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The Dunmore, Rathmines, review: Casual London vibes and crowd-pleasing dishes will make this place a hit

Deliciously fresh fish and solid cooking are the stars of the show at this neighbourhood restaurant

The Dunmore
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Address: 196 Rathmines Rd Lower, Rathmines, Dublin 6, D06 AY77
Telephone: N/A
Cuisine: Modern International
Cost: €€€

It is a room full of 30- and 40-somethings, who look like they could be extras from Sharon Horgan’s totally brilliant television comedy, Catastrophe. It’s all expensive casual London vibes, with baby-soft black leather jackets and balayage – or whatever the latest hairdresser thing is for blondes – all willowy and interesting looking. In fact, I’m expecting to hear that assured London-Irish accent around the room, but earwigging at the table beside me, there’s talk of Cork.

I had no idea that Rathmines was so glam. It’s not even Friday. But it is one of the Rs, and clearly Ranelagh, Rathmines and Rathgar have plenty to celebrate, and we all sing happy birthday later in the evening as a dessert with a candle descends on the table across the room in one of the large, comfortable booths.

The ginormous chasm that was The Bowery is now called The Dunmore, and not only is it a smart space, but the promise of bringing freshly landed fish from the coast to Dublin, by the people behind The Strand Inn Hotel in Dunmore East, is a smart move. Siblings Clifden and Louise Foyle have constructed a straightforward menu with plenty of fish and seafood options. Steak, chicken and burgers are given the charcoal oven treatment by head chef Josef Cervenka. He headed up Asador for 10 years, so knows his way around live flame cooking.

There is an impressive cocktail list, beers are on tap and wines are listed by style, but not in order of price within these categories, which is a bit confusing. There are some interesting bottles, and indeed some lovely ones to go with the delmonico steak. I could have asked the sommelier to help, but I manage to unearth a Picpoul de Pinet for €35 which goes nicely with a generous plate of crab claws (€18). Submerged in a pool of warm garlic butter, they are deliciously sweet, although the sourdough bread accompanying them is a bit substandard.


A skewer of shelled Atlantic prawns (€14) has been charred so there is a nice taste of the grill and a hint of garlic, but yet again, the bread, this time focaccia, is just ho-hum, and not something I would even describe as focaccia. With so much lovely bread available to buy in, it seems like they could have, ehm, done more (that’s it, I promise).

Turbot is on the menu, always a temptation, but I opt for the more inexpensive option, cod (€29), which is the fish of the day special. With this dish in particular, you can get a full sense of what The Dunmore is doing right. This fish is deliciously fresh and cooked meticulously. There is no messing around with techniques like sous vide, instead it has been judiciously seasoned and cooked so that the skin is golden on top and the flakes of the fish are still succulent. Cod is a fish that some people find a bit boring, but that could just be that it hasn’t been cooked correctly. It is served with a perfect hollandaise and baby potatoes.

I love a fish pie but always worry about what makes its way into the mix, for instance, salmon, which just feels like it is there to bulk it out. I am very happy to report that the fish pie at The Dunmore (€24), which comes in a traditional white oval dish, has no salmon, and instead is loaded with undyed smoked haddock, prawns and cod, bubbling under a golden topping of cheesy potatoes. The simple salad that accompanies it is nicely dressed.

Desserts are €10 and there is a choice of chocolate fondant, baked cheesecake, sticky toffee pudding and apple crumble. We opt for the latter because I am always on the lookout for a top crumble. It is tasty, the apple has been cooked slowly so that there is a slightly caramelised flavour, but as is generally the case, the crumble has been scattered on later and not baked with it from the outset. It is served with ice cream and a jug of creme anglaise.

The Dunmore is not looking to win any prizes for creativity, which is actually a sound strategy. It is a menu that has plenty of crowd pleasers, but, critically, they are done well. This is what most people want when they go out to dinner. Like Lottie’s restaurant nearby, you get the sense that they have a very good idea of who their customer is and are likely to do very well indeed.

Dinner for two with a bottle of wine was €130.

The verdict: Deliciously fresh fish and solid cooking.

Music: George Harrison and similar, getting louder as the evening progresses.

Food provenance: Fish directly from Kilmore Quay boats, Pat McLoughlin beef.

Vegetarian options: Whipped goat’s cheese with charred beets, burrata, chermoula potato and spinach pie, and Puy lentils with aubergine and yoghurt.

Wheelchair access: Fully accessible with accessible toilet.

Corinna Hardgrave

Corinna Hardgrave

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