09 Aug Review: Sole Seafood and Grill, Dublin
I received an invitation to try the express lunch menu in Sole Seafood and Grill. It is located on South William Street in Dublin.
I was already familiar with the restaurant. Reviews are in every paper and on every food website in Ireland. I had also walked by it a few times and looked inside and at the menu.
As a food blogger, I often get invitations to restaurants to try new dishes or menus. These meals are complimentary. Although never explicitly stated, most PR people hope that I’ll tweet, Instagram or write about the experience.
A free meal is a nice perk but I do turn a lot of places down. I also very rarely write restaurant reviews because, well, I’m not a restaurant critic. Also, how honest and unbiased can you really be when the meal is free?
However, I had wanted to visit Sole Seafood and Grill for a while now. The critics’ reviews had piqued my curiosity. I am also a fan of executive chef Richie Wilson (he of Fire Restaurant fame) and his style of food.
So, I decided to take up the offer of trying the express lunch menu at Sole Seafood and Grill. I tweeted and Instagramed my dining experience but I wanted to write about it in a bit more detail.
BUT THIS IS NOT AN IN-DEPTH CRITICAL REVIEW
This is just an account of my dining experience in Sole Seafood and Grill.
Sole Seafood and Grill – the decor
The manager warmly greeted us at the door. He offered us the option to start with a drink at the bar. We declined and went straight to our table. The window seats are positioned perfectly for people watching. One of my favourite activities.
The restaurant is beautiful. It’s like an old-time big brasserie that you would find in London or Madrid. It has sophisticated, warm and elegant decor. It is a high-end casual dining.
There is a relaxing vibe. You could easily spend hours here sipping aperitifs at the impressive bar, having long conversations over dinner and nursing digestifs.
The place is huge and I’d say there would be a great buzz here on busy nights. On the Saturday afternoon that I visited there were about five occupied tables and two people sat at the bar. The place was lovely and mellow.
There was one large group with a few children. Well-healed tourists sat at the other tables. They all ordered platters of oysters to start.
Sole Seafood and Grill – the menu
Like I said, we were here just to enjoy the express lunch menu so we didn’t look at anything else. You can enjoy the express lunch menu every Friday and Saturday from 12 pm to 3 pm. The menu had a decent variety of dishes to cater for all lunchtime tastes. There is soup, salads, cold and hot dishes, fish and meat. Surprisingly there is great vegetarian options too. Hurrah!
Dave order the fish and chips, I knew he would, and I ordered the catch of the day.
Our server, Ante chose a delicious glass of Marquis de Goulaine Sancerre Les Lorys to go with my dish. It was a perfect choice.
Sole Seafood and Grill – the food
Whilst waiting, we devoured the board of warm bread and smoked butter. The sourdough was thick and comforting and the treacle brown bread was dense and full of flavour.
We weren’t waiting very long for our dishes, the express part of the menu living up to its name.
Dave’s hefty piece of haddock came wrapped in a very crisp beer batter. There was no soggy bottom in sight. Expertly cooked, it was crisp on the outside, plump and juicy on the inside. The pea puree on the side was vibrant and bright in flavour, with a herbaceous minty kick. The skinny chips were crisp and not greasy. We demolished the bowl. The chips were particularly delicious when dunked in the tangy and chunky homemade tartar sauce.
My seared Dover sole came with beetroot mash, sugar snap peas, shimeji mushrooms and artichoke purée. The waiter had me at artichoke purée, one of my favourite vegetables.
Elegantly presented, the dish wasn’t ‘cheffy’. The fish was the star of the show. The preparation and cooking method let it shine. The fish was firm, plump and deeply satisfying. None of the flavours was overpowering, they all worked well together as did the textures. It was a wonderfully light lunch dish. The potatoes were buttery and creamy, the artichoke puree silken and the peas and mushrooms had a lovely umami quality.
My only gripe was that my mashed potato wasn’t as hot as I would have liked. To be honest though, that was probably because I spent so long taking photos. Oh to have a personal photographer!
We were pleasantly full after our meal but not stuffed in a way that required a postprandial nap, just an espresso.
Sole Seafood and Grill – the service
Throughout the meal, the staff were delightfully attentive but not constantly hovering around you. They were extremely professional and I felt they could read the customers well. The efficient service means you could enjoy the express lunch menu and still get back to the office on time. But the joy of Sole Seafood and Grill is lingering and enjoying the food, drinks, ambience and surroundings.
Sole Seafood and Grill – the value
You can add a glass of French Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé or Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon to your lunch for €7.50.
Dave’s fish and chips cost €15.50. This is exactly what we paid in another, less fancy place around the corner. The moules frites on the express lunch menu is also €15.50. This is slightly cheaper than some places in the same vicinity. I mention this is because people have been saying that the prices are expensive. Yes, some of the prices are expensive but not all of them. The majority of the prices on the express lunch menu are on par with the area. However, the service and atmosphere here are a lot better than many places in vicinity.
Sole Seafood and Grill – overall
The express lunch menu in Sole Seafood and Grill is a great option for those looking to add a little more luxury to their seafood. But it is not all seafood as the menu has something to pleasure most palates – even vegetarians.
If you are in a rush, the menu and service are indeed express, within reason. Those with more time, your reward will be a lovely leisurely lunch with a touch of class and lux. Choose right, and the menu won’t brake the bank either.
Do you have a Sole Seafood and Grill review? Let me know and I’ll link to it from this blog.
Have you been to Sole Seafood and Grill and did you love your meal as much as I did? Let me know in the comments below. I love hearing from you.
If you liked this Sole Seafood and Grill review you might also like my review of the Finn Lough Bubble Domes in Northern Ireland.
Here’s another seafood restaurant in Dublin, Wrights Findlater Howth review.
Here’s another Dublin restaurant, with a twist – Number Twenty Two Dublin review.
Additionally, you might enjoy reading my review of the Pullman Restaurant in the Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Galway, Ireland.
Another blog you might like is my review of the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel in Galway, Ireland.
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