After discovering a leak in the ceiling of our bedroom in the Dublin flat on Monday and subsequently having to spend the night on the floor in the kitchen, neither the Husband nor myself were in any particular hurry to get back there on Tuesday evening. Heavy rain plus no umbrella (the Husband) and flip flops (me) didn’t help morale on our walk home so we decided to meet in Ranelagh and try out the recently opened wine bar – Wine Upstairs – over Tribeca. The restaurant is always buzzing, as it was last night, but, after we had shaken our bedraggled selves off, stashed my umbrella and walked up the stairs, we arrived in an airy room, with lots of tables, plenty of bottles of wine on display – and no other people. Stashing ourselves in the corner by the New Zealand wines, the Husband looked at wines while I devoted myself to a perusal of the short, but well formed, menu.
When we were in New Zealand just after Christmas, I came across a cookbook by Annabel Langbein called Assemble. Her idea is to select the best of ingredients so that meal preparation becomes a matter of assembly rather than preparation. That is exactly what the menu at Wine Upstairs does. It’s not complex – platters of cheese (perfectly aged and sourced from Sheridan’s Cheesemongers) and charcuterie (supplied by Fingal Ferguson of Gubbeen) sat alongside simple offerings of Ibérico ham with figs, pâtés, olives and last night’s special – a Mediterranean fish stew. We started with a bottle of Rioja, a duck platter, which included well-flavoured rilettes and slices of duck “ham”, and, unlike a recent experience in Olesya’s Wine Bar, a generous plate of Irish cheeses, including Cashel Blue, my favourite Durrus and the memorable Mount Callan cheddar. These were served with walnuts, grapes, cornichons, pickled onions and charcoal crackers and an overflowing basket of bread – a good example of the assemble motto.
Although we were no longer the only refugees from the rain, as customers filled the tables around us and we were joined by the Tax Advisor, it wasn’t enough to keep the waitress from refilling our glasses of water every time we took a sip. No complaints there from me, I’m always happy with a plentiful supply of water, although some may have found it intrusive. Another bottle of wine, a rather underwhelming French Pinot Noir, was added to the tally and we finished with a chocolate mousse and three spoons. The mousse was milk chocolate, so not as dark as I normally like, but it was lifted above the ordinary by a sprinkling of shredded fresh mint leaves on the cream it was topped with. It didn’t last long.
A haven for us on a wet night, Wine Upstairs at Tribeca is a comfortable and relaxed place to have a bite to eat and a glass of wine. After a chilled out evening there, morale was much improved, we had (almost) dried out before we had to face the elements again and, best of all, when we got home the plumber had worked his magic on the ceiling so we could move back into the bedroom. Definitely worth checking out.
Wine Upstairs, TriBeCa, 65 Ranelagh, Dublin 6, 01 4974174.