Restaurant review: Uno Mas

Uno Mas, 6 Aungier Street,

Dublin 2. Tel: 01-4758538

www.unomas.ie

JUST one more. The Spanish phrase ‘uno mas’ rather rolls off the tongue and is the perfect name for the second restaurant from the couple behind Etto — many Dubliners’ (and restaurant critics’) favourite restaurant, despite a difficult room and the fact it is always packed. Well good news, sort of: Liz and Simon have a second restaurant you can struggle to get into.

I decided to review Uno Mas’s lunch menu (accompanied by three of my favourite female friends), for the simple reason that it was actually possible to get a booking — dinner reservations need to be made a month in advance.

While Etto is broadly Mediterranean, Uno Mas is Spanish and sourcing is rigorous with many of the cured meats and pork cuts imported directly from Spain. The Morcilla (blood sausage), for example, is the creamiest and silkiest I’ve tasted — it is served as a starter with soft quail eggs and sweet piquillo peppers which add a little depth and a bitter-sweet kick.

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The dinner and lunch menus are similar although the former offers more choice with extra tapas, snacks, and starters. Mains cover typical Spanish fare such as suckling pig, octopus, and fish courses with specials such as Delmonico steak for sharing — €24 for two courses, €28 for three. The wine list is large, varied, and supremely well chosen and would need a second page to review — even the pouring Godello is excellent.

One disadvantage of going for lunch seems to be the omission of the wonderful potato and onion tortilla which is so good it has caused me to revise my own long-practised recipe. Here it is liquid and light below the crust and can only be described as a thing of beauty.

We began with some fine quality salted almonds, and good olives and bread (from ever-reliable Le Levain). We each ordered a ‘Gilda’ (€4) the classic San Sebastian Pintxo palate cleanser involving an olive, an anchovy, and guindilla pickled chilli pepper on a skewer. Not exactly a bargain for such a tiny morsel but supremely tasty and just about worth it.

The other palate zinger I insisted we order was Uno Mas’s Padrón peppers which are the best I’ve tried outside Spain. Frequently in Ireland they are utterly bland, a travesty as the joy of this Russian Roulette pepper is that they have a sense of danger — some explosively hot and others with at least a tingle of heat. I’ve had them in Uno Mas twice and they properly woke up my senses each time.

Cockles in Fino sherry is the other must-order dish, the meaty briny molluscs are steamed in pork stock and served with a good splash of Fino sherry and ajillo (oil and garlic). Cockles are not as refined as clams but this works to their advantage here as they need to cope with the yeasty preserved lemon flavours of the Fino. A

gorgeous dish.

Mains included possibly the firmest, freshest, and most perfectly cooked piece of cod I have ever eaten — I had honestly forgotten (or maybe never knew) that grilled cod could taste this good. A blob of black garlic added some umami, cider sauce added some apple sweetness, and cubes of squash and mussels added further textures and flavours.

Ox cheek with polenta was sweet and densely flavourful while rich earthy mushrooms were rounded out with some slow-cooked egg and nutty Jerusalem artichoke — a nigh-on perfect combination of flavours.

Sides of rosemary and garlic roast potatoes had a fine crispy crust encasing fluffy potatoes and the sprouting broccoli was crisp and juicy and added heft and bitterness to our mains.

Dark chocolate and olive oil ganache was also revelatory — bittersweet green olive flavours mixed rather brilliantly with sweet-bitter dark chocolate. Salt caramel ice-cream and an espresso granita were as good as they sound and were packed with flavour. A bonus was adding a dollop of the granita into my well-executed espresso to make an impromptu affogato.

I visited Uno Mas three times before I wrote this review and through those three meals I was taken aback by the sheer precision in the cooking as well as by the quality of ingredients and the balancing of flavours. Get booking.

the tab

Lunch for four people including snacks, starters, mains, sides, desserts, a carafe of Albarino, water (sparkling) and coffee cost €201.10

How to

  • Lunch: Tuesday-Saturday
  • Dinner: Monday-Saturday
  • Closed Sundays and bank holidays

The verdict:

  • Food: 9/10
  • Wine: 9.5/10
  • Service: 9/10
  • Ambience: 8.5/10
  • Value: 8.5/10

In a Sentence: Uno Mas is from the couple behind Etto and is focused on the best foods of Spain — perfect sourcing, precision cooking and one of the best wine lists in the city, book it now.

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