When Fade Street Social first opened in late 2012 I had every plan to visit soon thereafter. It was the place to go, and received wonderful reviews and plaudits. For one reason or another we never made it in those initial few months, and after that some mixed reviews and musings meant it was never near the top of our ‘to visit’ list.
Owned by Dylan McGrath, Fade Street Social is a large food and drink space split into different offerings – bar, tapas, restaurant, winter garden. On a recent weekend, having a read through The Taste there was an offer for Fade Street Social – 8 Tapas for 2 people with a bottle of wine – for €60. The Tapas tasting included 4 Tapas dishes per person, plus a bottle of wine (valued at €40). It seemed like a great way for us to try Fade Street so we happily purchased the offer.
When we called to book earlier in the day we visited, the only available seats were at the bar area looking into the kitchen. This suited us perfectly as we would often choose to sit at a bar / counter area in a restaurant so we were happy. A rainy drizzly evening, after a pre dinner drink at Drury Buildings across the road, we arrived into Fade Street. The place was pretty full and atmosphere was nice, busy and buzzy.
The waiter talked us through what our Taste voucher included. They didn’t have the wine they were normally serving with the offer so we were able to select one from their wine list to the same value, choosing a Bordeaux, Chateau Haut Peyruguet. A nice well rounded red, dry and quite tannic. Not sure entirely worth the €40 pricetag though.
We could choose 8 tapas, 4 each, 1 of which could be from the Grill section of the Tapas menu. We decided to share all and chose a variety of different dishes – Fillet of sole topped with crispy shallots, with lentils, smoked bacon and onion lyonnaise; Slow roast half baby chicken with peas, broad beans, onion lyonnaise and peppered bacon; Mini lobster hotdog; Chinese pork belly with Asian spices and crispy peanut brittle; Tuna and tomato ravioli, shallot and tomato fondue with coriander, basil and lemon confit; Whole soft shell crab with miso mayonnaise, lemongrass dipping sauce; Truffle Pasta with Parmesan, Iberico ham and grissini bread sticks. A nice selection of dishes we thought.
The food is where it all started to go wrong. First to arrive the crab which were ok, nothing too special, a little greasy. We nibbled on these while we we waited for the other dishes. The truffle pasta was next to arrive and was definitely one of the better dishes, very moreish and heavy on the truffle. The Lobster hotdog while lovely, contained the most teeniest tiny pieces of lobster, you had to squint to see!
When the sole was placed in front of us I had to ask what it was, it was not easy to identify and I just didn’t expect fillet of sole to be presented like this… Easily one of the most disgusting dishes I’ve ever seen or eaten. There are very few words to describe quite how awful this was – it looked terrible and there was no saving the sole from the bowl of grey gloop…
The chicken was bland and didn’t look entirely appetizing either. The pork was so fatty, practically inedible really between the fat and the peanut brittle.
The tuna and tomato ravioli, and the Iberico ham dishes were nice and we enjoyed both – very fresh dishes, they looked well and tasted good. They were the best of the 8 dishes undoubtedly. Overall, some truly awful plates of food and some ok, but nothing stand out amazing, and I can’t help going back to the sole… just no words.
We were seated at the bar area looking into the kitchen and the chefs at work. Perhaps we were unfortunate in our seating but the chef right in front of us most of the time looked like she would rather have been anywhere else than in that kitchen. I don’t really blame her, she spent most of the time just chopping tomatoes…didn’t help our perception or the ambiance.
What it comes down to though is that it felt like the food didn’t matter here, it was just delivered any old way, there was no care or thought put into any aspect. We really couldn’t wait to get out of there, and as soon as we were finished eating, we paid up and left. Without the voucher, our bill would have come to over €120; as it was even the €60 we paid was too much for what we got.
Fade Street is popular, it was busy, I know lots of people that like it, just not us… I think you can guess we won’t be returning!
Fade Street Social | 4 Fade Street, Dublin 2, Ireland | 01 604 0066 | firstname.lastname@example.org