunchtimes.