The Exchequer Bar and Restaurant in Dublin’s Exchequer Street has been winning awards since it opened. There is now a sister wine bar in Ranelagh, so it seems they are still keeping customoers happy.
It seems to go from strength to strength and has been evolving all that time. Some people seem to believe a good restaurant is a set thing; not so, the really good ones grow and change, while keeping true to core values. That’s what The Exchequer have done and it works a treat.
We recently reviewed them again, but first here’s a snippet of Paolo’s review from two years back;
“The Exchequer is a gastropub, so there's a big menu of cocktails and a bottled beer list that's almost twice as long as the wine list. The dining room runs along the side of the building and it's quite plain architecturally, with lots of right angles. We were shown to a good-sized table with comfortable seating and settled in to read the menu…..
Main courses were very good also. Reg had chosen the chargrilled rack of pork, a thick pork chop which came with spinach, a perfectly cooked fondant potato and brown celeriac purée, but we weren't able to work out what made the celeriac brown. David was pleased with his guinea fowl, the apricot and walnut stuffing had somehow managed to combine on the plate, and the walnut flavour was robust. I probably did the best of the three of us with my choice from the daily specials board of a seafood platter, which gave me oysters, scallops, crab and prawns. All were cooked perfectly and nicely flavoured.”
That was then and this is now;
The term gastro pub gets bandied around a lot; some places are definitely pubs, but a decent burger doesn’t a gastro make it. Things are a little higher here. There are two menus to choose from, the A la Carte and the set menu which offers two courses for €16.95 and 3 for €19.95, which is serious value in anyone’s book. Interesting dishes as well, which included herb marinated Irish rare beef salad or a ham hock and black pudding terrine to start, followed by lamb and beef homemade pastie or their Exchequer fish pie with leeks.
The A la Carte offers even more interesting choices and we end up eating off both. We love starters of rare beef salad and the marinated salmon, both of which are really flavoursome and leave little taste explosions behind. A main course of the homemade Pastie for Deirdre goes down well, there is plenty of flavour from the meat and pastry and a Mornay and hot mustard sauce packs a punch. I love the take on bacon and cabbage; cherry smoked bacon arrives on a wooden board with a cheese, spring onion and potato croquette, there’s a little tower of black pud and apple compote, and the cabbage is finely sliced and served on the side. A very good take on a classic.
We finish with jelly and ice cream, today’s flavour is melon, and some tea and coffee. The Exchequer has raised the bar for bar food, it’s as simple as that. Their take on Irish classics is reminiscent of what got the Gordon Ramsays and Jamie Olivers into it in the UK in the first place. If more people copy them we could have a food revolution here over the next few tears, with bars being the place for something different. Top marks.