“ 23 Christchurch Pl / Tel: +35 (3) 454 24. „
Whilst working in Dublin this weekend our staff group were taken out for dinner to the Lord Edward Seafood Restaurant.
It is the oldest seafood restaurant in Dublin and is directly opposite the beautiful Christchurch cathedral. It is about ten minutes walk from O'Connell Street.
The restaurant is set at the top of an old building. You have to climb a few flights of stairs to get to it! The lower floors are taken up by a busy pub and bar. As we climbed the stairs I thought that the noise from the bar might impinge upon the restaurant but it was quite peaceful up there.
I liked the sign on the way in asking patrons to turn their mobile phones off. Quite right too!
The restaurant is a traditional one, no fancy fittings or furniture, just good solid tables and chairs and seating for around forty. (at a guesstimate) We were greeted and seated immediately and courteously. The waiter was attentive and witty without being obtrusive. The linen was spotless and the cutlery attractive.
Our table was not cramped but I found myself sitting up against (literally) a chap on a nearby banquette seat. I didn't mind too much but he seemed to wriggle a lot! Fortunately he and his party left soon after we arrived so it wasn't a big problem.
We were given a menu quite quickly and our drinks were brought speedily. The glasses were clean and sparkling and the lager refreshing.
The Lord Edward boasts nine different ways of cooking sole. Now I quite like sole but having nine varieties of it on one menu seemed a bit excessive to me. The rest of the menu was obviously mostly fish and shellfish, but there were some meat dishes and the traditional Irish stew on offer too.
My colleagues ordered crab toes (claws) and scallops for starters, I ordered my favourite starter of mussels. The crab toes looked lovely and were nicely set out. The good thing about them was that they were deshelled and so very easy to eat. I tried one and it was very good. The scallops were good too but I only know that from what I was told. They only got three each so weren't offering them round! My mussels arrived, a nice big bowlfull. The sauce they were in was delicious. Unfortunately they had been kept under a hot lamp or something similar, because the mussels that weren't submerged in sauce were shrivelled to pea size and instead of being large, tender and sumptuous were small, leathery and inedible!
I complained and the offending mussels were removed and I was offered a replacement. The annoying thing for me about it was that if the waiter had actually looked at the dish he would have seen that they were in no fit state to be served up. I also wondered to myself about the health hazards of keeping shellfish warm.
The main course arrived and all was well, nothing to really shout about but okay. I tried some of the goujons of sole in batter, now call me old fashioned if you want, but does cutting sole into strips, battering it, deep frying it and giving it the fancy name of 'goujons', justify charging over twenty euro for it? I think not! What is a 'goujon' anyway? Every time I hear the word I think of 'goolies' which is not an auspicious start to dining is it?
So the fried sole 'goolies' were okay.
One of my colleagues had sole in a lemon sauce and said it was lovely, so that was good. It smelled very nice too. I had pork cutlets which were served with mash and vegetables. The veg was lovely and fresh and the gravy or sauce on the pork was very tasty. The pork was slightly overcooked but I wasn't going to complain again!
The dessert menu arrived and I only fancied the cheesecake. (After two courses it usually has to be something spectacular to tempt me to eat a pudding. I am usually too full.) I asked if it was real cheesecake, ie made with cream cheese. (In Ireland it often isn't for some reason!) I was assured it was. It wasn't! It was a fluffy sweet confection which looked very pretty but had no substance and none of the tangy bite that I associate with really good cheesecake. One other person had dessert and they were not too impressed although the portion size was large.
Two of us had coffee and we called for the bill. We had each had a drink and one of us had half a bottle of wine which she said was excellent. The waiter told us immediately that the cost of my starter and dessert had been deducted from the bill. There was no quibbling about that which I was glad of.
The bill came to over 180 euros. I think this was a huge amount for a largely indifferent and sometimes inedible meal for four. It may be the oldest seafood restaurant in Dublin but I think it was resting on it's reputation and the prices were unjustifiable for a mediocre dining experience.
~~~A few extra comments~~~
It's a nice enough restaurant, the staff are pleasant and attentive.
The decor is a bit tired looking.
There is not an enormous amount of choice unless you are in love with sole.
Access is difficult and impossible for wheelchairs.
The toilets were locked and you had to ask for a key. I find it a bit hard to imagine that a non customer would wander up all those stairs in search of a toilet but I might be wrong. They were clean and spacious when you finally got into them.
The view from the windows was good.
It's a long way to go down for a smoke but fortunately I found that the fire escape door was ajar so I was able to enjoy a rooftop view of Dublin whilst I had a fag.
Sadly this restaurant doesn't deliver the quality of food for the prices it charges.