Monday, February 13, 2023

Let yourself go at Elbow Lane; you’ll be spoiled.

Let yourself go at Elbow Lane; 

you’ll be spoiled.

Apple dessert

In a restaurant, you sometimes enjoy the food (and drink), perhaps the excellent service catches the eye, or the atmosphere is buzzing, and the value for money is good. Sometimes it all comes together and that was our experience in Oliver Plunkett Street’s Elbow Lane one recent midweek evening. 

From the warm welcome to the terrific dishes (based on local produce) and beers (from their on-site micro brewery), from the friendly and enthusiastic service, from the lively early evening atmosphere, the good value and the lovely farewell, it was five stars all the way.

The Elbow Lane Brew & Smoke House, to give it the full title, is part of the Market Lane group. The “mothership” Market Lane is right next door, Goldies is across the road, Orso is around the corner in Pembroke Street while the Castle Café in Blackrock completes the line-up.

Duck starter

Elbow Lane, like all the group, support local producers and the list here includes cheese (from the Olive Stall and On the Pigs Back, both in the English Market), Salad and Veg from the Churchfield Community Gardens and the Singing Frog Garden, seafood from K. O’Connell and Rossmore Oysters, Meat from the Allshire family and Tom Durcan, Spices and seasonings from Mr Bell’s, Butter from Irish Gourmet Butter, the brewery malt comes from Minch Malt (Kildare). Their own excellent beers are on draught here and other drinks come from 9 White Deer (guest), Johnny Fall Down Cider and Pom’O both by Killahora Orchids, and Kinsale Mead Company.

And these marvellous products are enhanced by their handling and cooking here, much of it open to view as you can see the grill and its operators! A little bit of theatre in this small brightly painted room.

Ribs, with prize-winning sauce

While looking at the menu we are sipping their marvellous beers. I go for my favourite, the Angel Stout (one of the very best around), while CL enjoys the Wisdom Ale. Each of the beers is named after local lanes as are these two adjoining restaurants themselves. Elbow Lane beers are formulated specifically to work with the food in all of their five restaurants.

Beetroot Small Plate

The menus are enthusiastically explained, if you need help, and the fish of the day (mackerel) is detailed. There are Snacks (4) and Small Plates (4) to choose from. Not too easy, as each is tempting. We go for the Duck in Blankets, jerk BBQ sauce and lime crema (from the Snacks) and the Smoked Beetroot, salsa verde, pickled red onion and ancho mayo from the Small Plates. 

We are sitting at one of the high two person tables opposite the bar and grill, sitting very comfortably indeed with a view of the action at the grill. CL had the better angle and was picking up a few tips!

On then to the mains, the staff checking every now and then to see if everything was okay,  if we wanted anything extra. The wood-grilled steaks, with cascade butter, are very popular here but we went for something that bit different on this occasion.

Duck mains

The Slow-smoked baby back ribs and house sauce caught CL’s eye. And despite making a merry mess with the tasty little ribs, she was very happy with them. And that mess was easily cleaned up with hot hand towels! 

My pick was the Lavender honey smoked duck breast, salsify, swede and roasted barley sauce, a beautiful combination of perfectly cooked meat and spot-on vegetables. We shared a helping of the superb simple Elbow Chips and approached the end of the meal in great form.

And that just got better with a shared dessert, their Baked apple, grilled celeriac cake, Pom’O Sabayon, and chestnut, taken with a glass of that same Pom’O from Killahora Orchards. What a treat, on the double.

Oh my, at this point, we had a warm feeling of having been spoiled by a bunch of friendly people who made sure we were well wrapped up before we headed out into the cold night.

Elbow Lane is open Monday to Sunday from 5pm 'til late. More details here.


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