There is, I would imagine, a book with unwritten rules for natural wine bars, and which tops the column “food to serve” is “anchovies”. It’s like Gut Oggau, the instantly recognizable cult wine, but for small plates the pantry. Meaning that, yes, this is a place that really takes wine very seriously.
In Note, Dublin 2, butter drips through the golden, soaked cracks in a roasted piece of roundwood sourdough. Instead of being drenched in anchovies, it is bathed in a baked cauda-type mash-up, with pockets of pungent intensity that trigger each olfactory pleasure receptor. For € 4.50, it’s a great start to an evening in this self-described “Bureau, Bar, Bistro”, matched with a glass of Terra de Cuques Blanc 2016 (€ 14), a textured white wine from the Priorat region of Spain.
Note has the confident feeling of a place that has had time to settle since it opened eight months ago. There is now a complete menu to satisfy the third “B” in its description and a simple but lovely terrace where a glass of Ombretta Agricola Pedecastello (13 €) seems to be the perfect glass with bubbles to sip in the sun. The design is low-key, with a long bar and comfortable seating.
It has already reached the international radar and has been added to the Uno Mas, Etto, Fish Shop and Chapter One list, which seems to be going around with British wine writers and restaurant critics, four of whom have already gone through the doors. The fact that Katie Seward, GM and sommelier here, worked in Brawn, London for two years, as well as Forest Avenue, and more recently Neighborhood Wine, undoubtedly has some significance.
The menu takes on that wonderfully informal structure of snacks, small and large plates and a couple of desserts, which seems to be how we all feel about eating today. A stone bass ceviche (€ 13), a fish that has nothing to do with sea bass and is usually farmed, proves to be well suited for the sour lime and jalapeno marinade that surrounds it, with precisely segmented pieces of orange that give a fruity note .
The belly of bluefin tuna (€ 18), which hides under a beautiful construction of red chicory leaves and finely sliced avocado, is less of a match for the powerful kick of anchoa chili in salsa macha. The Mexican influence comes as no surprise as Essa Fakhry, the chef and one of the co-owners, worked in 777 for many years. A more robust fish such as mackerel might work better.
Dazzling wine list
The crab (22 €) is deliciously simple, served from the shell with a dash of warm hollandaise on top and two pieces of roasted sourdough on the side. And similar restraint is shown in gnocchi al tartufo (24 €), which is powdered with microplaned parmesan and a little nutty summer truffle. The light gnocchi are twice as big as I would have expected them to be, smaller would be better, but the remarkable absence of the synthetic taste of truffle oil is commendable.
We share a dessert of rice porridge with Wexford strawberries (9 €), which is not quite on a par with the previous dishes. The pile of chilled rice, tiled with slices of strawberries, enclosing a strawberry sorbet is just a little boring, perhaps showing the effort of running a kitchen without a full set of chefs. The staff shortage crisis is real, so at the moment there are only two chefs, and that must be taken into account.
I’m a little in conflict with Note. It is a really relaxing room, the wine list is dazzling and the food is tasty. It’s my kind of place, the kind of wine bar you’ll find in London, Paris or Copenhagen. But the prices are punchy.
While the options on glass allow you to explore the wine list more deeply, it is worth noting that 125 ml pours equals one-sixth of a bottle and there is some inconsistency. 78 € for six glasses Ombretta Agricola Pedecastello is in violation of a bottle price of 51 €. While the George Remy champagne for 17 € per glass is enough and is surprisingly close to the retail trade for 99 €.
You can of course drop in for a single glass of wine and one or two plates, it is a wine bar to the core. Just make sure to take a moment to get the numbers together before you order.
Dinner for two with four glasses of wine was € 141.50.
DOMEN 8/10 Good food, a dazzling wine list and confusing prices
Facilities Smart with lots of toiletries
music optimistic and discreet
The origin of the food Vegetables from Artizan and Caterway, Wright’s seafood, McLoughlin’s meat, La Rousse charcuterie
Vegetarian options Dishes such as tomato, cucumber and lollipop, along with gnocchi al tartufo. Dishes can be adapted for vegan diets
Wheelchair accessible Accessible, with accessible toilet
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