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Row Wines review: A new restaurant offering a rare thing – small plates and a glass of wine that won’t break the bank

Coppinger Row owners are back with a vibrant restaurant-wine bar

Row Wines
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Address: 1 Coppinger Row, Off South William Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01 4444928
Cuisine: Irish International
Cost: €€€

“Just one bite,” our waiter instructs as he lands a plate of two gildas before us. I obey (yes, I’m an absolute sheep) while my wingman goes for a more contemplative three. Gildas, in case you haven’t had one, are that delicious Basque bar snack of piperrak (Basque pickled green chillies), olives and anchovies, speared on to a cocktail stick. In Row Wines, Marc and Conor Bereen’s new restaurant on Coppinger Row, off South William Street, Dublin, you get two for €5, making it the cheapest gilda in town.

In Food Senses and the City, anthropologist Aitzpea Leizaola says a gilda is eaten in two bites. It is considered to be the OG Basque pintxo, a snack invented by two Navarrese brothers to entice groups of male-only friends back into their wine tavern, Casa Vallés, postwar. Named after Rita Hayworth’s less than subdued character, Gilda, in the eponymous film, it is described as “green, salty and hot”, loaded with innuendo and connotation. It became a subversive edible metaphor under the repressive dictatorship of Franco, which forbade public displays of desire.

The cunning plan lured the young men into a delightful mini bar crawl, where a tasty gilda was served alongside each round ordered in the small, squat glass known as a txikitero. Hence, the fitting nickname for the band of jolly men. In Row Wines, it’s durable stemware that is used, and there are five white and red wines available in three formats, 100ml, 150ml and by the bottle; with some orange, rosé and sparkling by the glass, and additional wines by the bottle only.

The very affable general manager, Dáire Ó Lúing, is behind the list. It ticks the organic, biodynamic and sustainably made boxes with a more classic than natural bent. So don’t expect a deep dive into grower Champagne, or the weird and wonderful from the Loire, but you’ll find niche producers such as Suertes del Marqués. Vermouth features (including Valentia Island Golden Vermouth), but for us, it’s a glass of sparkling Tuffeau (€9.50) and a Martin+Anna Grüner Veltliner (€10.50) to pair with our gildas.


It’s a small plates format here, and after the snacks, prices range from €9 to €18. No minimum order is required, making it quite the welcome outlier, and still or sparkling water is complimentary. The food from 23-year-old head chef Paddy Maher, led by executive chef Dan Hannigan (head chef at Orwell Road), is promising at the first bite.

Two rectangles of rösti (€18) that have been compressed and deep-fried to a burnished golden crisp are served hot, loaded with chilled crab and a burst of micro-planed bottarga on top, bringing an additional savoury note to the hot/cold combination. Although it’s the most expensive dish, it’s plenty generous for two to share.

Meaty Garryhinch mushrooms (€14) are dressed in soy, mirin and shallot XO sauce, and topped with cep crumb, waiting to have an egg yolk mixed through in the bowl. It’s a rich, savoury dish, lifted with some finely chopped shallots and coriander micro herbs. A spritz more of acidity would lift it further.

The Coolea and wild garlic flatbread (€9.50) is the bargain of the menu, and definitely one for sharing. Fermented over five days, it brings a little bit of chewiness to the plump and airy sourdough flatbread, which has been nicely charred underneath. A vinegar made from wild garlic stems injects a piquant snap to the topping of herbs dusted with grated Coolea cheese. On the side is a Coolea mousse dip. It’s more of an ethereal foam, so quite light in flavour. A more assertive cheesiness would be good, but it’s fun to eat and is an original dish.

Castletownbere langoustines (€17) are served in a bisque that is intensely flavoured from the inclusion of roast shells, with drops of dill oil bringing an aromatic lift. We finish with extra virgin olive oil cake (€9). It’s topped with vanilla bean mascarpone and roast grapes are tumbled in a mix of their juices, wild flatberry shrub and Ballyhoora ice wine which seeps up in to the cake.

Row Wines is less of a geek wine destination than, say, Franks, Note or Loose Canon. What you get is well-priced, tasty food, a good selection of wines and cocktails, and a very vibey atmosphere which really kicks in at the weekends with a DJ playing vinyl. There is a substantial outside area, reminiscent of the old days of Coppinger Row restaurant. It’s a welcome return which is going to be popular. Book online, or take your chances as a walk-in.

Dinner for two with five glasses of wine was €121.50.

The verdict: Tasty food with no requirement for a minimum spend.

Music: Vibrant soundtracks and full-on vinyl at the weekends.

Food provenance: Andarl Farm, McLaughlin Butcher, Goatsbridge trout, Glenmar seafood, Garrynahinch, Wild Irish Foragers, Keelings.

Vegetarian options: Garrynahinch mushrooms in broth; Coolea and wild garlic flatbread; marinated beetroot with feta; and chicory and blood orange salad.

Wheelchair access: Accessible with accessible toilet.

Corinna Hardgrave

Corinna Hardgrave

Corinna Hardgrave, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes a weekly restaurant column