Despite the occasional culinary hiccup, our resident food critic Elaine Lavery gives the thumbs up to Seapoint Restaurant
In Dublin, we have the best restaurants of the country on our doorstep, but many of the real treasures of the city are to be found on the city’s outskirts. Last Thursday evening, I went to Seapoint Restaurant in Monkstown to investigate whether I had discovered yet another of these gems.
At Seapoint, the house menu offers two courses for €24.50, or three for €29.50, which is a very fair price for a restaurant of this calibre. Sucked in by the value of the house menu, a glance at its posher cousin, the à la carte, and all sense of making good economic decisions went out the window. Ultimately, both menus are exciting and descriptive.
My fellow diner stuck to the two-course value menu, choosing the salad of smoked chicken and tabouli for starter, and the grilled marinated salmon, mango and grapefruit salsa, olive oil and spring onion mash for the main. I went straight to the main, opting for the pan-fried coconut encrusted monkfish, butternut squash risotto, sweet onion & chilli sauce (€22.50). Tap water times two and a free basket of bread were promptly delivered.
The salad was devoured graciously – a good-sized portion for which the smoky flavour of the meat defined the dish. The bulgar wheat salad, which was full of good things, was not just the usual afterthought you get from so-called starter salads.
Having been wooed by the description of the monkfish dish, the plate arrived and certainly looked the part. The risotto cooked in a rich fish broth, coupled with lots of cream, was to die for. The sweet onions were sticky and delicious. The fish was beautifully cooked, but the coconut crust was more crust than coconut. Unfortunately, the salmon dish did not work out so well.
The fish was described as watery, and while the mango worked with the cooked salmon, the grapefruit did not. Grapefruit and smoked salmon is a familiar partnership, but this was one inspiration too far.
For dessert I went for the rhubarb tartlet served with strawberry and balsamic ice cream (€8.50 – yes I am insane). Strawberry balsamic ice-cream à la Seapoint amounted to plain old vanilla ice cream, plus a whole load of poetic licence. The rhubarb tartlet didn’t impress much itself. Instead of a shortcrust pastry base, the kitchen had cut a corner by using puff pastry, which just went soggy.
Service was so-so, which is regretfully too often the case when you are young and not deemed a valuable customer. However, a good standard for recommendation is to ask someone would they return. And the answer here is a definite yes. So destitute students, save up one night’s allowance of drinking money, take a trip on the 46a, and discover Monkstown in all its culinary glory.
Seapoint Restaurant, 4 The Crescent, Monkstown, Co. Dublin, 01-6638 480.