The 1900 Restaurant on Harcourt Street is friendly and casual and serves some exciting food in a relaxed informal setting. The restaurant earned its name from the historical train crash of 1900 when a train from Enniscorthy to Harcourt Street failed to stop and crashed through the end wall of the Harcourt Street station onto Hatch Street, with the train left dangling in mid-air. Artist Michael McWilliams has depicted the train crash on one of the walls in the Restaurant and it has become a talking point among patrons.
Inside it's very casual, part gastro pub, part bistro. It's very busy at lunchtime, and in the evenings is rammers at the weekend, with a steady clientele during the week. Ashling runs the room with some aplomb, and there's a happy buzz from the staff, which is always nice.
The room is set over several levels with a choice of seating from a sunken or raised private area, which is ideal for larger groups, to banquette seating and booths dotted around. Outside there's a terrace for some al fresco dining or people watching, and a drink at the bar with some nibbles is also an option.
The menu is a surprise, there's, seared tuna, quails egg and Iberico ham salad, citrus cured salmon. There's three I d happily have anywhere, but you generally find them in more serious restaurants, with more serious prices. I Dublin's casual dining space, they are like manna from heaven.
Main courses offer a selection from the farm, the sea and a selection of steaks, but there are still flashes of imagination with hake with smoked puree, clams and a prawn bisque, a mussels fracases or a sip of duck. The steaks look good as well though, and can surfed and turfed.
I am dining with the better, prettier half, and neither of us can pass the two seared or cured fish starters. I have the sesame seared tuna, with a simple salad and a wasabi cream, while Deirdre had the cured salmon. I was sure I was getting the winner here, dining being a competitive sport, but her fresh and almost tangy salmon was the equal of the fabulous dark red, seared at the edges tuna. These were two brilliant starters, and it was only when Ashling told us the chef had spend some years in Michelin Star L'Ecrivain that the penny dropped. It might be casual dining, but it's casual dining with style an some pizazz.
Main courses brought beautifully pink duck for me, and a hearty rib eye steak and triple cooked chips for the in training athlete on the other side of the table. She can eat what she wants when she trains for her yearly half marathon, and this is the season. The duck is rich and delist, and the steak is perfectly cooked and tastes great.
We wait a bit and make room for a dessert of mango cream stuffed shout pastry, think profiteroles with a cool filling. Some coffees send us on our way to the LUAS stop outside and we head home, chatting happily about how the world would be much improved if only everyone served seared tuna, home made Gravlax and shout buns with imaginative fillings.