I like spending bank holidays in Dublin as the city is generally less crowded. However, it can be difficult to predict whether restaurants will be open or not. So on Sunday evening we headed hungrily to Ranelagh without having made any reservations. We saw that Ochos Tapas restaurant was open and, knowing that it was in The Dubliner – 100 Best Restaurants, we decided to check it out. We weren’t disappointed.
We were shown immediately to a table and served with a bottle of tap water and a ‘side serving’ of ice. This made an excellent first impression. The menus were handed to us and we were referred to the blackboard which had a list of the extra dishes on offer. We spent a while studying it and, after consulting with the waiter, we settled on four dishes to share. We chose Calameres ‘Ochos’ and Patatas Bravas from the menu and, from the board, we opted for charbroiled pork-belly with pickled cucumber and coriander and pan-fried chicken livers with smoked paprika, almonds and sherry sauce. After the waiter took our order he brought us a basket of bread and some oil for dipping.
Our calameres with aioli arrived quite promptly and we nibbled them daintily. The batter wasn’t too heavy but not nearly as light as a tempura. The squid was springy, not rubbery. Our small table was quite packed with our dining plates, bread basket, bottles and the dish of squid. I noticed our waiter arriving with the remainder of the dishes and I don’t know how we managed to rearrange everything to fit the remaining dishes in… but, as a result of some frantic reorganising, we did!
The meat dishes were spectacular. The chicken livers were absolutely superb and I would go back solely for those. The pork belly was thinly sliced – perhaps a couple of microns thick – and was deliciously paired with the pickled cucumber. Our bowl of patatas bravas was enormous. The potatoes were beautifully cooked. They were crisp, brown and there wasn’t a single bad one. They came with Ochos own sauce, which was piquant, and aioli. Everything we had was wonderful and four tapas dishes was plenty for two people. We even had space for dessert.
Because we were sitting right next to the dessert menu board all evening we were tempted but we asked for a break before giving our order. We had a good look around the place at this point. We saw the artwork and we particularly liked the ‘two old men’ picture. We noticed that the chairs were old and scribbled on. In fact I’d swear they were school chairs in a former life. We also noticed that there was a heap of chair cushions on a rack near the toilets. These should really have been on the chairs so that patrons would be a bit more comfy!
I settled on a vanilla bean ice cream with a shot of espresso for my dessert and Mr W went for the rice pudding dish. I poured my espresso over my ice cream creating an Italian Affogato. It was amazing. I didn’t taste the rice pudding but it looked good. It was firm too.
We ordered coffees. I asked for an americano and the one I got was huge. It was much too big for my liking but, despite it’s size, it tasted really good. Himself had an espresso and loved it.
The bill came to €67.50 including a €25.00 bottle of wine. I thought this was excellent value and I will definitely return.