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Hugo's Restaurant, Merrion Row, Dublin 2

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Merrion Row, Dublin 2

+353-1-676 5955

Price: € 60-120 (for two with wine)

Hours: Lunch and Dinner seven days


Down from the Shelbourne, and facing Bang and The Unicorn, this newcomer couldn't be better situated. Paolo recently went along for dinner with Gerard Carthy, and daughter Abigail. Good service and pleasing surroundings made it an enjoyable evening. Read on....

We were shown to our table at the back of the room, and that bit of it has a Victorian feel to it. A chandelier mid ceiling and some downlighters, gave a soft light and I began to notice some familiar faces at the other table. Seems it hadn't taken long for the usual suspects to find Hugo's.

The menu is a mix of the dishes you will find in any Dublin restaurant - things like confit duck, smaoked salmon, grilled goats cheese and a terrine, and some more unusual dishes like sardines and frogs legs. The starters renage in price from under €10 to €11.50 for the frogs legs.

Main courses followed a similar pattern; the roast duck, seared scallops, the steaks, the cornfed chicken and the sea bass making their familiar appearance, plus the less usual squid ink tagliatelle, grilled Halloumi cheese, roasted Blossom fish and pork tenderloin stuffed with plums. These main courses were priced from €14.50 to €28 for the fillet steak.

We ordered the duck confit for Abigail, a plate of charcuterie for Gerard and the frogs' legs for me. Then, for mains, we chose scallops for Abigail, the duck breast for Gerard and the mussels for me. For drinks we had a couple of 7Ups for Abigail, sparkling water for Gerard the driver and, for me, a couple of glasses of wine.

The wine list is pretty good, someone has taken a bit of trouble over it. It's fairly priced and is long enough to offer a variety of choices in almost every kind of wine. It also offers a very large selection of wines by the glass, which is a big plus.

I ordered a glass of an excellent Alsace Riesling, Domaine Mittnacht to go with my froggies and a glass of Verdicchio for my mussels at €8.30 and €5.65 respectively.

Abigail was delighted with her starter, the crispy duck. It was nicely presented and was properly crisp. Gerard had his charcuterie, which was good, but not exceptional, and I struck gold.

As it happened, I had frogs' legs for my birthday dinner a few weeks back, but they were frogs gathered from the lake shore and there wasn't a whole lot of meat on them. In Hugo's I was presented with the back end of six frogs which must have been farmed, because they were the biggest legs I've ever seen. Tender and succulent, cooked simply in garlic butter, the dish was a knock-out.

The main courses were pretty good too; Abigail thoroughly enjoying her scallops, Gerard almost managing to finish his duck breast and me eventually eating a whole bowlful of mussels.

The scallops were cooked just right, the duck was nicely pink and the mussels came with a cream sauce that had a touch of smoky bacon in it.

Actually, the bacon was slightly burnt but it didn't unbalance the dish, in fact it was rather good if a little indigestible.

Only Abigail had the fortitude for dessert and she picked the chocolate mousse, which was the classic mousse with the gooey middle.

We finished with an Americano coffee for Gerard and an espresso for me, which was of the normal Irish kind -- a little watery and with a thin crema atop.

All in all a pretty good meal. Good service and pleasing surroundings made it an enjoyable evening. The bill for the three of us was €132.20, which I thought was good value.

Merrion Row, Dublin 2

+353-1-676 5955

Price: € 60-120 (for two with wine)

Hours: Lunch and Dinner seven days

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