As anyone who follows me on Twitter or reads this blog will know, we are regular visitors to Dundrum as we live quite near. A warm and sunny evening recently made us want some al freso dining so we walked to Dundrum and found a table right outside Dunne & Crescenzi’s L’Officina restaurant… We have been many times, its hard to think where you would fine nicer pasta dishes that what any of the Dunne & Crescenzi restaurants offer.
We settled down with a glass of the house white wine to start, while we looked at the menu. There’s great people watching from this spot across the fountains and pond to the town centre. The only ‘bad’ thing about L’Officina is that the service can be hit and miss and you can be waiting a good while for menus, drinks etc. But good things come to those who wait… as they say!
We decided to order a few dishes altogether and share so chose the Bruschetta al Pomodoro – vine ripened tomato on garlic brushed bread (€4.50), Fiori di Zucca which is tempura courgette flowers stuffed with mozarella and anchovy (€5.50) and two pasta dishes, the “Tonnarelli di Gragnano con pomodoro, pancetta, peperoncino e petali di pecorino romano” – Tonnarelli Gragnano with tomato, pancetta , chilli and Pecorino Romano dop cheese (€14.50) and another dish that is on the menu with Gnocchi but we had it with Penne ‘al ragù con manzo biologico Irlandese’ – slow cooked ragu’ of Gilligan’s Irish Hereford beef (€15.00).
First up the courgette flowers – holy moly they were good, beautiful tempura batter outside, creamy soft mozzarella, the saltiness of the anchovy – I’ll be honest and say I’m not crazy for anchovies, but this was a subtle flavour and only added to the dish. Winning dish all round. The Bruschetta however was a different story – the tomatoes lacked flavour and were just so bland. A pity as I’ve had it many times here before and always been great, not this time.
Both pasta dishes were excellent with the tonnarelli gragnano with tomato and pancetta and a hint of chilli pipping the penne ragu as the better one, but only by a small margin. The pasta is cooked perfectly here, a bit of bite, not too soft.
We enjoyed a bottle of their house Italian red wine with our food, which at €19 is value for money and more than ok. It’s not going to set the world on fire but its a good Italian red, medium bodied and with something to offer.
Any of the Dunne & Crescenzi or L’Officina restaurants are worth visiting for authentic Italian food, especially their pasta. The lovely part of their Dundrum branch is being able to sit outside, there is heaters when its a bit chillier…
We will be back during the Summer when the sun is definitely going to shine…isn’t it!