Fade Street Social may well be Dylan McGrath's spiritual home. He has combined elements of his Michelin star days with stylish tapas dishes and an excellent restaurant. Fade Street is a coming together of talent, style and great food with a unique vision.
Dylan made his name with his spectacular cooking in Mint, which got him a well-deserved Michelin star. His next venture was not more high-end cooking; instead he introduced us to Rustic Stone, which is still packed every night with people cooking their own meat and fish on hot lava stones.
His next venture was Fade Street Social, which combined a number of elements. There is a restaurant that makes use of a brick-domed oven, and there's what you could call a 'tapas' bar. It's tapas in the sense of small tasting plates, rather than in the sense of Spanish food. In fact it isn't easy to pigeon-hole the menu; there are influences from all around the world as well as re-workings of Irish dishes.
In some ways it is a showcase for modern Irish cooking, and I have eaten here pretty often, the menu changes and there are so many dishes to enjoy it’s impossible to get bored.
Here's a few examples from the menu, which keeps all the dishes in or around €10: air dried lamb with onion, fig puree, black olives and celery leaves, Soft shell crab in sesame spice flour with miso mayo, crab and lemongrass dipping sauce, crispy salt brandade and squid with pickled red peppers, chickpeas and chorizo; or if you're adventurous, the salted popcorn with crispy, free-range chicken cooked in tapioca flour, rolled in sumac and truffle butter. You'll notice that the dishes I've listed have a lot of components, and that holds true of all the others as well. A lot of work has gone into these plates.
We were dining as a group with some friends from Hot Press and indeed Stuart was also reviewing the restaurant that night; does this make us a gaggle of critics?
The dishes came in no particular order, but the first on our table was the crispy salt cod brandade with squid and pickled red peppers, with chorizo and chickpeas. It was rich and delicious and very generous, and we wondered had we ordered too much, greed having gotten the better of us. Next came the tuna and tomato ravioli, which was fresh and light and thoroughly gorgeous.
Next along came the Chinese pork belly with crispy peanut brittle. This was slowed cooked and very tender, and was hearty and sticky and lovely. A lobster hot dog was next, which we halved and demolished. Lightness here came from the third of the second wave trio, the truffle hens’ egg with potato and olive oil foam, with a hollandaise dip.
I had almost forgotten the Magret duck, but it was thinly sliced and beautifully flavoured with pickled kumquats and a homemade confit spring roll while hot 3 cheese truffle muffins with warm celeriac cream milk and celeriac cream brought up the rear.
We enjoyed a couple of glasses of Sauvignon Blanc and now took a rest before dessert. After a decent interval we were ready for something light and sweet, and ordered the praline donuts with Tonka bean cream]ma and white coffee ice cream, which we enjoyed with a glass each or dessert wine, a Muscat and the Riesling,
We finished with coffee and headed upstairs to enjoy the last of the summer sun on the rooftop winter garden. Fade Street Social is five years old now, but manages to stay relevant and exciting with a lovely room, great staff and exciting food. It was packed on the second Saturday in September, and I was glad to renew the acquaintance, I’ll be back soon.