Meeting House Bar and Restaurant Temple Bar occupies what used to be Eden, briefly became Nede, and is now the cool, funky space that it's earlier incarnations wanted it to be. Food, art, cocktails, music and vibrancy; it's got it all.
Meeting House Square is down the Parliament Street end of Temple Bar, and among other things the IFI backs onto it. It's also the scene of the Temple Bar food market at the weekends and is far enough removed from the plastic paddery down the other end to TB to be an interesting venue in it's own right.
Inside its got an industrial look, with slate tiles on the walls with dark red shades. Concert sized speakers hang from pillars and to the sounds of remixed Bowie, young Michael Jackson and Blondie telling us the Tide is High we seat danced as we worked our way through the eclectic and honestly exciting menu. Sparkling water and three cocktails made from our preferred mix of lime and fruit with ginger set us up to enjoy the food.
It's all about sharing plates, tapas sized portions with an Eastern influence. There are about 25 dishes in total, but with two willing accomplices we worked our way through a fair cross section trying out enough to give you a good idea of what to expect.
Warm duck salad with pomegranate, cucumber, basil sesame, red onion and chilli, with rocket and lime was a star performer, while little Asian burgers were served in coconut buns, with wasabi aioli, pickled cucumber and crispy onions. The buns are surprisingly crispy, and the flavours with the wasabi intense.
Poppy crusted tuna sashimi came in a bowl with samphire, seaweed and pickled ginger in a tamarind and soya sauce broth, and was wonderful. A simple and delicate sea bass fillet in a fish broth was light and fragrantly flavoured, and big, beautiful prawns in tempura were the closest we got to fried food in this smorgasbord of healthy dishes.
We weren't finished yet, there was still a delicious tomato salad with sesame, garlic and roasted nuts, while wok greens combined pak choi, asparagus, tender stem broccoli, black kale with tamarind soya sauce were Deirdre's favourite from all the goodness on offer.
We left the sashimi tacos - genius; yellow fin tuna chopped and mixed with tamarind chilli soya - were fantastic, and our final dish of organic chicken curry was obviously freshly made from scratch because that is the only way all the flavours could have so easily been appreciated.
We managed a tasting plate of desserts, more than mouthfuls of coconut pannacottas, drizzle cake, homemade truffle and a mango sorbet that left us more than satisfied.
The Meeting House took some chances; from it's industrial landscape to Mexican artist Katrina Rupit's installation sized re imagined stained glass windows and hand painted tables, to a menu that is as exciting as it is different.
Manager Eva Reingraber and her tribe of merry men and women make the experience a pleasure. I have seen friends posting like mad on FB a etc and now I know what the fuss was about, The Meeting House is fab, we loved it!