16 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin D02 KF34
On a recent visit to Dublin (to watch a fantastic production of a play called Sive, directed by Garry Hynes, incidentally) we went to the institution that is Peploe’s. Again, another restaurant that we think slightly mis-labels itself…Mediterranean classics I’m not sure it is (it has some on the menu, but a lot that really isn’t too), but my goodness they know what they are doing here. It was absolutely packed and buzzing on a Thursday evening – it had more of a vibe that anywhere TXG has been in years. It’s clearly a place to be – a candlelit, white table-clothed room that wraps itself around a central bar, so whilst it is probably quite big it doesn’t feel like it. Full of variously sized groups and couples with everyone looking like they belonged (and could hear one another). We started with a good fritto misto and a phenomenal tuna tartare with avocado (so that’s how you should really serve avocado – who knew it could be that tasty?), and followed it with delicious Irish beef steaks, immaculately black and blue (no mean feat), and a truffled mash that made us gaze gratefully upon it whilst it clogged our arteries. Nothing should have tasted that good. We were in and out in just over an hour and a half for 2 courses and coffee, but it felt like perfect timing. Nice wine list too. This place knows exactly what it is doing – the kitchen is confident and, despite the volumes of eaters, you can still see and taste the care taken, and the front of house team remind me of the fantastic European waiters you often find who have been doing it with pride for their whole careers and make it look effortless.