Wine, wine and more wine – if that’s what you’re looking for then the recently opened Olesya’s Wine Bar on Dublin’s Exchequer Street is the perfect place. With a long wine list, which includes choices from Georgia and the Lebanon alongside a good selection of new and old world wines, there’s plenty to choose from, should you wish to imbibe by the glass or bottle.
The Boyfriend and I, in a tapas mood on Thursday night, and on the way to see if there were any seats in Havana, instead ended up in Olesya’s. A menu which included blini and foie gras, alongside platters of cheese and more substantial dishes of risotto or sausages and mash, grabbed our attention outside the door and an empty table inside was quickly ours. Although a very comfortable size for food and wine, being larger than many tables for two, it does take some manoeuvring to negotiate the narrow gap between your and your neighbours’ table. Intent on avoiding the wine glasses at the next table, I managed to wallop my head on a mirror hung on the facing wall, after which I quickly sat down and hid my blushes in the menu, ahem.
We chose Babich Pinot Noir (€26) – another favourite NZ wine – to accompany our pick and mix meal of Pâté French Style (€9.80) and a Farmhouse Platter (€17.95). The pâté was very good, three sizable scoops that were smooth and well-flavoured, served with a delicious red onion marmalade and salad leaves that included plenty of peppery rocket. It came with a basket of warm, crusty bread and didn’t last too long. The Farmhouse Platter, alas, was a different story. Supposedly a selection of charcuterie and cheese, the cheese was represented by three small anonymous segments. The platter was filled up with salad, olives, walnuts, dried fruits, plenty of decent salami and good ham, but it has to be admitted, the cheese component was sadly lacking. Of course, being typically Irish – and starving at that stage – I didn’t complain, the Pinot Noir and pâté combination successfully rubbing off any rough edges as we enjoyed the rest of the meal.
A couple of peppermint teas later, we had to run out the door and grab a taxi so that I could make it to my polling station in Rathmines – Thursday was voting day in Ireland – before 10.30pm. Fortunately I got there in time to exercise my constitutional right, for all the good it did. My verdict on Olesya’s? Wine good, pâté great, charcuterie plentiful but – and it’s a big but – the scanty cheese portions, especially for someone who loves cheese (currently reading Paul Gayler’s A Passion for Cheese!), were a big stumbling block.
Dinner came to a total of €58.75 for a bottle of wine, pâté, the farmhouse platter and two teas.
Olesya’s Wine Bar, 18 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2. Phone: 01 672 4087