Clonskeagh House has been an institution on the banks of the Dodder at Clonskeagh Bridge for almost a century. Recently it re-opened under new management, with a cool new look and some very good food.
Last year we reviewed perennial favourite Michaels in Mount Merrion, and loved the food of new chef Gareth Smith. Well Gaz is the new management down the Dodder, and his menu is really looking to put the pub on the culinary map.
We went along for an al fresco Sunday lunch, with five friends to check it out, and we found ourselves outside in the June sunshine at a smart new table. First up we ordered drinks, and it turned out we were an abstemious lot. Only one glass of wine among the orange juices and sparkling water, but whatever empty calories we left out, we made up for on the food.
The Sunday lunch menu is a simple affair. There are four pub classics; homemade burger, fish and chips, roast chicken or a rib eye steak which are all priced individually.
Overleaf is the set menu, which offers two courses for €22, or three for €25. Starters include a salads, prawns or goats cheese. Then there is a choice of roast lamb or beef, while also on offer is vegetarian pasta, baked salmon or chicken confit. In the end, we all ordered from the specials, and kept room for dessert, except for one shared starter.
Perhaps because we hadn't ordered the roast, the kitchen sent out samples of the roast lamb; little slices on a dash of creamy mash, with a dollop of mint and gravy. They were really good, and I'll be going back soon for a proper roast dinner.
Gaz cooks a signature dish in the evening; a crab and langoustine bake, so I had asked if we could have a large portion of that to share, and it was no problem. This dish is phenomenal. Juicy crab claws and Dublin Bay prawns are baked in a breadcrumb crust with garlic butter and it’s served with toasted ciabatta. It lasted about two minutes and everyone was delighted with it; if you do nothing else, go along and eat this, it’s ridiculously delicious.
Main courses brought two beer battered fish and chips, and two burgers, along with a rib eye steak. The fish was generous and lightly crispy outside, perfectly cooked inside and came with thick, fluffy homemade chips and a very good hand cut tartare sauce. The steak was perfect, and very tasty, but the burgers were fantastic. Big and juicy on a toasted brioche bun, they were topped with gherkins, lettuce and tomato, and were the star of the show.
We went back to sharing mode for desserts, and had a sticky toffee pudding, a Verona chocolate brownie and a vanilla pannacotta with apple and mango. Each was perfect in its own way, and the homemade sorbet and ice creams were spot on.
The great burgers, and the delicious lamb are both supplied by the excellent Village Butchers in Ranelagh, who also do the best smoked streaky rashers in Dublin, and it’s where TOI gets its Christmas turkey!
Clonskeagh House is doing all the right things; the food is excellent, the setting delightful and the staff friendly and efficient. South Dublin needs a great gastro pub, and now it might finally have one. Check it out soon.