Delahunt, Camden St review: an impromptu dinner
It started, as it always does, with a vague plan to meet a friend – and ended unexpectedly, at Delahunt on Camden St, for a three-course dinner and some seriously good wine. If there ever was a time to declare that the boom is back, it would've been last Thursday evening. I traipsed from phone shop to phone shop in search of the sold-out iPhone 7 Plus, for starters (having cancelled my 3 contract I couldn't wait more than a day to get my new phone).
Once I'd signed on the dotted line for a plain ol' iPhone 7 – having decided that my dainty hands were too, well, dainty for the 7 Plus – myself and my partner in dinner, Siopaella owner Ella, decided to head on up to Wishbone for some chicken wings and sweet potato fries. It was the week before I turned veggie, you see, and I was making the most of my carnivorous last supper(s).
I'd only been to Wishbone once before and was determined to return (I've just realised that I'll never get to eat their buffalo wings again and I'm pretty sad about it). But alas, they had no tables. "Not for 45 minutes," we were told. It's okay, we thought, we'll go another day. So we wandered around the corner to Bunsen, on Wexford St. "It'll be an hour's wait," they said. We walked a little down the street and tried our luck at Tapas de Lola. Not a chance.
For a wild second, we considered going to Eddie Rocket's – you all know I love Eddie's – before Ella remembered that she'd been to Delahunt before and that it was delicious. "It's kind of pricey," she warned me. It was okay; I'd just blown a fortune on my new phone so it seemed like a bargain – and in we went.
We got a table straight away which, in hindsight, I think is a bit of a fluke – because Delahunt was incredible. (Better than meals I've had at Wishbone, Bunsen or Tapas de Lola and, I'll admit, better than Eddie's.)
First things first: bread. I love a restaurant that brings the bread while you're looking at the menu – all the better to ponder with a chunk of fresh French baguette in your mouth – and the offering at Delahunt was top-notch. Warm, crispy sourdough and seriously good brown bread were served very good butter. It was so good, in fact, that we ordered a second serving and I am a strong believer in not allowing the bread to ruin your dinner.
We went the whole hog with three courses for €38; Ella opted for a starter of baked potato and roast garlic soup, while I foreshadowed my vegetarian future by having the beetroot salad with horseradish cream cheese.
I'm not really sure why I chose this because I'm not a massive horseradish fan and I would never have said I adored beetroot, either – but clearly I was feeling adventurous. It doesn't matter because it was so perfect. The horseradish didn't overpower the cream cheese, the beetroot was fresh and crunchy and so flavoursome, and the tiny pieces of fried brown bread were crunchy and salty and offered a perfect contrast of textures. I would happily go back and order this every time.
Next, I chose the venison – mostly because it's something I rarely cook myself and, when I do order it, I always enjoy it. It came with kale and some kind of butternut squash mash (not seen), red cabbage and I think those are some form of dried mushroom (or parsnip crisps but I don't remember parsnip crisps). The venison was cooked perfectly (insofar as someone like me, who never cooks venison, could tell) and really very tasty.
In fact, everything was good – I pretty much licked the plate clean. The portion size was good, too: two decent pieces of meat with not too much of everything else to get in the way. We didn't order any sides which, in hindsight, was good shout – if I had, I definitely wouldn't have been able for dessert.
I never like to miss dessert, and this didn't disappoint. (We each ordered the same thing; clearly, we were not in the mood to share!) It was a passionfruit and white chocolate cheesecake served with passionfruit sorbet, mango and mint. Again, this was really good.
I find that passionfruit can often be so super tart and overwhelming that it's hard to taste anything else, and while this wasn't the case, I could have done with a little more of the white chocolate flavour. But I'm clutching at straws, to a certain extent, so that I don't seem like an idiot with no critical faculties whatsoever; overall, it was delicious.
Our meals at Delahunt came to €60 each including tip and a bottle of (I think) Montepulciano. So it wasn't cheap, and it definitely wasn't what I was expecting from our casual Thursday-night dinner. That being said, if the boom truly is back, maybe three-course meals in Delahunt are the new chicken wings in Wishbone? I'd better start dressing up a bit more frequently.