. Restaurants .

Posted: Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 8:38 PM
Location: The Pig's Ear, Nassau Street
Dining companions: My fiancée

Saturday was one of the happiest days of my life so far. Good Friday is up there as well of course – this was the day that my man proposed to me.  A down on one knee, totally romantic and wonderful proposal on the shores of Lake Garda.  This Saturday however was engagement ring shopping. What fun!

We headed straight to the Powerscourt Centre, South William Street, to look at vintage rings – Delphi Antiques has a massive selection, bonkers – wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to narrow it down. BUT, I’ll never forget the moment when my engagement ring was put onto my finger, it literally took my breath away.  I developed a huge grin, and just kept laughing in a slightly mad way, saying ‘wow’ over and over.  Everyone said you’ll know when you find ‘the one’, but I think I’d been a bit scared that maybe I wouldn’t – maybe I was the one person who was wouldn’t get that feeling. 

On leaving the shop, despite the above slight madness, there were still two rings in the running – one being more the more unusual, vintage style that I thought I would go for.  The other being the breath-take-awaying four stone beauty – nothing like the style that I thought I would go for.  I needed some time to get my head around the u-turn I was blatantly desperate to take.

The Pig
Brown bread ice cream

We tried to grab a table in Dunne and Crescenzi but it was just not happening with at least six people waiting to be seated. Onward we tripped on down the road to The Pig’s Ear.  I like The Pig’s Ear, I’ve been there once before and it looks great with dark furniture, wooden floors, white walls and napkins, and I love the view – right out over the Trinity with its dining rooms on the second and third floor.

With my mind a jumble of engagement rings I ordered quickly (very unlike me) and got a glass of prosecco on the way pronto.  At lunch times they do a set menu – two courses for €16 or three courses for €20. There were three starters, three mains and three desserts with sides (€5 each) and bread (€3) extra – but even if the number of dishes was limited, it was thoughtful and there was a broad enough range of options.

I jabbered on and soon enough the starters arrived – I had opted for a fried egg with Clonakilty black pudding and fried bread.  It’s a tried and tested combination which we know works, so I really enjoyed it.  It was served with a mustard mayonnaise which I was looking forward to, but it could have done with a little bit more of a kick to cut through the richness of the egg and pudding.

My fiancée (ha ha, one and only use of that term I think – it makes me giggle too much) had a cured Irish salmon dish served with homemade banbidh*, cucumber and dill pickles and some apple tapioca.  The salmon was the star of the show, as it should have been.

More ring natter and soon enough the mains arrived.  I had opted for the fish option – grilled hake, crushed new potatoes, cauliflower roasted with cumin and pickled golden raisins.  I would have two minor criticisms of the dish – first up it all look a bit pale, a bit cream coloured apart from the odd caper.  Number two – the cumin was very subtle – so subtle I didn’t really pick it up.  In contrast the raisins were a delight – exploding every now and then in your mouth with a burst of sweetness, and the fish was perfectly cooked.

My man had slow cooked pigs belly, grilled onion, watercress mash and cider sauce.  I have to say that the belly wasn’t quite as good as we’ve made at home recently (yay!) as it just wasn’t as crispy on top as he would like – but other than that he looked a happy man. 

When the waiter came over and asked if we fancied dessert it took all my will power not to jump off my seat and run back to the jewellers – over the course of our lunch I’d pretty reconciled myself to the more traditional bling, and there were two other parties interested in this ring don’t you know?!  In the name of research and blogging however I did order dessert – brown bread ice cream, apple compote and crushed yellow man (honeycomb to me) all served together in a kilner jar.  Loved it – not overly sweet, and great texture combination with the honeycomb crunch and soft ice-cream and apples.

Overall, the quality of the ingredients we had was great – everything seemed really bright and fresh and that’s what really stands out.  I love the attention that’s paid to presentation and the atmosphere is casual but refined, without the high prices to match.  We paid €70 for two – we each had three courses, plus three glasses of wine and an espresso.  It’s a great spot – especially on a sunny day or evening when you can get a table by the window and watch the world go by – do it!

And PS – we got the ring – hopefully pick it up tomorrow, cannot wait.  Apologies for the self-indulgent ring chat – once in a life time!  :o)

* Me either.