Restaurant review: Rich and vibrant flavours at Fade Street Social

You have to try the Milk & Honey Soft Serve Ice Cream with crystalised cocoa nibs and ‘buttered salted caramel chocolate hot sauce’
Restaurant review: Rich and vibrant flavours at Fade Street Social

  • Fade Street Social, 6 Fade Street, Dublin 2. 
  • Tel: 01-6040066. 
  • Instagram: @fadestsocial
  • Open Daily: 12 Noon - 11.30pm
  • Dinner for Two including two cocktails, wine, snacks, starters, mains, sides and desserts cost €156.50

Have we actually created an Italianesque café culture? For now, our city streets are stuffed with tables and happy people drinking and eating in the mild Autumn weather — you can easily pretend you are in Italy. Biting wind, rain and cold will arrive at some point, but until it does I’m eating outside.

So on a recent Tuesday, I decided to head to a street was once so cool it had a dodgy scripted reality show named for it. Thankfully that programme is long gone but Fade Street remains one of the buzziest places in Dublin, and on a weekend night it heaves with people spilling out of the bars and restaurants. Given this was midweek, things were quieter, but there were still enough people that we didn’t feel lonely.

Fade Street Social introduced a new menu during the summer having ditched the Tapas that had served them so well pre-Covid. The new menu for the bar and outdoor area is ‘Woodfired’ and is a mix of pizza (called Baked Sourdough for some reason), steaks, a fish, a burger and some vegetarian options. It is straightforward, but don’t forget that Dylan McGrath is the creative force here and you can see his influence all over the menu. McGrath genuinely understands flavour and proper attention has been paid throughout the menu with little Dylanesque touches added into classic dishes. There were even pain-épice crumbs on one of desserts — an ingredient I will always associate with Mint in Ranelagh where McGrath first came to fame and won a Michelin Star.

We began with cocktails, they are a key focus of the restaurant (my excuse anyway). They did not disappoint: my Amaretto Sour was a pleasing balance of citrus, sweetness and Amaretto and the ‘Into The West’ (€13) was a pitch-perfect blend of rum, coconut syrup and Noilly Prat with a touch of lemon and lavender to add extra spikes of interest.

The wine list is a little shorter than I would like, and I’d also like more than one option below €38 but our bottle of Callia Select Malbec from San Juan in Argentina was was worth its €39 with good dense dark fruits balanced with freshness, and more than a touch of complexity.

Our best starter was Burrata (€9.50) with charred courgette slices, broad beans and capers — so far so good but the Dylanesque addition of lemon purée and mint leaves elevated this into quite sublime territory. This can be ordered as a main course so veggies out there should rejoice as it is a banger of a dish.

The Cod Brandade Balls (€13) were a little less successful and could have had a bit more seasoning but I did like that they were topped with a soft Quail egg and chorizo. Padrón Peppers (€7.50) had been lifted nicely with crumbled chorizo, fried garlic and toasted rosemary bread crumbs — a brilliant elevation of the humble capsicum. Of course, I’d have liked a few more, but that is always the case with padrón.

Thick-based Coppa pizza was generously topped with fine quality pungent coppa salami — surely one of the very best things Italy has given us along with Sophia Loren, Barolo and Vespas. My smoked Hugh Maguire Pork Belly (€17) was sweet, rich and complex thanks to a soy sauce and honey glaze and pickled kohlrabi was an inspired accompaniment.

Milk & Honey Soft Serve Ice Cream (€8.50) was streets ahead of your average ice-cream van with welcome crystalised cocoa nibs and ‘buttered salted caramel chocolate hot sauce’ — those Dylenesque adornments shining strong.

Old Fashioned Grand Marnier & Orange Crème Brulée (€11.50) was a properly creative take on the classic dessert with tangy burnt sugar, creamy, well executed custard, with a punchy hit of orange liqueur — on the side peeled orange slices topped with orange sorbet and earthy spicy pain épice crumbs added welcome little extra textures and flavours.

Since I visited Fade St a new menu has been launched for the Restaurant section which looks promising should the wind pick up, but I suspect if I return I’ll be ordering a couple of my favourites from the woodfired menu instead, the flavours linger, Dylan's creativity and intelligent way with flavour lingers, it always has.

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