Monday, October 18, 2010

Cliff Townhouse Restaurant (formerly Bentley's), Dublin by Bureaucrat

A bit of a conundrum here. We dined at Bentley's about two months ago, but now it has a new owner and it's now called Cliff Townhouse Restaurant. A bit of googling informs me that "The Cliff Townhouse is the new Bentleys, but the food is just as good even if Mr. Corrigan has moved on. Same staff, same chef, same buzz".

While this makes it easier to blog about, it doesn't change my view of this place. CTR is a wankified restaurant that's set in a delightful Georgian house. The restaurant is decorated in Art Deco style (think metal clam shells for lamp shades, mirrors, curved sofas, etc). It certainly provides an appropriate background if one is wanting a glamorous evening night. It also has an oyster bar.

However, the food and service were not what we were expecting for a restaurant that looked so polished on the surface.

For entree, the Lawyer ordered the seafood risotto. It was quite a large serving for an entree. The Lawyer said it tasted fine, but nothing exceptional. The presentation was a bit sloppy - the parmesan cheese was all over the place.

I had the marinated mackerel w pickled carrots. This was served cold. The mackerel was fine, but the carrots were far too sour. Another cross against CTR.

For mains, the Lawyer had the braised lamb shoulder and anchovies. The lamb was shaped into a cube. The anchovies were an odd addition to the dish. It didn't really add much to the flavour - I think this was just for visual effect. Once again, the food was fine but not exceptional. Both mains were served with some side veggies.

I had the fish pie....this turned out to be a big no-no. The seafood inside was still raw. I had to send it back to the kitchen. Tsk tsk tsk! A restaurant that holds itself to a high standard should definitely know better. The dish came back properly cooked. As we dined early, I did note that as other diners ordered the pie, their crusts were a bit more browned after I complained. The pie was full of seafood but overly rich with cream and butter. Because of this, I didn't finish the dish.

We struggled onto the dessert. The Lawyer ordered sorbet. This was probably the best dish of the night.

I ordered the Eton's Mess, which was nice. The fruit/fool was mixed quite well into the meringue/cream and it was served with green pistachios.

CTR/Bentley's may have had a bad night on the night we dined. We certainly expected a lot more from a place like this. A lot of potential but we didn't see any of that when we went.

Service was attentive, but only when your waiter was at your table. Otherwise, they just zip past you in a hurry to tend to more important things and/or diners. Therefore, unless you're a VIP, don't expect to have the Maitre'd fawning over you and making a big song and dance (including being served complimentary champers; and booming out "PROFESSOR SO-AND-SO! WELCOME TO BENTLEY'S!" ...cue eye-rolling from me) for all the diners to see.

To go, or not to go? Go if you want to take a chance that you'll have a better time than we did. But if you're risk adverse, go spend your money elsewhere - there are many nice restaurants in Dublin to try without the wank, average food and below-average service.

Cliff Townhouse Restaurant (formerly Bentley's)
22 St Stephens Green
Dublin Ireland
Telephone: (+353) 1638 3939

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