On foot of a recommendation we decided to try the Pig’s Ear on Nassau Street in Dublin. The restaurant was awarded the prestigious Michelin Bib Gormand in 2011 so I was expecting great things.
The restaurant is spread over two levels and we were brought to a table on the second floor (third floor if you are American!). This dining room was much larger than the one on the first level. The floors were dark timber as were the tables and chairs. The room looked fine and had adequate space between the tables but, as it filled up, it became incredibly loud. This wasn’t helped by the fact that there were two noisy groups in the room.
We were given menus and offered water. The menu was very interesting and it took me a while to decide what to have. I settled on the crab mayonnaise (I noted, with amusement, the menu description of ‘handpicked Castletownbere crabs’- as if the chef had popped down to west Cork and plucked a few crabs out of the sea!). For my main course I ordered salmon which, for me, is an unusual choice. But having recently had fabulous salmon in an ordinary hotel Ballina Co Mayo I was prepared to give it a go in a “rated” restaurant. Mr W ordered some terrine and the milk fed lamb shepherd’s pie. I left the wine ordering to himself and he thought the prices were a bit high.
A small canvas bag of bread arrived at the table and a bottle of chilled tap water. We had difficulty removing the bread from the bag and the result was that the brown bread broke into pieces. The starters arrived seconds after the bread only these starters were not what we had ordered. This caused a great kafuffle amongst the staff resulting in our orders being reconfirmed by the waiter. This did not augur well.
The correct starters showed up eventually and I was not impressed by the meagre portion of crab that I was served which was priced at over €10.00. The salmon was better although it didn’t match the Mayo salmon for flavour. The accompanying samphire was overcooked and, rather than add to the dish it took from it, the cauliflower and potato champ seemed to be devoid of potato. The potted shrimp butter worked well with the dish and the flavours were good. The shepherds pie looked pretty but I didn’t taste it.
The noisy environs was really starting to get to us and we would have left only that we had been told the cheeseboard was interestingly presented. We ordered a cheesboard to share and we were presented with four reasonable portions of cheese, some oatcakes a small bread roll with chutney baked into it and a handful of grapes. The cheeses were laid out alongside an explanatory note giving the cheese type, provenance and age. An excellent idea. The presentation was good but the cheeses were too cold.
All told our experience at The Pig’s Ear wasn’t great. Having eaten amazing meals in a number of other Bib Gourmand restaurants I have to wonder why this restaurant merited the award. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it and I won’t be going back. The bill came to just under €110.00 and, for that money, you can get a much better deal in Dublin city centre.