It’s a Saturday night in a post lockdown world, restaurants are back open in full swing in Dublin and you and your fully vaccinated sisters decide to take your more than deserving mother out for a night on the town (and by that I mean until 11:30 cause the pandemic is still a thing even if we aren’t in lockdown). But the question comes up where should we go? Where has the beautifully crafted cocktails, mouth-watering food and elegant environment that is worthy of a classy girl’s night out? The answer is quite clearly – The Grayson Restaurant & Bar (https://thegrayson.ie/).
In what use to be the private members’ club Residence, The Grayson (a Press Up owned establishment) resides in a beautifully restored and repurposed Dublin style Georgian House overlooking the iconic St. Stephen’s Green Park. The building itself could spill it’s fair share of raucous stories and secrets of it’s colourful guests with it having a reputation for remarkable dinners since it’s founding in 1745.
This sense of history, mystery and elegant chaos is certainly apparent from the moment you walk in through it’s large Georgian door. After announcing our booking details and showing our vaccine certs, we were promptly escorted up the wall hugging winding square stairs to the third floor to find our table. Judging by the lit fireplace and the mouldings on the ceiling, the room we were seated in what was clearly a refurbished living/drawing room from back in the day. The lit fireplace gave a cozy and intimate aura to the room while the fully turquoise walls and ceiling gave the room its young and current aesthetic. The room had an arch way on either side of it, one leading to the bathroom and the other leading to a glistening gold and well -stocked bar. The proximity to the bar being very useful for the table with the 30th Birthday Party and the table with what I reckon was a third date on it. There was a decent amount of space between tables but as the night went on it was definitely hard for four people to compete with a group of ten very shrill and very drunk 30 year old women. If I had a criticism of the night, that sound ringing in my ear would be the only one.
Upon sitting down, we were offered our menus, both food and drinks, and the age old question of ‘what am I going to order?’ was discussed for way longer than it ever should be showing that our time in lockdown only exacerbated our indecision around ordering food.
We ended up ordering our pre-dinner drinks first. The selection on the cocktail and other drinks menu was a well curated list of classic cocktails but with a their own ‘The Grayson’ twist on it and an impressive Spritz section that is so comprehensive it would put the Italian’s to shame. Some visual standouts were the Hemmingway Daiquiri, the Bee’s Knee’s and the Clover Club. I myself went rogue and ordered a Mai Tai for my first drink instead of the usual gin based cocktail. It had been ages since I had a Mai Tai and I did not regret my choice. It was delicious, fresh and yet slightly reminiscent of Kellogg’s Fruit Winders I used to have as a kid in school. The rest of the table ordered a Clover Club, and 2 Marguerite No. 2s. The Clover Club can only be described as Elle Woods’ dream cocktail. The mixture of gin, lemon, raspberry, sugar and egg whites resulted in a pink base with a white cloud on top, only interrupted in the centre by a single fresh raspberry. The Marguerite No. 2s were true to the Margarita classic with a generous (and necessary!) salt rim. When our food arrived, we paired it with a bottle of Argentinian Malbec as most of us were having meat for our mains. The wine was a good choice, having been chosen by my oldest sister who is the wine expert of the family. It was full bodied and complemented our mains nicely. After dessert, we ordered three espresso martinis which rounded out the whole evening perfectly (although my heart probably would disagree).
The menu at The Grayson is a cleverly created selection of food that caters to multiple dietary requirements. There truly is something for everyone on the menu while also keeping the selection small enough that you don’t get overwhelmed by the choices.
To start both my sister and I had the Goat Cheese, Beetroot, Pistachio and Peach Salsa Small Plates. Once again a bit of a rogue choice for me because I have never been a huge fan of beetroot but I clearly was feeling adventurous and that paid off because it was truly delicious. Being slightly lactose intolerant, I did not eat all of the Goat’s Cheese on the plate as it was particularly rich but if I could’ve I would’ve. The dish was well balanced and just aesthetically gorgeous with the deep pink of the beetroot contrasting starkly with the green of the leaves, the pistachio crumb on the goat cheese and the flecks of pale orange of the peach salsa. It was the perfect start to a meal as it was light but packed with flavour. The other side of our table both ordered the Crab Crostino, Miso Avocado and Brioche Small Plates and said it was delicious. I don’t eat Crab but my mother and sister aren’t known for lying so I’ll place my trust in them that they the dish was indeed delicious.
For the main course, I opted for the 10oz Chimichurri coated Rib Eye Steak (cooked medium rare, of course) with Padron Peppers and parmesan fries. To say that this was an exceptionally well put together meal would be an understatement. It was my first time having Chimichurri and it certainly won’t be my last. The Chimichurri and the padron peppers made the tender steak sing with the perfect amount of heat and harmonised perfectly to the overall ‘umaminess’ of the meal, elevating it from your regular steakhouse meal to a culinary dream. Being someone who tends to shy away from a lot of heat the balance that was found here was a delicious surprise. Both my eldest sister and my mother ordered the Braised Lamb Shoulder and has a similar reaction to myself. The general takeaway is that the chef’s at The Grayson certainly know their meat. My other sister ordered the mushroom gnocchi with smoked parmesan cream and truffled croutons which she said was nice but lacked the wow factor that the three of us found with our meat dishes.
On to my favourite part of any meal, dessert! By the time we had made our way through our starters and mains I was pleasantly surprised to find that I still had room for dessert, further proving the advantage of having a perfectly planned out menu. I chose the Raspberry and Vanilla Layered Cake with Crème Anglaise. The closest think I can describe it to is like eating a raspberry and vanilla flavoured cloud. The sponge was exceptionally airy which lent itself as the perfect companion to the rich creaminess of the crème anglaise.
Overall, it left me wanting more but being perfectly full which I personally think should always be the end goal of a meal. It was the perfect end to an ideal meal!
I would have to give the whole experience an 8 out of 10! Would definitely recommend to a friend!
That’s all for now kids,