A wine bar at an artwork gallery? Sure, I used to be a bit sceptical. The color-by-numbers model is little question panini and low-cost espresso by day, and questionable vino and charcuterie by night time. Wine that maybe hasn’t been correctly chilled, if my expertise of exhibition openings is something to go by. However the folks behind Margadh on the Royal Hibernian Academy on Ely Place are considerably extra discerning. And with a rising portfolio that features Mamó and the unique Margadh in Howth, Jess D’Arcy and Killian Durkin include some provenance.
The double-aspect glazed room presents views into the up to date gallery on one aspect and a terrace of good-looking Georgian homes on the opposite. White cabinets home rows of attention-grabbing wine bottles, breaking apart the impartial floor with Mondrian-like precision. Wood tables, dotted with flowers, have the same minimalist aesthetic, and we discover ourselves at a excessive prime that’s sizeable for 2 however could be tight for 4.
The meals right here adopts the small plates and tasting menu strategy. At an inexpensive €42 for an eight-course tasting menu, there may be little proof of the worth will increase which might be ripping by way of the hospitality business. The liberal notion of alternative is entertained with an a-la-carte menu, with nibbles beginning at €3, and there are a big variety of wines within the usually empty quarter of the €30-€40 value bracket.
I’m not positive I’ve ever savoured every nibble of a single anchovy a lot
Being completely satisfied to share and curious to see what kind of night would transpire when taking a really lean line by way of the menu, we go the a-la-carte route, beginning with smoked almonds (€4.50), as a result of they only really feel like the proper accompaniment to a glass of Callejuela Manzanilla (€8). A Carlingford oyster with wakame (€3) is recent and restrained, a style of the ocean with simply the slightest little bit of acidity kicking in with bonito vinegar.
Cantabrian anchovies (€4.80) have some form of alchemy when paired with sherry, and it’s no shock that Pujadó Solano, the maestro who has put his canning abilities to honourable use for these prime specimens, is name-checked on the menu. I’m not positive I’ve ever savoured every nibble of a single anchovy a lot, and the finger of scorched Firehouse Bakery sourdough with just a few dabs of preserved lemon aioli provides a stunning crunch.
Grilled child leeks and huge scallions are one thing we’re beginning to see on menus in Eire, very similar to you see calçots in Catalonia in Spain, the candy scallion-like onions which have protected geographic standing below the EU PGI system, and are celebrated as a delicacy. The wilted child leeks (€13) on the plate earlier than me are an excellent celebration of late summer time, strewn with an ideal cube of smoked eel and Granny Smith apple, and a puddle of fennel puree for dipping into. As is the burrata with younger broad beans and candy peas (€14), which lies beneath a flurry of summer time truffle and toasted hazelnuts. These are the form of dishes that you simply get in Italy, the place the menu in each restaurant reads of the identical regional, seasonal components, but tastes that little bit totally different.
We’re ingesting properly from the by-the-glass listing of 4 whites and 4 reds (150ml pours); an El Castro De Valtuille Mencia Joven 2020 (€7) from Raúl Pérez, certainly one of Spain’s most visionary winemakers, and Doravante Bairrada 2017 (€9). James Brooke, the sommelier who manages the wine listing right here, tells me that resulting from house restrictions within the restaurant, a lot of their wine is housed within the gallery’s storage space, together with work. Reasonably happily, the environmental circumstances for storing wonderful artwork additionally occur to be excellent for wine.
Margadh RHA is a really charming wine bar, the place the cooking, utilizing seasonal-led produce, is exact and scrumptious
We end our savoury programs with Flat Iron steak tacos (€15), that are extra South American than Mexican-influenced, charred, uncommon and deliciously juicy, topped with chimichurri, pickled chilli, nigella seed, and crispy shallot crumb. And for dessert, we share a large slice of tiramisu (€7), which is wealthy with out being heavy.
Margadh RHA is a really charming wine bar, the place the cooking, utilizing seasonal-led produce, is exact and scrumptious. It additionally helps that most of the wines on the fastidiously chosen listing are reasonably priced. The pliability of with the ability to pop in for a glass of wine and some plates of meals, or go for what should be the best-value tasting menu within the nation, implies that it’s providing one thing fairly particular.
Dinner for 2 with 4 glasses of wine was €90.30.
THE VERDICT Margadh has the wine bar style right down to a wonderful artwork.
Amenities Clear and compact
Music Low-key mixture of jazz, The Kinks and Steely Dan
Meals provenance Kish Fish, Higgins butchers, La Rousse, Caterway
Vegetarian choices Restricted, might embody heirloom tomatoes, basil and pine nuts; and burrata with Mooncoin beetroot. Vegan choices with advance discover.
Wheelchair entry Accessible, with accessible rest room