Ireland: Fine dining in Dublin – The Pig’s Ear

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Hi foodies,

Here is my first food-related post. I really enjoy dining in new places and I thought that I should treat myself (hello Parks and Rec fans) and experience some fine dining in Dublin. Dublin is PACKED with food places, there is one on every corner. In fact, Tripadvisor lists about 2000 restaurants in Dublin! So I did some serious research and found this gem called The Pig’s Ear.

First of all, I knew that I don’t want to break the bank and believe it or not, life here in Dublin can be very expensive. Luckily I learned about this thing called The Early bird/Pre-theatre menu which basically means that between 5PM and 6:30PM you can get relatively cheap set-menu deals in really nice restaurants. Apparently that’s not proper dinner time yet. That’s quite funny because 5/6PM is a normal time in Estonia to eat dinner. At least in my family.


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Love their modest and bright interior design

So I googled a lot, found some really nice places but I knew I wanted the set menu to be max 30 euros. Most nice restaurants had their Early Bird offers for 35-40 euros which was more than I was willing to pay this time. Thanks to the help of my co-worker I learned about this restaurant called The Pig’s Ear. I looked it up and it seemed perfect – central location, bright atmosphere, delicious-sounding menu and affordable Early Bird menu (only 27 euros for 3 courses!). I didn’t think too long until I booked a table. PS. Booking a table is a must because restaurants like this are usually very busy.

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So, let’s talk about food. As I said, we had 3 courses, both a glass of wine (I had 2014 sauvignon blanc as a throwback to my days in Bordeaux) and some sparkling water. For the starter I thought I will take the fish but then I saw that they have beef tartare and as surprising it might sound, I had never had tartare before. There is just some psychological off-putting effect in eating raw minced meat for me. But I thought what the heck, I must try something new and since it is a quality restaurant I wasn’t doubting the quality of the meat either. The first bite was a bit scary but as soon as I tasted all the different sensations I did not regret ordering it at all. It was amazing – the seasoning, pickled onions, seeds, cheddar and all. But to be honest, til the end it was in the back of my mind that I am still eating RAW cow meat. I guess I just have to get over myself because the seasoning and taste was absolutely on point.

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Tartare of Irish Beef Brisket with Pickled Onions and Seeds, Smoked Cheddar
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Fresh Peas, Walnuts, Goats Curd, Redcurrants, Fried Sourdough

For main I chose fried cod with heirloom tomatoes, spring onions and broad beans. The cod was cooked til perfection. It was tender from the inside but had a crispy skin. Spring onions and beans added a nice fresh touch to it. I don’t have any bad words for the main. The vegetarian main with squash had a nice silky texture to it.

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Pan-fried Cod, Heirloom Tomatoes, Salt Cod Croquette, Spring Onions and Broad Beans
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Grilled Summer Squash, Burnt Pear, Toasted Seeds, Nuts and Grains

When choosing a dessert I saw that the lady at the table next to me had some dessert served in a mason jar and I was sure that I do NOT want that dessert. I’m sorry if I’m too traditional but if I go to a nice restaurant I do not want my cheesecake to be served in a jar. I’m not even joking, as it turned out it was cheesecake that was served out of the glass jar. So I opted for something I would usually never take – brown bread ice cream with Yellow Man and smoked caramel. That because I’m not a big fan of ice cream AND caramel. But to my surprise it was absolutely brilliant. It really surprised me. I loved the different textures and the mixture of sweet and savory. I also tried some lemon tapioca pudding but it didn’t really compare.

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Brown Bread Ice Cream, Yellow Man, Smoked Caramel
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Rhubarb Sorbet, Lemon Tapioca, Candied Ginger and White Chocolate

To sum it up – it was a lovely experience. Only thing I would pick on is that the service wasn’t very personal and not once did they ask us how did we like the meal. However, they were very quick and proper in their job. Our bill for two people combined was 80 euros which is not bad for 6 dishes, 2 glasses of wine and water. Especially for quality food like this.


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