What: The second restaurant located away from these shores by steakhouse group Hawksmoor and the group’s 12th restaurant, it is located in the former National Irish Bank on College Green.
Who: Well-known founders Will Beckett and Huw Gott launched Hawksmoor in London’s Spitalfields back in 2006 and the brand has grown steadily ever since. Other key personnel include COO Tim Besley-Gould who was effectively employee number two at the first Hawksmoor in 2006, where he joined as an assistant GM, and group general manager Tom Foxwell, who joined as assistant manager in 2011.
The food: As with the rest of the group’s restaurants there’s an obvious strong focus on meat and fish, but a desire to use local ingredients means that the Dublin menu is distinct from others in the group. Dishes include Dublin Bay monkfish that are landed nearby by small dayboats fishing for Dublin Bay prawns as by-catch and oysters from three small bays on the Flaggy Shore - named for the local limestone, which often became flagstone floors - as well as Kelly natives; Duncannon smoked salmon with Guinness bread; and Dublin lawyer - whole lobster baked with Micil Inverin whiskey, leeks, cream and Cáis na Tíre cheese. Its selection of steaks and sides is as generous as ever, as is its dessert offer which includes an Irish coffee tiramisu made with Micil Inverin whiskey and Irish cream mascarpone.
To drink: The wine list makes reference to ‘The Irish Wine Geese of Bordeaux, a term used to describe Irish emigrants and exiles who established vineyards overseas, particularly in France as well as their more recent counterparts in places from ‘Australia to Argentina, Slovenia to Sicily, New Zealand to Napa’. Bottles start at around £35 and climb steadily to £300 but there’s plenty in the £40 to £65 bracket. As with its other sites, the restaurant runs a Monday wine club where it charges just £5 corkage on BYO wines.
The vibe: Hawksmoor doesn’t do bland, generic buildings and their Dublin venue is no exception. The large National Irish Bank location, which was designed by William Barnes in 1845, has a vast 40ft cast iron dome and a white and green patterned ceiling with ornate green-painted columns that are matched by large green leather banquettes. Blackboards listing the weight of available steaks surround the grand room while a number of smaller rooms are named after cattle from Dexter and Kerry cow herd books dating back more than a century, including a PDR named None the Wiser.
And another thing: The building once housed the first Catholic bank in Ireland, which was help founded by Daniel O’Connell, known as The Liberator for freeing the Catholic people from the Penal Laws. More recently it was home to a branch of US clothing company Abercrombie & Fitch.
34 College Green, Dublin 2, D02 C850, Ireland