Heading into town for a little sales shopping with a good friend, we had discussed a few different ideas around somewhere to go post shopping for dinner, few drinks. We actually went in the direction of Stephens Green intending to stop into The Shelbourne Hotel but the bar was jammed so we carried on, without a real plan of where we were going to go. Walking along Merrion Row, we came to Hugos, with prettily decorated Christmas windows and an inviting look we stepped inside. We didn’t have a booking and there was a bit of humming and hawing as to if they would have a table as while it was fairly empty I could see their book looked fairly full. We were led to a table down the back, perfect for reviewing our purchases and catching up properly. Hugos is decorated beautifully for Christmas with large red stars handing from the ceiling and the loveliest lighting. Its many years since I was in Hugos and I was really glad I returned.
We tried to order a bottle of Prosecco (€32) but unfortunately they were out , they had a Cava (€44) on the menu and they graciously offered that to us at the same price as the Prosecco but neither of us are that mad about Cava so instead we went for a bottle of Pinot Grigio, priced at €29 (a little higher than I think a wine such as this should be but still nice).
I was impressed with the menu choices, 8 starters, 8 Mains and a number of sides to choose from. I was torn between a few of the starters, the black pudding and bacon in pastry sounded pretty tasty as did the hake gratin – whats not to like about a gratin with mature cheddar, mustard leeks and sourdough bread! However in the end I chose the crispy brie in panko breadcrumbs with a cranberry compote. My friend decided on the chicken liver parfait which came with a spiced pear chutney and toasted brioche. Both were good dishes, the brie, crispy outside encasing melty gooey brie edged the parfait. The parfait was fine but nothing special and personally I prefer thin toast rather than thick toasted brioche with pate or parfaits.
We both went for the same main, it was a cold day and this dish was so warming and comforting – slow braised daube of beef with mash potato, white onion puree, spring onion and a lovely crispy onion ring on top. I could have eaten an entire bowl just of the mash – it was that good! We also ordered a side of the broccoli and spinach. There was absolutely nothing to fault about our beef dish, we gave back completely empty plates and at €21 its very well priced. Other mains that caught my eye, the seared scallops with crispy bacon and shallots and a potato mousse (€26) and the overnight black spot pork belly with duck fat roast potato and honey glazed carrots (€23), there was also a sirloin steak with fries, green beans and Bearnaise sauce which seems like good value for a Dublin city restaurant at €28.
We took a look at the dessert menu, but we were really quite full… and nothing stood out so we went for a liquid dessert with another bottle of the Pinot Grigio (well it is Christmas after all!).
Throughout our meal, the staff were friendly, not on top of us but there when we needed something. The restaurant itself has a really lovely atmosphere and feeling about it. Our total bill (including the 2 bottles of wine!) came to €121.75 (not including service) which I think was reasonably for what we had. I’d definitely return and this time would pre-book one of those great window seats so can watch the world go by enjoying nice food and wine!
(Apologies on photo quality – hampered by the dark lighting which is perfect for eating and drinking in (the way it should be!) just not for photo taking)
6 Merrion Row
Ph: +353 1 6765955