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Locks Restaurant, Dublin


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... and now with Locks open (brilliant btw), everyone's going to be hot footing it there.

Hmmm, six of us had dinner in Lock's a couple of weeks ago. I got to sample a fair chunk of the menu and it fell a fair way short of brilliant.

Lovely room of course and very friendly (if slightly amateurish) service. The food was disappointingly one note, however, and the cooking lacked precision. The starters were generally good (the black pudding and apple tart and the baked sheeps cheese especially) though the greasy langoustine with pigeon biscuit seemed illconceived. Mains were a step down, huge (Oirish) portions and every mouthful the same as the last, lots of reduced meat jus. Dessert didn't redeem matters. Certainly an improvement on the old Locks but I was expecting much better...

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Ian, I'm interested to hear a bit more about what you had.

I really liked the langoustine and biscuit dish (although I see Tom Doorley in his review a few weeks back was unsure about it too). Paolo Tullio gave the place a huge thumbs up in Saturday's Indo, although he went for lunch (which struck me as being more similar to L'Gueuleton than the dinner menu).

I agree on the service and yes the portions for the main course are huge, but I wouldn't say one note.

In terms of price/quality ratio, I think they're bang on the money.

Were you sitting upstairs or downstairs?

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I've always been a huge fan of Troy Maguire's cooking at l'Gueleton and I went along to Locks a couple of weeks ago with eagar anticipation.

I really like the bright and airy room and found the service to be very efficient and friendly. I was a tad disappointed with the food however. A confit chicken and foie gras terrine lacked umph and my mullard duck for main course was just the wrong side of medium. My companion had a couple of old l'Gueleton favourites - the black pudding tarte tatin and the pork belly. The comment was that both portions were too big and indeed much of both dishes went uneaten. I tasted both dishes and found the tatin to be too heavy but the pork had very good flavour.

The classic reduced sauce featured in all but one of the dishes we ate and I can see how this could be a problem for some people-not for me however!

It's very early days for Locks and Troy is a very talented chef so I will definitely be back and I've no doubt that the restaurant will go from strength to strength.

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Ian, I'm interested to hear a bit more about what you had.

I really liked the langoustine and biscuit dish (although I see Tom Doorley in his review a few weeks back was unsure about it too). Paolo Tullio gave the place a huge thumbs up in Saturday's Indo, although he went for lunch (which struck me as being more similar to L'Gueuleton than the dinner menu).

I agree on the service and yes the portions for the main course are huge, but I wouldn't say one note.

In terms of price/quality ratio, I think they're bang on the money.

Were you sitting upstairs or downstairs?

Not that much more to add. I thought the Guinness bread was really exceptional (and they use Echire butter). The only other starter I tried was the mackerel and smoked eel which I liked but felt the eel could have been more substantial. Starters were good overall (pigeon and langoustine dish apart).

Mains included the turbot with chicken jus (first bite excellent but became very heavy and dull), the sea bass (at least I think it was sea bass, memory failing me, the least successful of the night, flabby) the lamb (not good, very bland, I didn't like the orange gremolata) and the duck (I didn't get to taste this but my friend proclaimed it delicious, so good that she waited until it was all eaten before informing the rest of us...).

Desserts were a bowl of ice cream and the apple dish (which was disjointed, just didn't seem to come together).

It seemed expensive to me but I am a bit out of the Dublin dining scene. London is not blessed with great mid range dining but a visit to Arbutus the week after Locks did not reflect well on the latter. Much less expensive and (although there were flaws and Lock's service and room are far better) the food at Arbutus is on a completely different level.

Edited by IanT (log)
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Was back in Dublin last week and was lucky to be able to fit in lunch at Mint and dinner at Locks, both were very good and was happy to see Dublin supporting two good restaurants with young chefs doing there own but different things.

Mint was very good,the lunch deal of 3 courses for €36 is a good deal in my opinion,the fact that the room was empty probably has everything to do with its out of centre location because it was the best lunch I have had in Dublin in terms of food execution and combinations of taste and texture.

I had the Veal Shin with Ravioli of Veal and a Langoustine Boudin to start, a very busy plate with 8-9 different things on the plate,which posting the week after I cannot fully recall but it did work and felt the combinations complimentary.

The lamb with cauliflower puree, coco beans,onion and a dried ham , a lot going on but the flavours did work and there was a reason for them being on the plate and the skill level involved in bringing it all together quite admirable.

The poached Apricot with pistachio anglaise was a winner,the sauce being poured at the table to add a bit of drama and hard to fault,the apricot nicely poached with some apricot puree complimenting the richer pistachio anglaise and mousse.

All in all areally good lunch which left me wanting to come back again for dinner, had a quite professionalism about the staff and were most accomadating to a slightly scruffy unreserved guest. All I can say is hop on the luas its 5 mins from the centre of Dublin.

