There’s less of a hype around The Winding Stair, more an ever-present hum. A hum of appreciation for the epicurean excellence that pours from the room. With something of a magic touch, the team behind the Winding Stair are also responsible for The Woolen Mills just a few doors away, and The Washerwoman in Glasnevin.
I booked us in on a whim for date night, a part of my mind waking up to remind me I had meant to try the food here. I left, full, and giddy at just how good it was.
The best of Irish cuisine is laid before you, without so much as a glimmer of bacon and cabbage. Overlooking the Ha’penny bridge, heavy wooden tables that reminded me of the dining table in my Granddad’s house, and a menu peppered with artisan producers‘ names and such choice I was planning my second visit before I had ordered my starter.
Himself, knowing everyone, shook hands with the manager like an old friend as we reached the top of one of the many flights of stairs, and climbed one more for a table by the window where we sipped prosecco and fell a little bit in love with Dublin.
I ordered a starter from the specials menu, soft breaded cheese with pickled peaches, and of the two spectacular-sounding vegetarian options; an entire lower half of a butternut squash. Stuffed with kale and smoked Irish cheese, a nutty crust and tomato pesto. I couldn’t stop eating, no matter how full I became. It kickstarted my Autumnal obsession for the year as I savoured every bite, as did Himself who enjoyed a charcuterie board to start and, as he described, the best rib-eye steak he’s had in a long time, if ever.
Drawn in by the accompanying elderflower custard, I ordered the Juliblee strawberry mouse while across the table landed the gooeyist (is that a word?) most luxurious chocolate fondant I’ve ever been in the presence of. We left, frankly, dumbfounded. I had heard it was good, but nothing could prepare me for plate after plate of culinary ecstacy. I immediately wanted to tell everyone, boring my parents with pictures of my dinner and praying someone in work would ask me about my evening.
The word quinessential seems wrong in this instance, because while you’re surrounded with timeless classics in a historic building looking over a living landmark – there’s something undeniably modern about the approach. It’s a new look at ingredients that have always been there, curated with so much love and attention to every last detail. For this reason, the prices may look, on the surface, a little higher than your average casual dinning; the starters especially, mains are in line with most. But this isn’t an average restaurant. There’s far more value in these dishes than many others around the city, and at that it’s only 2-4 euro more at most.
It’s too good to keep to myself – if it’s date night or you’re entertaining out-of-towners; why not show them Irish hospitality at it’s finest?