At the end of March I flew to Dublin to graduate and celebrated after the ceremony with my family at The Cliff Townhouse on St. Stephen’s Green. The property is described as ‘a Dublin restaurant-with-rooms’ and has a sister hotel in Waterford. Although I had dined here previously it was before I began eating meat so my visit this time was even more delicious and satisfying than the last.
We were seated on a round table by the window with views out to the park. I began by ordering a chilli and lychee Martini which went down a treat, so much so the others who had ordered Prosecco, beer and wine wanted in on the action and agreed that it was cocktail perfection. I’m not a fan of chilli but thought the combination of it with lychee sounded like a cocktail that would either be an absolute revelation or a complete disaster. Luckily it was the former and if a bottle of Riesling hadn’t arrived at the table I’d have ordered another one.
One of the simple pleasures in life is soft fresh bread with enough blocks of real butter to slather on extra generously, and at The Cliff Townhouse this is exactly what you get. As a result of my over indulgence I forwent a starter as I wouldn’t be able for a main if I had one. Rookie error on my part but I do it every time. I just love good bread.
When the starters for the others arrived I had major food envy as plates of mussels, goat’s cheese, and spiced beef all delicately and artistically presented were placed everywhere but in front of me. I tried the spiced beef and goat’s cheese which were both really fresh and light, and next time I’m in The Cliff Townhouse I’m going to order a starter as they’re too delicious to forgo. I’ve learnt from my mistake.
As a new meat eater I went in for the kill and ordered a medium cooked fillet of beef with dauphinoise potatoes and a red wine sauce. Like my cocktail everyone wanted to try some so it too made the rounds. Other members of my family ordered the stuffed fillet of pork with black pudding and cider sauce, venison with spiced red cabbage, fondant potatoes and chocolate sauce, and rib eye with chips and béarnaise sauce.
The restaurant was so busy that night we could only get a table at 5:45pm. If you’re planning on impressing a woman (or man) this is the place to go for dinner in Dublin but be sure to book in advance. The quality of food is spectacular and the service is like a well-oiled, effortless, smiling machine.
Another reason I didn’t have a starter was because I knew I really wanted a dessert and if bread was going to fill me up then a starter would have just pushed me to a place of no return. I’m sucker for anything chocolate and luckily on the menu was chocolate fondant served with mousse, sea salt, olive oil crumb, and vanilla ice cream. Words. Cannot. Describe. It was warm, it was chocolately, it was soft and creamy, the wafer was crunchy, the ice cream was cold. It was a whole load of things all on one plate which worked and complemented each other so well while keeping its form and looking great. Just like I dream about the goat’s cheese crostini at Manuka Kitchen in Fulham, I dream about this dessert.
If you want the best you have to pay for it and an evening at this place isn’t cheap. My steak alone was €36 and the Riesling was €45 a pop, and when there’s a family plus the boyfriend and grandad it all adds up.
On the upper floors of this Georgian townhouse are 9 guestrooms and if the quality of the bedrooms and the overnight stay are as high as the food it’s definitely somewhere on my list of places to stay.