I can’t understand why Ivans Oyster Bar and Grill makes it into The Dubliner – 100 Best Restaurants. Maybe I need to be big into Oysters, which I most definitely am not, but oysters are not the only things they serve here. There is quite a comprehensive menu on offer which can be viewed at their (rather user unfriendly) website. Ivans serves mostly fish and offers only a few concessions to the carnivore. I love fish and it was for fish that I had come. We had a reservation for lunch for two, at two and arrived at two minutes after two. The waitress brought us to a nice table at the window and settled us in with menus.
The table was a marble slab framed in stainless steel and it made me think of a mortuary. Underfoot was a cement floor. The chairs were bistro style, comfortable but with no substance to them and the table was half set. There was one rolled serviette containing a fish knife and fork. There was one side plate, one water glass and two wine glasses. The place wasn’t terribly busy so it was surprising that the table wasn’t laid out properly for us. The waitress brought us some iced water, a second water glass and a colander of bread. She noticed I had no serviette and brought one to me. She didn’t notice the absence of a side plate and I had to ask for one. While she was gone to get it I unrolled my serviette to discover my fish knife was stained. Things were not looking good.
For starters I ordered Steamed Palourde Clams served with Spanish ham, garlic, sherry, butter and herbs and himself ordered fish cakes. The clams were nice but I’ve had much better ones when on holidays in Portugal. The ham was extremely salty and I spent the evening with my mouth under the kitchen tap in an effort to quench my thirst. I tasted the fish cakes and there was too much lemon in them which deadened any fish flavour. They were breaded and appeared to be deep fried. For my main course I ordered a ‘seafood array’ and Mr W ordered halibut with baby potatoes and green beans. We also ordered a carafe of Albarini.
The main courses arrived. My dish was to include Dublin Bay prawns, Howth crab, ceviche of scallops, gambas, hot smoked organic salmon, herb mayo, micro green salad and grilled sourdough (aka toast). The toast was a micron thicker that melba toast and was of no damn use at all. The Howth crab demanded to be spread onto toast and two skimpy slices was not enough. The ceviche of scallops was very tasty. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to distinguish the gambas from the Dublin Bay prawns as the server didn’t inform me. But I think the gambas were the ones on the right hand side of the plate and they were the tastier. The hot smoked salmon was cold and I must assume that it was previously smoked in ‘hot smoke’. The herb mayo was delicious. I didn’t taste the green salad as it was not visually appealing to me. It looked more like cucumber and overcooked celery soaked in water.
The halibut was tasty. Himself chose to have it pan fried with a lemon herb beurre blanc.
We were too full to have dessert so we ordered coffees. I had an americano and Mr W had a double espresso. He said it was one of the best espressos he’d ever had and was particularly happy that it was served very hot.
The bill came to €108.00 before service. A tad pricey in my opinion. If you are spending this kind of money on a fish lunch you’d be better off going south side to Cavistons.