The Merrion Inn has been a south Dublin institution for years. After a devastating fire it has been completely rebuild and is now a very stylish restaurant and bar, with terraces to the front and rear, and one of the best selections of craft beer you will find.
The Merrion Inn is situated right across from St. Vincent’s Hospital and close to the RDS and the Aviva stadium. This family run pub is owned by the McCormack’s, who have three generations in the business now, running pubs since 1941.
The bar is bright and contemporary inside. Lots of wooden tables and chairs are well spaced around the room, offering comfortable seating while you dine. There is one terrace to the rear, which is sheltered and perfect for a spot of al fresco dining, while on a good summers day the dining room opens onto the front terrace creating a unique space inside and out.
The bar itself is in the centre of the room, and in addition to a well priced selection of wines, all available by the glass, they have a heady selection of craft beers from some of the best craft breweries in Ireland, while the cider menu is worth a trip all by itself.
The food menu offers a good array of options; it is an amalgam of restaurant and gastro bar, so you will find traditional pub classics, as well as a selection of dishes which are more along the lines of what you would expect to find on a pretty good bistro menu.
Starters run the gamut from haddock smokies, a duo of Irish artisan cheeses to pate on toast, soup of the day or traditional Italian meatballs. A selection of salads can be had as starters or mains, and high points include the Thai beef salad, while I have enjoyed their very authentic Caesar salad on more than one occasion.
Main courses tempt with pan fried salmon or orzo pasta, slow cooked venison or smoked haddock with black pudding. Alternatively if you fancy some comfort food, there is a smashing burger, fresh fish and chips or homemade chicken gougons and hand cut chips.
We started with a bit of both sides of the menu; tasty chicken wings and the duo of Irish cheeses were shared to the sound of contented chomping, a bit of Gastro and a lot of gusto.
Abigail had the salmon for her main course, and the pan fried fish was cooked just so, on a bed or Orzo pasta with lemon spinach and fennel and onion compote. Deirdre's main course of naturally smoked haddock came with black pudding and apple on baby potato with a parsnip and squash puree. The black pudding comes from Byrnes butchers in Sandymount, to where I drive from Dundrum for their white. The fish was perfect, and the only issue one could have with the dish was it’s over generous size.
My dish of venison with celeriac and chestnut purée and thick polenta chips was exceptional. The meat was served on the bone, and delicious marrow added more flavour to the already stonking flavours present from the wild game and the rich red wine gravy. The polenta chips were a good idea, anything heavier would have been too much.
We managed to share a delicious sticky toffee pudding before heading out into the cold, and that and the good coffee kept us in good stead on the way home.
The Merrion Inn is a step up from pub grub, the menu changes regularly and there are some interesting dishes on offer. Prices are very reasonable and the room is very pleasing. Great spot for a casual bite, and Sunday lunch on the terrace on a summer’s day is a treat. The menu list the suppliers of all meat, fish and produce, and there is an emphasis on well sourced ingredients from caring producers.
the terrace on a summer’s day is a treat.