This blog has existed for more than a year, yet we’ve never reviewed a single restaurant. How shocking is that!? I’ve taken it upon myself to reverse this trend, and can think of no better Dublin restaurant to begin with than The Winding Stair.
Firstly, I’ve always loved The Winding Stair as a bookshop. Living in west Dublin, I tend to get off the bus on Bachelors Walk so the bookshop is nearby and in the pissings of rain is very inviting. Right at the northern base of the Ha’penny Bridge, I’ve picked up a few classics in this bookshop in my time. More often than not, I drop in to hide from the rain and try look eager to purchase, despite empty pockets. I don’t think they mind.
I remember the panic in 2005 when The Winding Stair looked royally fucked. Thankfully for everyone, the Thomas Read group stepped in and the building was saved. The hype surrounding The Winding Stair as a restaurant since 2006 has been incredible, and it took me four years to try it for myself.
To mark a family birthday of note, we decided upon this spot. The printed reviews had been friendly, and Google much the same. Needless to say, you’ve got to book. The small room overlooking the River Liffey is packed to capacity, yet nobody is rushed out the doors again. This has ruined so many meals in Dublin for me before. The sound of laughter and chat fills the room.
The menu is Irish and Irish only. The Kerry prawns on toast to begin with are something else, and unlike any I’ve tasted before. As we’re eating I comment the only downpoint is that we’ve not got a window view, as the restaurant looks right over the Ha’penny Bridge and the flowing Liffey. It’s a small complaint to have.
We don’t eat out a lot in my family which is a shame. I can’t blame this entirely on Brian Lenihan and/or the IMF, as this tradition of marking birthdays by eating somewhere nice is a long one. We normally settle on one of a few places, for example you could chuck a rock at The Angler’s Rest from the rest side of Palmerstown, so it normally does well around this time of year. Before the main courses even arrive, it’s clear people have fallen for The Winding Stair.
The lamb follows on from the prawns and it delivers. The restaurant is noisy, but this is no complaint. Conversations are flowing, and you overhear some great stuff. Montrose this and Merrion Square that types. You’d be tempted to lick the actual plate if it wasn’t for the fact it would make you look like a weirdo around this lot (or eh…any lot), and a glance at the table reveals nobody has left anything to show there was ever actually food on the plates.
We wrapped up with the chocolate pudding, which again vanishes without trace. On one of the coldest nights I can recall in Dublin, popping up here was a great call. We might only pop out for birthdays, but three of us were born within a month of each other. They’ll be glad to see us again in here.
Three courses was just under €30, not exactly a weekly venture but a very nice treat.