Next stop Locks,a very different restaurant and cuisine,having worked for Troy I must declare some previous but was happy to see him in the relatively relaxed enviroment(compared to the madness of gueleton),the room is bright and welcoming and I really like that part of the city.

Arrived with the folks around 8 and sat with a glass of cremant while looking at the menu,definet memories of gueleton but with a bit more luxury and naturally more expensive.

I went for the snails, my mother the Mackerel and the father had the terrine, all were good and the terrine stood out, my snails came with a rich smoky sauce pieces of bacon(possibly ventreche)onions and mushrooms exactly what I expected and none the worse for it some petit salad leaves of set the richness quite nicely. The Mackerel salad lacked some oomph but my mother enjoyed,Did not get to taste the terrine of chicken and foie as my father had demolished without an offer of a taste but assured me it was excellent. A complimentary salad of baked sheeps cheese with jamon and truffle honey was the stand out dish of the night.

The selection of mains is again a step up form Gueleton, with halibut and lambs rack both on offer which shows the kitchen has the time and space for some more finesse and precision. But having been away for a while it was hard to resist the rib eye withe bernaise and homemade frites and it did not let me down. The father had the lamb and again was most impressed and it seemed a good balanced dish with the braised potatoes with bacon delicious. My Mother had the best steak she has ever eaten,all helped with a good languedoc from a producer I cant remember(visiting Dublin does not do much for the brain cells).

The desserts were very early geuleton and the ice creams as good as ever,the blanc manger was dissapointing and the portion sizes and earlier gluttony left me unable to finish the good brownie I had chosen.

The service was good and the restaurant busy with a more mature crowd than gueleton. Speaking to Troy he seems happy and is glad to be able to give the dishes a bit more time,I cant compare it to London restaurants but in terms of mid range dublin places it is very good, I would not compare Mint and Locks as they are on different levels and have a completely different style. The lunch I had at Mint was a stand out in gastronomic terms but its hard to beat going out somewere nice with your Mum and Dad

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we are going with a group of friends on Thursday! Can't wait! I am hoping its not a toned up version of the Gueleton... where standards seem to have slipped recently, friends of mine went on my reccommendation and waited 20m for menus and water, 40m for their wine, and an hour and a half for their food, because the manager forgot to put their order in. Of course they were comped everything, but still....

I think Lockes is going to be great!

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I cant compare it to London restaurants but in terms of mid range dublin places it is very good, I would not compare Mint and Locks as they are on different levels and have a completely different style. The lunch I had at Mint was a stand out in gastronomic terms but its hard to beat going out somewere nice with your Mum and Dad

I agree, it’s a breath of fresh air in Dublin. Prices are similar to Town Bar. And yes, it cannot be compared to Mint, a completely different approach and standard, although they’re chasing the same spend so it potentially impacts on trade for Dylan McGrath.

In terms of comparisons with London, the people we were with had been to Arbutus and Racine only a few weeks earlier and felt it compares well and there are quite a few similarities (the service was dire in Arbutus the night they were there), although an Arbutus style bouillabaisse would be welcome. It’s early days yet, Troy says that they’re trying to get a few of the bills paid off and still have a few things on their shopping list, eg a salamander and waterbath.

Minichef, I look forward to hearing how you get on.

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  • 10 months later...

A recent Sunday lunch at Locks was terrfic. When I arrived the place was empty but filled up after an hour or so. This really is the prettiest restaurant in town and I don't pay enough attention to it.

While waiting on my own I had a bottle of the Trascampanas 2006 Rueda Verdiejo. Green tinge with lovely floral aromas. Lots of lemon and great acidity.

Out of a potenital 9 starters, 3 soups, I went for White bean Soup with rocket and braised oxtail. The oxtail was delicious the soup was too thick and slightly under seasoned perhaps relying on the rocket too much.

Somontano Bodegas Montesierra. Nice dark cherry colour. Violets and blueberrys. Nicely balance oak.

Main for me was the rabbit pie with purple sprouting brocoli. Great pie crust with lovely thick filling of rabbit meat. The rabbit meat was soft and the filling flavoured with a warm gelatinous stock. The brocoli added a gorgeous earthiness to the sweetness of the dish. Lovely.

Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla ice cream. I don't like nuts in brownies but the thick moist mix and crusted top were as appreciated as the gorgeous young wives eating all around me.

I can't wait to come back. The excellent service and nice little bar it's a great addition to Dublin and particularly Portobello.

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I agree. The room downstairs is lovely, particularly the tables by the window, and the atmosphere is so relaxed. It's a very popular spot with chefs on Sundays. Spot anyone?

Not a single person but it was bank holiday Sunday. They have an hors d'oeuvre menu for the "post lunch-pre dinner" has anyone tried it? They are very smart sweating the asset like that. Lovely spot.

Edited by augustine (log)
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Thanks for the report Augustine, I really must go back. My one visit (soon after it opened) was okay, but ruined more by the braying assholes also dining in the room than by the food. In any case, I can definitely see a Sunday lunch there in my future.

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