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Paolo, Gerard, Keith, Joe

The Brass Monkey Restaurant, Howth

Brass monkey

12 West Pier Howth, Ireland, Dublin 13.

+353 1 8063746

Price: € 0-60 (for two with wine)

Hours: Seven days from 12 noon.

Review

The Brass Monkey Restaurant is the latest addition on the West Pier in Howth, and is a new venture for John Aungier of The Oarhouse, and business partner Susan O’Reilly. It is half wine bar, half restaurant with a casual feel and plenty of atmosphere. The menu is divided equally between meat and fish, and the prices reflect the times.

Howth is going from strength to strength and no where is this more evident that on the West pier. On a Saturday evening the place is hopping, and even if the brass Monkey is the newest place to eat, it has picked up a healthy following very quickly. I intended to get there by six for an early dinner with daughter Abigail, who is in the middle of serious Leaving Certificate studying, but events conspired against us, and by the time we arrived the place is packed and we are lucky to get a seat at the window bar, looking out on the Pier and fishing boats.

The menu lists around a dozen starters and we set about choosing from seafood chowder, goats cheese and pancetta tartlet, fresh lobster and Dublin Bay prawn ravioli, barbequed spare ribs and Crab Louie – fresh crab with avocado and Mary Rose sauce. They range in price from €5 to €10, with most around the €8 mark.

Main courses run to a similar length, and you can choose to have slow roast pork belly, fillet steak, Thai curry, lobster and prawn ravioli, fish and chips, and there is always the special of the day, which is usually a fish dish.

We decided to share the fresh lobster and prawn ravioli, followed by Thai Curry for Abigail, while I picked the grilled cod. A glass of chardonnay for the young lady and a coke for the driver completed the order.

The room was by this time hopping, and a very mixed crowd it was. Families, couples, a few tables of girls on night’s out and a group of guys eating at the bar and drinking wine made up the customers. Outside there was a steady stream of diners arriving, either joining tables inside, or going next door to Deep or further down to the Oarhouse or Octopussy’s. Like I said, Howth is a busy place these days.

The shared starter arrived – large homemade made ravioli stuffed with the lobster and prawn meat - served in a white wine and cream sauce was delicious. Next up, Abi’s Brass Monkey Thai red curry was huge – a large dish filled with chicken and vegetables, and served with fresh jasmine rice – was spiced and creamy and very yummy. The star however, was undoubtedly the grilled cod with Spanish chorizo and mussels, in saffron infused white wine and cream sauce with delicate potato dumplings. I happen to know John spends some time in Spain, north of Barcelona, and this dish reminded me of excellent meals overlooking the Med on balmy evenings. The Brass Monkey is worth the trip for this dish alone.

The daughter is a bit of a brownie monster, so a shared chocolate and hazelnut brownie (luscious and delicious –Abi) finished the meal, alongside a coffee for me.

The Brass Monkey is great fun, the food is very good and the prices hit the spot. A great addition to Howth, and another reason for a trip out this way. There is an early bird each day from 3pm until seven, except Sundays, with two courses and tea of coffee for €20.
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