Salt @ Avoca, Monkstown.

by Catherine

Peanut butter & macadamia ‘Iceberger’ at Salt.

I had one of the tastiest steaks I’ve had in ages at Salt in Monkstown this week.

Billed as “Dry-aged sirloin steak with Jerusalem artichoke puree, Lyonnaise potato & cavolo nero,” this sirloin wasn’t cheap at 24.95 but it was huge, beautifully charred (if maybe a little more medium than the medium-rare requested) and served on the most delicious little pile of cavolo nero, aka. “cabbage disguised as tasty vegetable.” I passed on the Lyonnaise spuds and instead substituted it with a side order of their broccoli with chilli and garlic, without any hesitation from the waiter. On seeing this fine hunk of meat (the steak, not the waiter), my “not drinking on a Wednesday” resolution went straight out the window and I ordered a glass of Montepulciano to do it justice.

I was there with three old schoolfriends on one of our increasingly-suburban-based midweek meetups, and between all four of us we also got to sample two other excellent main courses: Linguine with gamba prawns, prawn bisque, chili, garlic and green beans @ 17.95; and a food-envy-inducing Wicklow venison loin with Savoy cabbage, fondant potato and butternut squash puree (I’m going back for this), which was unbelievably tender, rare and full of flavour.

All were delivered to the table with friendly flair and we had some great banter with the staff throughout our meal.

(When one of the waiters saw me snapping our dessert with my iPhone, he called over “Tweet it and hashtag Avoca!” so obviously I did just that!)

Although stuffed full of steak, venison and pasta, all talk of diets (which really should have no place at a dinner table anyway) went out the window when the cute little dessert menus were craftily placed at our elbows, and we proceeded to share a ‘Peanut butter and macadamia iceberger’ at one side of the table, and a ‘Mango & passionfruit parfait with coconut panna cotta’ over on the other. I tend to see dessert as a waste of calories unless it contains chocolate or nuts, but I had to admit the coconut panna cotta was amazing both in taste and texture – like a smooth, wobbly, middle of a Bounty bar. And the peanut butter iceberger was ridiculously good, consisting of a scoop of peanut butter ice-cream surrounded by shards of brittle, and an ‘Iceberger’ totally elevated from the HB version of our childhoods. All desserts are 7.50.

We continued our chats after dinner until long after any other diners had left, without any rush being put on us by the wait staff, which we really appreciated. Without alcohol, other than a single glass of wine, the bill came to about 30 euro each, which we felt was a fair price for a mid-week treat in such lovely surroundings.

I’ll be going back for dinner, instead of doing battle with the buggies for brunch, from now on.

Avoca Foodmarket & Salt Cafe, The Crescent, Monkstown, Co. Dublin.