The best outdoor lights to make the most of summer evenings (no electrician needed)
The best outdoor lights to make the most of summer evenings (no electrician needed)

Megan Burns

Follow these chefs’ hacks and make pizza outdoors in your barbecue or a DIY wood-fire oven
Follow these chefs’ hacks and make pizza outdoors in your barbecue or a DIY wood-fire...

Amanda Kavanagh

Why we should all be swimming in the Irish seas this summer
Why we should all be swimming in the Irish seas this summer

Freya Drohan

Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s family ask for their interviews be removed from new Sky TV documentary
Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s family ask for their interviews be removed from new Sky TV...

Sarah Finnan

Win a La Roche-Posay sun safety hamper, full of SPF skincare
Win a La Roche-Posay sun safety hamper, full of SPF skincare

IMAGE

The ‘Love Island’ 2021 cast has been revealed
The ‘Love Island’ 2021 cast has been revealed

Sarah Finnan

15 underrated Netflix gems that will distract you from the news
15 underrated Netflix gems that will distract you from the news

Jennifer McShane

This home on Palmerstown Road, Rathmines is on the market for €2.15 million
This home on Palmerstown Road, Rathmines is on the market for €2.15 million

Megan Burns

Chunky wedges, midi dresses and light summer cardigans – What to wear to an Irish garden wedding
Chunky wedges, midi dresses and light summer cardigans – What to wear to an Irish...

Sarah Finnan

Lynn Enright: Who will I be then, if I am not the one cackling in the corner of the pub late into the night?
Lynn Enright: Who will I be then, if I am not the one cackling in...

Lynn Enright

Image / Editorial
Sponsored

I flaked on dry January and meat-free January to dine in this south Dublin restaurant

Sponsored By

by Eva Hall
26th Jan 2020
Sponsored By
blank

I was doing so well too… A sip of wine hadn’t passed my lips since December 31, and apart from that one breakfast I had in the first week of January where I genuinely completely forgot I was attempting a meat-free diet and gobbled three bits of streaky bacon before you could say ‘vegetarian’, I was completely on track. Until I was invited to dine in authentic Sichuan Chinese restaurant Old Post Office… 


“If you like meat, I’d recommend the lamb rack,” said general manager Paul Malone when my dining partner queried the size of the lamb shank from the Chef’s Special Menu. Little did Paul know, we were three weeks into meatless January, and were both foaming at the mouth at just the thought of a rack of lamb sizzling in front of us.

“Sold,” said the man, who ordered a side of fried rice and a starter of crab meat and sweetcorn soup.

I opted for wontons in a hot and spicy sauce, and Hereford beef with hot bean sauce and red green chilli with a side of veg for mains.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Beef Hot bean sauce with broccoli ? Fillet of Hereford beef, Sichuan red chili pickle, Spring onion, and topped coriander.

A post shared by Chef Yu (@chefshuchengyu) on

We were comfortably sat at a window table with sprawling views over Dublin Bay just before nightfall. The interiors of Old Post Office, on Main Street in Blackrock, have undergone an impressive refurbishment that reportedly cost over €1m. The plush chairs, wide tables and authentic Chinese decor are south Dublin fine dining at its, well, finest.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Open every evening from 5.30pm. You too can enjoy these stunning views

A post shared by Old Post Office Blackrock (@oldpostofficeblackrock) on

The impressive space caters for couples who want a cosy atmosphere, and for larger groups who want to enjoy a Tasting Menu of authentic Sichuan cuisine. You’ll find a varied menu that stays true to its heritage, with distinctive spices and plenty of flavour to tantalise even the most seasoned palate.

The copper bar, also designed by The DJI Group, set against marble walls and pastel surroundings, is welcoming, as is the plush reception area designed in muted duck egg blues, aqua greens and whites.

From the outside, the building maintained the facet of the old post office it once was. Impressive columns and large-scale windows and doors loom over the tiny village street – you can’t help but do a double take when you walk past.

We weren’t long dreaming of our reunion with succulent meat when Paul presented us with an amuse-bouche of a tasty prawn ball, that we washed down with our house red Sicilian wine – more on that later.

As if we were his only customers – we definitely weren’t – Paul served our starters in record time, attentively but not over-complicatedly checking if everything was to taste.

