Refined Irish Food in the Heart of Dublin
I sometimes wonder what the life of the royals is like? I mean, do they bicker like the rest of us? Does Kate actually sometimes think Will can be a bit of a d**k? Does Lizzy moan to Charles that he doesn’t keep in touch enough and should stop in more? Most importantly, do they have first meals with the parents like we do?
Well, for the second time in as many weeks, the fine recesses of Camden Street in Dublin have entertained an English guy (ok, one maybe a little more famous and regal than the other!) But, nevertheless, here I am at Delahunt for dinner a little more than a week after Meghan and Harry. Yes, first name terms.
They, of course, had the whole road blocked off. We on the other hand, sauntered past Pickle and Cassidy’s and made our way into a very Irish dining room. Old, dark wood bar still intact. Apothecary style drawers that you suspect just house whiskey and stout, rather than anything more (or less?) medicinal.
The train of regal thought is only furthered by the menu. With only three choices per course, I can’t help but think whether Meghan had to think long and hard about the salmon or the burrata? Maybe she negotiated with Harry to give her a few forkfuls. Possibly threatened that if he didn’t, did he really love her?
I hope she did twist his arm too, because they’re both equally worthy of a knighthood, or at least a MBE. The burrata and heirloom tomatoes comes like a summer lawn befitting of a palace. Buttery, silky mounds of cheese nuzzling up to sweet tomatoes that remind you just why it really is a fruit. It’s delicate and refreshing, a nice contrast to the orbs of whole burrata london has been inundated with (not complaining). I suspect it won’t be Meghan’s only heirloom.
It’s difficult not to steal over and fork a few mouthfuls of the salmon. Not just because of the thick slabs of dense fish the colour of Trump’s face, but also because of the rich, malty Guinness bread. Delahunt are obviously as proud of it as I am happy to eat it, it’s in the bread basket as well.
Starters to one side, we brace ourselves for the promise of a main befitting a royal banquet. The description alone forces you to brace yourself. [Ready? Deep breath…]. Salt-aged sirloin of Irish Lamb, pressed potato and Connemara air-dried lamb, crispy lamb shoulder, monks beard, salsa verde, Knockalara sheep’s cheese and braised onion. Whew! We got there.
I feel like a king and Delahunt want to showcase the best that Ireland has to offer. A ceremony to lamb. The description is bursting at the seams. So often this ends in confused mess. It’s like a drunk Irish poet’s sonnet to lamb. The blushing pink sirloin with a strip of buttery fat. A fat finger of potato that hides those chewy shards of lamb, like a very Irish pata negra. It’s part meat feast and part the most dainty plate you’ve seen in a while. The mass appeal and refinement of Meghan indeed. The proud plate of hake is simpler, but no less dignified. Salty brown shrimp riding the back of a crown of golden crust.
I suspect the royals picked at their generous portions. Maybe even left a few mouthfuls to endure the paparazzi shots. Well, no one is photoing me and I’m in a loose shirt. Despite no one fancying the dessert options, lemon posset is my one English nod that I might be welcome back. Besides, I gobbled down a perfectly reasonable selection of Irish cheese. The posset is the right balance of sweet with a sharp note, much like my school life. It’s good if not that memorable compared to everything before.
I didn’t pay. Sue me. When someone is kind enough to treat me, who am I to argue. I imagine Harry and Meghan didn’t pay either, so I’m in rare company. Two courses is 38 Euro though and there’s even a weekday supplement to save a little off. With this level of cooking, 3 courses for 44 Euro in-spite of the wine bill is a pretty good deal.
I wonder if Harry had one more bottle of that wine as a game of one-up-manship. No, that’s not true. The wine has left me long past conscious thought and more into a slightly hazy grin. If this is what it’s like to be a royal, maybe I could deal with being King for the day.
Royal spoils paying homage to the local produce
I’m pretty confident that I’m never going to marry a royal – and I’m kinda fine with that – but if they dinner like this, I may start fluttering some eyelashes. A tight, well though through menu that’s a complete people pleaser. Between Delahunt and Pickle, Camden Street is becoming a murder’s row of great food and good times.