Note: apologies for the quality of the images – a smudge on my camera’s lens have left them blurry.
Light years ago, well light years in blogging terms, but in reality only last July (still a longish time) I wrote a post on good value eating out in Dublin in which I said that said post was the first in an occasional series but as it’s only now that I am writing a second post it’s obviously going to be a very intermittent series.
The Hot Stove is a newish Dublin restaurant that opened in January 2013. Now strange and unplumbed are the ways in which small pieces of the lava of information that flow incessantly, in this our hyper-tech-charged-social-mediaized world, penetrates our temples (or mine at least): because if I did see something about The Hot Stove in the local media it didn’t register but when I spotted tweets with links to a New York Times article about eating out in Dublin by David Farley which mentioned a number of restaurants the one I zoned in on and most wanted to visit was The Hot Stove.
Buried in the basement of an elegant red-brick Georgian town house The Hot Stove has its entrance through number thirty-eight Parnell Square West, however the basement actually spans two houses so it’s large with two generous sized dining rooms and a substantial bar area. The space is decorated in a restrained and tasteful way mostly in various shades of neutral but the colourful floor tiles add liveliness and particular nice touches are the chunky vintage radiators and the old range which gives The Hot Stove its name. There are snowy white starched table cloths and matching billowy napkins and crumbs are brushed from the table between courses: but, for all that, it’s not a stuffy spot.
Now good value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder: I imagine it is perfectly possible to ratchet up a large bill at The Hot Stove especially in the evening, but I was there for lunch and I choose from a menu which offered two courses for €20 or three for €25. I opted for two courses and given that the food was good I thought that was excellent value on a price to quality scale.
I had a main course of seared hake and braised endive, the hake was cooked to melt in the mouth perfection and was braceleted with a dressing of finely diced potato, chestnut, and blood orange. I don’t have a huge appetite so the dressing and the endive were adequate as accompaniments to the fish but those who do might like to order one of the sides (examples: duck fat fried chips at €4.50, braised red cabbage €3.50 …).
I choose apple crumble served with salt caramel and a cider sorbet for desert, this was good if not absolutely divine – I would have liked the crumble with something more robust than the delicate sorbet, such as vanilla ice-cream, however that’s not a criticism just a personal preference. There’s a decent wine list with a reasonable choice of wines by the glass, I had a Languedoc white – La Closerie des Lys’s vermentino.