Claremont House Bed & Breakfast
Return to homepgae Area map & directions Daniel's Restaurant

Daniel's Restaurant

Daniel's Restaurant

Daniel's Restaurant

Visit the site of Daniels Restaurant

Irish Independent November 4th 2003 - Eating Out
Culinary treasure trove that’s simply satisfying

Alan Stanford reviews Daniel’s Restaurant and Wine Bar

I’ve said it before and with luck I’ll be saying it again. You can find treasure in the most unlikely places. I was meeting my eldest son Daniel – the one in the wine trade – for dinner and I had noticed a restaurant quite near his place of employ by coincidence called Daniel’s. It’s been there quite a while but never having been there and noting a recommendation from an old friend, I thought we’d give it a try.

Just reading the menu posted outside made the mouth water. It gave the immediate impression that a good cook was in the vicinity.

The restaurant is situated on an upper floor above a shop, beside where the old Forum Cinema used to be and almost opposite Mitchell’s wonderful wine shop. It was a quiet night so we were given our choice of table and we took one behind a small screen at the door. The room is not large and is remarkably simple. The tables are generous in size and are dressed with linen and glass in some style.

The host and chef is one Daniel Harkin who offers three menu types. There is an early bird offering two courses plus coffee at a reasonable €20, a table d’hote offering three different courses plus coffee at €36.50 and an a la carte menu, which was the one that focused my attention outside. This menu offers starters including Mushroom and Fresh Crab Bake, Chicken Liver and Brandy Pate, Whitebait, Chowder and on the night we were there Prawn Bisque and all at an average price of €8. Main courses are divided into fish and meat. The 10 fish options offer red snapper, three dishes of plaice, lobster when available, salmon and prawns at an average of €17.50. The meats include chicken, beef, lamb, duck and pheasant, when available, and all at an average cost of €19. Side dishes of vegetables cost a reasonable €3.

The wine list offers a very good selection of the usual suspects but at a remarkably good price. In other words, host Daniel is not doing a massive mark-up on his wines and this also applies to some of the special selection wines at the back of the list. These are wines that he has personally selected on his travels and are well worth the extra couple of euro.

As we examined the menu our host/chef called to the table to tell us the special of the evening which was Monkfish in a Dill and White Wine Sauce. He also spoke lovingly of the bisque and Chowder, one of which was nine hours in the making and the other, a whole 10.

The time had come to order, and Daniel – mine not the host – went for the Deep Fried Brie with Wild Cherry Sauce, followed by the Pan Fried Breast of Chicken on a bed of rice with Cheese, White Wine, Cream and Broccoli Sauce. I went for the 10-hour Chowder and the Monkfish special wine list we took a South African Sauvignon Blanc Lanzerac.

The first course took only the deep frying time to arrive, the chowder being 10 hours cooking already and as a fairly simple dish the brie was a joy. The batter was light and the dipping sauce divine. Daniel remarked that I should note that he was virtually licking the wild cherry dish when the brie was gone.

Chowder is often an all embracing term for any kind of rich fish soup, but if you want to know the true taste of chowder then you won’t do better than this. Replete with fish and whole mussels and a richness and taste to die for, this was a king among chowders. It is also remarkably filling and indeed cheering on a cold night.

The main dishes took a little while to arrive but were well worth the wait. Chicken is, to a large extent, chicken in this country. It’s the most mass produced thing in catering. More often than not the flavour of the bird will depend on the cooking and the accompanying sauce. This chicken was well cooked but the sauce was so rich, so full of flavour and dripping with vegetables. In a word, good old fashioned creamy rich cooking and wonderful as you could wish for, if you are not a weight watcher.

The monkfish was stunning. It’s a meaty fish with a lovely flavour when not overcooked. This was a very generous portion cooked to a turn and served in a sauce delicate in the flavour of the dill. The accompanying vegetables I ordered were equally well cooked and presented.

The wine proved to be another success with a classic nose of the Sauvignon Blanc grape, flinty and sharp with the scent of gooseberry and it had great length. And very good value indeed at only €21.

We went for the same dessert, the Brown Bread Ice Cream which was homemade and delightful, a good wind up to some good eating. It was followed by the only disappointment of the evening, the weakest coffee imaginable.

Daniels’s Restaurant and Wine Bar is a little gem. If you like cooking in the old-fashioned sense, where flavour and portion takes precedence over style and fashion, then this is the restaurant for you. Our dinner for two with deserts and wine and without service charge came to €96.00, the best value for money I’ve had in ages. Make the pilgrimage to Glasthule and see for yourself.

Daniel’s Restaurant and Wine Bar, 34A Glasthule Road, Sandycove, Co. Dublin
Telephone: 284 1027