Faultless. Flavoursome. Unforgettable.
Cookie FM Rating – 5/5
It’s not everyday you get to enjoy a meal so scrumptious you’re wishing you could have it all over again, almost immediately! Recently myself and my Dad headed to Shelbourne Social for dinner on a Saturday evening, the newest venture and restaurant by renowned Irish chef Dylan McGrath. Nestled on Shelbourne Road, of which it’s aptly named after, it’s a short walk from the centre of the Ballsbridge village.
We were greeted with smiles and given the corner booth with a view out of the whole restaurant. The Early Evening Menu has great value with a trio of choices for Appetisers and Mains, while both Sides and Desserts are brought to the table (for parties of 2). Shelbourne Social aims to deliver excellent food that’s made to share – and my gosh did we!
Early Evening Menu at Shelbourne Social // Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday 5-7pm // Friday & Saturday 5-6pm // 2 courses €35pp // 3 courses €40pp
To start, I opted for the Scallops, while my Dad ordered the Pressed Cucumber dish. I also ordered the White Horse cocktail, that was a delicious and refreshing concoction of rum, coconut and pink peppercorns. I happily drank this throughout the meal, as it also acted as a palate cleanser!
When our appetisers arrived, the first thing we were in awe of was the presentation. Such attention to detail; from how the food itself was presented, to the dishes in which they sat. The Scallops came as a trio with duck confit and a sweet potato purée that altogether was so good. There was a lovely smokey flavour off the scallops, which were well caramelized and the additional purée had a great complimentary taste. Served in a hot-pot with the sweet flavoured duck confit – my Dad also agreed it was all delicious!
I did taste my Dad’s starter of Pressed Cucumber which was served with ripe spiced avocado and toasted almonds. This dish was very refreshing but full of flavour, with a hint of chilli throughout.
On the Early Evening Menu, the Lamb and Salmon dishes are made to share between two people, but the chefs were kind to let us bend the rules a little and served us the Lamb Pot and the Dexter Burger for our main courses. I opted for the former, which is a rare occurrence as I don’t usually eat this meat…but this was the best lamb I have ever eaten! The flavours, the falling apart, the melting in your mouth. Maybe I’ve been wrong about lamb…!
A braised shoulder of lamb, the dish came out in a hot Le Creuset pot, then Chef Dylan McGrath served a melting slice of Raclette over it at the table and I nearly died. I absolutely adore Raclette and somehow forgot this was on the menu! The meat was beautifully cooked and falling apart, while the sauce was rich with herbs and caramelisation. The turnips were a great addition, while the Raclette added a whole new level to the overall dish.
Accompanying our mains was a big plate of sugar snap peas, horseradish, radish slices topped and Parmesan, dressed with lovely citrus notes. There was also a cloud of potato purée that was divine! With the lamb above, this main course was truly idyllic.
My Dad really enjoyed the Double Cheese Royale Dexter Burger, served with crispy onions, chives, fresh lettuce and truffle mayonnaise. He was oohing, aahing and smiling throughout every bite! I also tasted the burger, which was as juicy and well seasoned as it looked, and there were instant herb notes coming through. The pommes frites were topped with sprigs of charred rosemary and thyme, that did add to their flavour. Oftentimes, one can judge a restaurant on their house burger, and at Shelbourne Social, they have this one down to a tee.
We couldn’t say no to dessert, and to our delight, the desserts were a Soft Serve Ice Cream of Smoked Banana with caramelised rice crispies and miso caramel, and the Sticky Toffee Pudding with pecans, pear, double vanilla ice-cream and a brown sugar caramel sauce.
The former was intriguing, that genuinely tasted of smoked bananas in a very good way. The texture of the soft serve ice cream was whipped beautifully, light and airy yet kept its shape of a traditional pressed ice cream. Decorated with a perfectly shaped spiral of caramel, and together with the miso caramel and the caramelised rice crispies, this was an excellent ‘fancy’ ice cream dessert.
The latter was definitely my favourite: Sticky Toffee Pudding. Our server Fabian poured the hot brown sugar caramel sauce over the pudding, making us ooh and aah even more! From my first bite of this pudding, the flavours were astounding. It was served with a poached pear that added a refreshing note against the sweet and sticky pudding.
Alongside the double vanilla ice cream and caramelised pecans (also my favourite nuts!), there was still caramel sauce aplenty with every mouthful being heavenly. We knew we liked our desserts when it was decided that we didn’t want to share anymore…but we did and not a drop of either was left.
Chef Dylan McGrath came out to our table on numerous occasions, chatting and even treating us to the A La Carte Appetiser of Scallops. Beautifully refreshing, these scallops were thinly sliced, raw and with a lovely almond and lime cream that wasn’t overpowering, and served on its shell over ice. Divine!
The staff at Shelbourne Social was excellent. They were very well presented and professional, and what I really admired was their great interaction with ourselves and fellow diners. Friendly from start to finish, Fabian and the team were wonderfully accommodating.
Overall this was easily the best Daddy-Daughter dinner we’ve experienced, but also such a delicious Early Evening Menu. The food was faultless at every point, and the service was exceptional.
Tried & Tasted
Scallop (Sweet Potato Purée, Duck Confit, Parsley and Parmesan)
Pressed Cucumber (Spiced Avocado and Toasted Almonds)
Scallop (Almond cream and Lime – A La Carte menu)
Lamb Pot (Braised Shoulder of Lamb, with Baby Irish Turnips, Black Kale and Caramelized Raclette Cheese – Serves 2)
Double Cheese Royale Dexter Burger (Rye Brioche, Onion, Chive and Truffle Mayonnaise)
Hot Sticky Toffee Pudding (Pecan, Pear, Double Vanilla Ice-Cream and Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce)
Soft Serve Ice Cream of Smoked Banana (Caramelised Rice Crispies, Miso Caramel)
White Horse cocktail (Koko Kanu Rum, Coco Puree, Apple Oleo, Apple Juice, Cardamom, Lime, Chilli)
Shelbourne Social by Dylan McGrath, Unit 1, 1 Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
CALL ON (01) 963 9777 // CLICK TO VISIT SHELBOURNE SOCIAL
Images © Nirina Plunkett
*I did attend as a non-paying guest for this experience, but that does not influence the authenticity of this review.