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Solo Goes Out

Fine dining on the Green

Feck the recession, thought Table For One this month as it headed to Richard Corrigan’s swanky Bentley’s on Stephen’s Green.

bentleys1‘Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill is one of Dublin’s most talked about and stylish restaurants, offering outstanding food served in a spectacular environment’ – so says the website in any case. And when we went to check it out on a recent Wednesday evening, we couldn’t help but mostly agree.
There were three of us (myself, my yummy mummy friend and her sister) on this occasion, and with our early-ish 6pm reservation it was pretty quiet in there except for another party of three who looked like businessmen who were in town to cut some sort of financial deal. You know the type. Even in the current climate they still exist apparently.
And speaking of the dreaded ‘R’ word, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that even though we were fecking the recession by going to a fine dining institution like Bentley’s, it is also acknowledging the belt-tightening habits of the masses these days. Yes indeed. There was an actual ‘Credit Crunch Menu’ on hand, which offered two courses for €19.95 and three courses for €25.95. Not bad for an eatery that charges €12.50 for six oysters and has no starter for less than about €9.
We decided to mix it up a bit so two of us went credit crunching while the other went all out and ordered off the regular menu. She had the stuffed baby squid with chorizo and organic feta (€11.95), which we all tested and all thought was delicious. Then she had the fish pie – fairly reasonable at €18.50, especially since it was actually full of a variety of fish. (This is not always the case with fish pie.)
The value menu was, naturally, more limited. The starters were artichoke soup or ham and blue cheese croquettes, and we went for the latter – but not without laughing at the notion of eating croquettes in such a fancy schmancy restaurant. Tasty and all as they were, the last time I ate a croquette was when I was a student. We used to buy frozen ones in Dunnes – they were so cheap! – and then fry them in the dead of night when we were pissed as farts. Of course the croquettes we had in Bentley’s were far classier but still – it’s a reminder again of how recessionary food is making a comeback.
The main courses were good – we had the hake and the pork belly, the latter which could have been a bit crunchier (particularly as it was on the ‘Credit Crunch Menu’!). But it wasn’t the end of the world and my foodie companions told me that pork belly has never been more trendy in these trying times – not only is it deemed to be something of a ‘cool’ dish, but it’s also cheap.
Meanwhile, at €28 the wine was hardly inexpensive, but hey we were splashing out. And we took our extravagance a step further by having a 75 cent chocolate each after sharing the very gooey sticky toffee pudding. We rounded our bill off to €140 and figured that if we went bankrupt in the morning at least we could tell everyone we had our last supper in Bentley’s on the Green.

Bentley’s (www.brownesdublin.com) is located at 22 St Stephens Green, Dublin 2, tel: +353 (0)1 6383939.

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