The wontons were indeed hot and spicy as promised, and plentiful, unlike most fine dining restaurants where you’re left searching for the wontons only to be disappointed they only served you two.

The crabmeat and sweetcorn soup did what it said on the tin, and was again a generous portion size.

The long lusted-after beef was cooked to perfection – melt-in-your-mouth – and the veg was crunchy and delicious mixed with the hot bean sauce. There was enough to eat and bring home in a doggy bag if you hadn’t been on a meat ban the last three weeks as I was. I ate my plate clean.

The lamb rack was huge, and had enough chilli on the side that I think he may have gotten some of mine. The words “falls off the bone” were muttered between chewing.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Chinese style lamb rack in spicy house sauce – must try dish from our menu 🙂 @oldpostofficeblackrock

A post shared by Old Post Office Blackrock (@oldpostofficeblackrock) on

We did struggle when it came to dessert – not just because we were stuffed. Head Chef Yu Shucheng, who was recruited directly from the Sichuan region to ensure Old Post Office’s authenticity, has curated a dessert menu that has stayed true to traditional Chinese heritage. Even Paul admitted we were “brave” when we ordered the sweetened rice dumpling in rice wine (the other options were pumpkin cakes, sweet potato cakes, and Mooli cake, which Paul explained was similar to turnip). Paul also offered us an almond caramel tart which was the more agreeable choice.

There is an extensive wine and cocktail menu on offer, but we ordered the house wine. We were influenced by Russell Norman, founder of the Polpo restaurant chain in London, who wrote in Oldie magazine the week before “We instinctively don’t want to appear cheap, so we often skip the house wine and opt for the second cheapest. The margins on this wine will be particularly good for the restaurant but not so great for you in terms of value. It makes much more sense to go further up the list and choose a wine above £35 … The margins will be smaller and the wine will be much better in quality and value. Or, stick to the house wine – always very carefully sourced by the restaurateur or sommelier.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

#finedinning #finedininglovers #cocktails #blackrock

A post shared by Old Post Office Blackrock (@oldpostofficeblackrock) on

We were poured a Nero d’Avola from the Mandato range. Packed with wildberries and red fruits like cherries and plums, it paired perfectly with our mains and saw us right through to nightfall until we couldn’t see the Bay anymore… I swear that was nightfall.

All in all, a very enjoyable meal that was €87.40 without the wine, and was well worth breaking dry January and meat-free January for. We’ll be back to try the Tasting Menu at €65 each, the lobster has our name on it…

To make a reservation, visit oldpostofficeblackrock.ie, or call 01 555 9991. Follow on Instagram @oldpostofficeblackrock.

Also Read

blank
EDITORIAL
The unexpected benefit lockdown is having on our children

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
Book gift ideas for every kind of reader

Anyone who said books and socks make for boring gifts...

By Amanda Kavanagh

blank
EDITORIAL
Emerging after the pandemic: ‘There’s an awkwardness to my interactions, like I’ve forgotten how to socialise’

In just a few months, human contact became one of...

By Amanda Cassidy

abgc_architects_aoife_herrity
EDITORIAL
A plain extension in Dublin 8 provides a blank canvas for a design-minded couple

ABGC Architects were enlisted to transform a large white box...

By Amanda Kavanagh

Keith-_-Tara_130_Web Shantanu Starick painting kitchen cabinets
EDITORIAL
How to limit drips and brush strokes while painting kitchen cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets can be transformative and can be achieved relatively low-cost,...

By Amanda Kavanagh

blank
EDITORIAL
Chrissy Teigen’s past trolling tweets highlight the slut-shaming culture we tolerated

Chrissy Teigen is the queen of oversharing. Usually it’s in...

By Amanda Cassidy

Women with MS who take medication, especially immunosuppressants, cannot become pregnant unless they come off medication.
premium HEALTH & WELLNESS, REAL-LIFE STORIES
I had to weigh up the possibility of losing my mind against losing my future children

Holograms of the children she may never have dance across Dearbhla Crosses' mind as an MS diagnosis and Covid-19 are unwelcome reminders of her biological clock ticking.

By Dearbhla Crosse