SEAGRASS is a busy buzzing neighbourhood bistro style restaurant that is serious about food. Located in Portabello, Dublin 2, Seagrass proudly states "we are passionate and progressive about what we do". This is evident in the food that they serve up as it is inventive, creative, gourmet home-style food with an Italian twist. They are so focused on the food that they do not even mind if their customers arrive with a bottle of wine under their arm and ask for it to be opened! On our first visit recently we were amazed as this is a phenomenon more often found in the Southern Hemisphere than in our colder meaner climate. But once a customer is paying €30 for two courses, Seagrass does not charge any corkage. As noted, it is all about the food for the folk at Seagrass.
We visited again recently to try the brunch and lunch menus available at the weekends and it was again buzzing with large birthday tables, small couple tables and bunches of friends. All were enjoying great food on a relaxed weekend. Along with great egg choices, the fish dishes were seriously tempting with a special of Seafood Risotto winning our overall stamp of approval. Little home-made breads, dips, and a light and lovely goat's cheese mousse salad were also shared between us, all washed down with a refreshing glass of bubbles.
The dinner menu is concise with only the market fish and the soup changing on a daily basis. But each dish, we discovered, is crafted with a unique precision that you will not find replicated anywhere else. We started with the bread and dips, and were presented with some warm little 'hovis' style individual loaves of white, wholewheat and multi-grain breads with delicious mint pesto, olive oil and a tomato dip. Fresh and homemade, we were off to a great start. The fish chowder followed and was full of chunky fish, mussels and a slightly spicy Cajun and herb tomato sauce. It was excellent. Our other starter was an unusual homemade gnocchi with beetroot, courgette, mint pesto and goat's cheese. Comforting and filling, liberally sprinkled with parmesan, this was another unique dish.
Vegetarians often find it difficult to be well catered for, so finding a restaurant such as Seagrass is a delight. We decided to opt for a great vegetarian dish - roasted vegetables on a bed of celeriac puree, and the grilled cod with smoked haddock sauce was our other choice. Each dish was infused with lots of flavour, herbs were generously used and the fries and sweet potatoes enjoyed a sprinkling of Cajun spices. As we made our way through our dishes, the restaurant quickly filled up - most people clutching their own bottle of wine - and soon there was a quite a buzz both upstairs and down stairs. Service as friendly and attentive and the atmosphere was quite 'chilled'. We actually did not have any desserts as we were quite full after the breads, starters and mains. We also had a couple of glasses of French Bordeaux from the wine list which was mostly dominated by Italian wines. Wine is available by the glass, carafe and bottle, for those not bringing their own, and is very well priced.
As we said, Seagrass is all about the food. Other dishes that the tables around us were enjoying included Lamb Shank, Fillet Steak, and Trio of Game. They also make their own Chicken Liver Pate which looked popular. You get the feeling that most of the diners are regulars, which is not surprising at all. With food of this standard, at such reasonable prices and a generous BYO policy, Seagrass has to be a great hit in the neighbourhood, and an excellent addition to the Dublin dining scene.