As you should know by now, my mother is from Dublin and all my relatives live in Ireland, thus I happen to go quite often and every time I am ever more impressed by the quality of the food. Lots of people think that one goes to Ireland for the landscapes (yes, absolutely true!), but believe me that the food scene has improved so much that Vito and I end up spending all our money in farmers markets, cosy eateries and restaurants! This time, finally, we managed to meet with a dear friend of ours, Enrico Fantasia, a native Venetian who has been trading high quality wine for years and now has a super cool Venetian wine bar in Dublin city: Piglet.
Located in Cow's Lane, only a few minutes walk from the famous Christ Church, this fancy two-storey wine bar has both indoor and outdoor seating. Although I have Irish origins, I suffer the cold and preferred sitting upstairs. Gràinne, a member of the staff, was so kind and helpful that she made us feel immediately at ease. Once arrived in the upstairs room, the first thing we noticed were the marvellous watercolours by Venetian painter and connoisseur of the lagoon Luigi Divari (remember, I had already mentioned him in my post about Adriatico Mar), who -by the way- is his uncle (and father of a brilliant girl who was at university with me and now works for an art gallery in London). Anyway, at Piglet, the furniture and design are clean, modern and very elegant, apparently simple but with all the small details well worked out.
The wine list had an incredibly rich offer and both Vito and I drank really well. He chose a glass of organic Spanish Tempranillo, while I asked the girl to choose for me and…I was brought a blend of Montepulciano and San Giovese from Marche (Il Casolare, Fattoria San Lorenzo), one of the best wines I’ve had lately! Great start! At that point, we were ready to study the menu. We went for lunch and I found that the a la carte menu offered great value for money (14,50 euros for 2 courses or 19,50 for 3). Like in Venice, a short menu with only the freshest of ingredients, perfetto!
All Vito wanted was dairy, so he started with a mozzarella served with black cabbage, anchovies and a sort of cabbage pesto that was quite notable. Simple, delicious and well presented; I had a salad with cannellini beans, confìt tomatoes and grilled octopus. My starter was mouth-watering, the octopus was tender but not overcooked and the beans and tomatoes were so tasty that I made them yesterday evening for supper.
For our mains, Vito had scialatielli (a thick type of pasta typical from Naples) cacio e pepe and, considering that as soon as they arrived he took off his glasses, lowered the head and stopped talking to me…I could tell they were delicious. Eating out with Vito is always like this, one would think that a man would entertain his gorgeous young wife (that is me, of course!), but Vito no: food first. I appreciated the plating too, with the contrast between the black dish and the white sauce of the pasta, really inviting.
I continued with fish and ordered an exquisite stone-bass fillet with fennels, cherry tomatoes and orange. It was superb! Stone-bass really is one of the most delicious fish, meaty and flavoursome, I even ate the grilled skin, and the veggies were perfect. What I love about fish is that you can eat a lot without feeling heavy and this was exactly the case. The portions were perfect, not too big and not too small, just right. Plus, my wine... wow! It was making everything seem even more wonderful (Vito's wine was good, but my one was better and he was a bit jealous...).
We had all the time in the world and weren't in any hurry, so we decided to share a little bit of cheese and, although at Piglet they have cheese from all over the world, we wanted an Irish blue and asked for a small piece of Cashel blue. Well, as you can see from the photo, the portion wasn't exactly small, it was actually quite generous...but we managed to eat everything. Another glass of wine was a must at that point, just to wash down the fatty flavour of this special blue.
Cashel blue is one of my mum's favourites, in fact it is really good. I have to say that Irish dairy products, in general, are super tasty so if you visit Ireland...try Irish cheese (an excellent shop is Sheridans Cheesemongers and I also love Fallon and Byrne, a food wonderland where -by the way- the Casolare wine is sold at only 17,00 euros !!!).
As you can imagine, Vito would have liked a whiskey, but we learned that in Ireland the types of licences are different from Italy so if you have a wine bar you cannot sell spirits. Gràinne suggested us to go to The Dingle Whiskey Bar or The Porter House near by and when we were about to leave we met some wine producers from South Africa and couldn't help noticing that they were eating the same things we had had. The proof that good taste has no boundaries!
So, if you happen to visit Dublin, I strongly recommend to stop at Piglet for a nice glass of wine and gourmet meal, wherever in the world you are from! And ... Slàinte!
Address: Cow's Ln, Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland
Phone: +353 1 707 9786
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