Monday of the Halloween bank holiday weekend and we were wandering in town, browsing in the shops with no real plan for the day other than we wanted to have a nice lunch somewhere. We ended up in The Shelbourne Hotel, a little bit by accident as a lot of places were closed but we were so glad we did as we had such a wonderful enjoyable lunch stretching into dinner, as we were there for a few hours.
We had no reservation made and it was quite busy when we arrived at The Saddle Room, we were offered a small booth table in the front part next to the oyster bar and open kitchen. This was perfect for us, being able to watch the comings and goings and enjoy nice food and wine. The lunch menu offers two courses at €23 or three courses at €27 and quite reasonable choice with 5 starters, 5 mains and 5 desserts, along with sides. On Sundays the lunch menu is a little more (2 Courses €26 | 3 Courses €31). For me this menu represents excellent value bearing in mind the food, setting and service.
A basket of warm bread was delivered first and then to start for me, the Shelbourne Shrimp Cocktail, Iceberg Lettuce, Marie Rose Sauce and for him, Cardamom Smoked Castletownbere Salmon, Lemon Puree, Liscannor Crab.
Sometimes the traditional, simple dishes are best and my prawn cocktail was truly wonderful. Big tasty prawns, at the right temperature smothered in the perfect amount of marie rose sauce atop crisp shredded iceberg lettuce; I loved it. Yes it’s simple but sometimes that makes it harder to get right but this hit all the right notes. His salmon was beautifully presented and while the salmon itself was wonderful, the liscannor crab really elevated the dish.
Onto main courses, we both chose the same thing which doesn’t often happen – Grannagh pork Belly, Carrot Puree, Salt Baked Turnip and we added a side of baby potatoes. I was tempted by the Kilmore Quay Cod or the crab risotto, but the pork won out in the end.
Perfectly cooked, tender, not too much fat on top, balanced by the carrot and turnip and the ideal accompaniment in the baby potatoes, it was delicious.
We started with a couple of glasses of La Plasir Chardonnay from France (€8.50 ea) and followed this with a bottle of Heritage Reserve Pinot Noir De Loach from California (€47); a light red yet with enough weight to work well with the pork belly.
For dessert, a warm chocolate and raspberry tart with pistachio ice cream, mostly for him but I did have a taste…and two espressos served with little cookies (€3.80 ea).
As much as we enjoyed the food, it was also the ambiance, the chatter from the kitchen, the comings and goings of people and staff that added to the experience. We had a very comfortable booth for two, and we were very happy to linger and chat, eat and drink, and while away a bank holiday afternoon here.
And as it was the Halloween bank holiday, the hotel was also suitably scarily decorated too…boo!
The Saddle Room at The Shelbourne Dublin | 27 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2 | 01 6634500
We recently enjoyed an overnight stay in The Shelbourne which you can read about here also.