Restaurant Review : The Pig’s Ear in Dublin


While in Dublin, even though we visited a number of bars and pubs, including daily visits to Ireland’s oldest pub, The Brazen Head, one of the things on my list was to try Irish cuisine.

I had read that traditional Irish cuisine is a non-fussy, hearty fare that mainly consists of potatoes, grains, meats and stews. Sounded dull, nonetheless Ajay and I both wanted to eat a nice Irish meal in Dublin.

We picked The Pig’s Ear, a restaurant that has won the Michelin Bib Gourmand consistently since 2009.  Michelin Bibs are usually awarded to restaurants to recognize them for simple and skilfull cooking served at a value for money pricing. So we were sure that we could expect a decent meal without burning a hole in our pocket. The restaurant is known for serving simple and seasonal Irish fare with a modern touch.

The Pig's Ear, Dublin

The Pig’s Ear, Dublin : Street View

We visited the restaurant for lunch. The Pig’s Ear is a 10 minutes walk from the Trinity College. It’s set up in a Georgian Townhouse and if not for the bright pink doors it would be easy to miss the restaurant.

The Pig's Ear, Dublin

The Pig’s Ear, Dublin : Entrance to the restaurant

We walked up the narrow staircase and a server ushered us in to the first-floor dining room. The restaurant has dining rooms on 3 floors. Even though we arrived for a late lunch at about 2 p.m., the restaurant was packed. A mix of tourists and locals. We were assigned a table by the window that overlooked the Nassau street with a view of the Trinity College grounds.

The Pig's Ear, Dublin

The Pig’s Ear, Dublin : The Bar

The dining room was buzzing with guests and had a relaxed and an informal ambience. There was a lot of natural light and the place had a cozy and a comfortable feel.  Our server got us the menu along with a leather bowl filled with warm bread and some butter. The menu was all pink, and hey, isn’t how a clean pig would look like?

The Pig's Ear, Dublin

The Pig’s Ear, Dublin : Restaurant seating

The Pig's Ear, Dublin

The Pig’s Ear, Dublin : Assortment of breads and butter

After going through the menu, I decided to go for the 2-course lunch menu that came with a choice of starter and a main course.  As for Ajay, he went with the server’s recommendation and settled in for some comfort food, i.e., the Shephard’s pie, which are some of their famous.

The Pig's Ear, Dublin

The Pig’s Ear, Dublin : Early bird courses displayed on the street

The Pig's Ear, Dublin

The Pig’s Ear, Dublin : Set menu

The Pig's Ear, Dublin

The Pig’s Ear, Dublin : A la Carte

To fresh myself on a warm summer day, I ordered a pint of Irish beer as well.

The Pig's Ear, Dublin

The Pig’s Ear, Dublin

For appetizers, I chose the Salt Cod Brandade which was served with pickled kohlrabi and had a drizzle of langoustine oil. The Brandade turned out to be a nice summer dish and was a creamy emulsion of salt cod and oil. The pickled Kohlrabi was sliced thinly and the starter tasted light and fresh. The dish was beautifully put together with edible herbs and flowers as garnish. Very hard to eat when you want to look at it all the time!

The Pig's Ear, Dublin

The Pig’s Ear, Dublin : Salt Cod Brandade

The Pig's Ear, Dublin

The Pig’s Ear, Dublin : Salt Cod Brandade

I went vegetarian for my main course and picked the Pot Roast Cauliflower with smoked grapes, almond and basil. To be honest, I ordered this dish more out of curiosity as I couldn’t imagine the taste of cauliflower, almonds and smoked grapes all in one plate. So in my own head, by not settling in for the traditional chicken or fish, I was being adventurous with my choice of main course. I don’t often eat vegetarian mains and I was not disappointed with my choice.

The cauliflower was roasted with parmesan to the point of being charred a bit. The smoked grapes were moist and had a nice flavor. The almonds added a delicious crunch to the plate that would have otherwise been soft and mushy. The star of the dish though were parmesan crisps that were yum and added a nice texture.

The Pig's Ear, Dublin

The Pig’s Ear, Dublin : Pot Roast Cauliflower

Ajay’s Shephard’s Pie was far from the boring meat pie I had imagined. The meat was slow cooked and loaded with piped potato mash. It was simple, tasty and hearty and now I after tasting it I knew exactly why our server had recommended it. And it is one of their best sellers too!

The Pig's Ear, Dublin

The Pig’s Ear, Dublin : Slow Cooked Lough Erne Shepherd’s Pie

I had earlier opted out of dessert but after nothing ends a nice hearty meal better than some coffee and a sweet treat. Without knowing what the Turkish Delight would turn out to be Ajay went for it. The bite size dessert came in a bright pink envelope and was a take on Turkish sweets, wrapping a layer of chocolate on top of a marshmallow.

The Pig's Ear, Dublin

The Pig’s Ear, Dublin : Turkish Delight

My Irish Coffee was sinful and I can still remember the lingering after taste of the Jameson Whiskey they generously poured.

The Pig's Ear, Dublin

The Pig’s Ear, Dublin : Irish Coffee & Turkish Delight

Over all we had a fantastic meal at The Pig’s Ear. The staff were friendly, the ambience informal and the food presentation top notch. But the highlight of this place is that the everything we ordered tasted fantastic. Seeing traditional food being presented in gourmet style changed my perception of the cuisine. Our lunch meal costed all of 62 EUR/ 4865 INR .

The Pig's Ear, Dublin

The Pig’s Ear, Dublin

I’d say if you are visiting Dublin and looking for a value for money place to try some good Irish food in the center of the city, a meal at The Pig’s Ear should definitely make it onto your list.

Have you tried Irish food? What do you think of Irish cuisine?

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