Edited and updated: Eden, what was once a staple of beautiful Meeting House Square in the heart of Dublin’s Temple Bar area, has recently gone through a bit of a shake-up. After a decade of service, the owners closed briefly, while secretly enlisting the help of celebrated, chef duo Yannick Van Aeken and Louise Bannon (formerly of Copenhagen’s NOMA) to develop something unique and new for a relaunch. The restaurant then re-branded as NEDE last year and won applause for it’s facelift.
Then it all came crashing down and quickly closed, while the celebrated chef duo severed all ties with the restaurant. It now lies eerily abandoned in one of the most prosperous and beautiful areas of the city. You only have to take a quick glance at the final few tweets of the restaurant’s Twitter account to begin to understand what was going on behind the scenes.
However, all hope is not lost. Eden had a second guise, within a property located on Dublin’s trendy South William Street, in the fast-growing Cultural Quarter of the city. Though it was created much later than the original Temple Bar location, this second Eden premises (now the sole location) is the Bar & Grill to the former’s Restaurant and is seemingly and unfortunately not as well known or talked about. It’s more casual and informal, but with a precise, and elegant attention to detail, throughout the service, food and design. What’s more, it certainly deserves to be talked about and experienced as completely separate from the ‘Nede’ entity…
Earlier this year we visited Eden Bar & Grill, and ate three courses each for €24.50 on the Early Bird menu, which is exceptional value for Dublin city (two courses cost a mere €20). We were seated near enough to the main door, on a long stretch of individual tables, couched against the wall, before the bar. It was a quiet midweek evening, but there were a good number of tables both occupied and vacant, keeping it intimate and quiet but not so bare that you felt odd being in a restaurant alone.
There is a gorgeous little stage and a more opulent seating area directly in front of the elegant bar, further up the restaurant – an area which is accessorised with lots of greens and a good burst of natural light; I only wish we had gotten the chance to sit there instead, but there’s a large dining table right in the middle that would be perfect for a family meal or celebration with friends. A reason enough to return and see if the atmosphere is different.
I began with the goat’s cheese beignet, with beetroot, capers and orange. The dish was a great beginning to the meal. Light but intensely flavourful, especially with the rye bread served before the starter arrived.
I then opted for something a little different. The duck and paprika sausages were a nice little find on the menu, and served with roast apple, boudin noir and mash, topped with a red wine jus, it seemed right up my alley! The sausages were a little tough (which I expected) but full of flavour. A really filling and wholesome main with a creative twist.
I topped the meal off with a selection of Gathabawn (From Brennan’s Dairy in Kilkenny) ice creams and sorbets. Exceptionally fresh, indulgent but also light. A real treat, especially sprinkled with a little of the sea salt on the table! We’re suckers for sweet and salty! –Patrick
For starters, I ordered the Salmon & Caper Fishcake. Fish dishes in general are not usually what I would order, or consider when going out. It was the lime aioli and the watercress and fennel salad that sold the dish to me. It didn’t disappoint and was suitably sweet, earthy, fresh and fishy. A very comforting choice!
For my main course, I had the chicken, served with greens, a chicken confit casserole and boudin noir. Once again, the “served with” section that had me more excited than the star of the dish. Anything with boudin noir is bound to get me smiling. Just like the starter, this was a real nice, homely dish but served to the highest standards. I did find the chicken leg confit casserole a tad too strong and bitter for my personal preference, but it didn’t put me off the dish whatsoever.
Dessert was a distressing experience for me. I do love my sweet things, but I also love the courses before hand. As a result, I reluctantly had to listen to my tummy and not order the Apricot Bread & Butter pudding and opt for the lighter ice cream option instead. Never underestimate ice-cream as a desert option in good restaurants. If you would gladly buy a €5 tub of Ben & Jerrys and know you’ll enjoy it, you shouldn’t be disappointed by it in an establishment like Eden. I took Patrick’s suggestion and added a pinch of salt to the chocolate ice-cream scoop and was blown away by it.
While I enjoyed the meal greatly and would definitely return, it would have to be as part of a group. The premises is gorgeous but it screams “Come With Friends” instead of heading there for a couple’s meal. A cocktail, a good meal and great company would be the perfect combination, with Eden Bar & Grill as your setting. – RJ