Review: Casual Dining comes at a high price in the Washerwoman

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It’s almost two years since I visited the Washerwoman on Glasnevin Hill and I’ve been meaning to return ever since. On that particular night there were six of us for a graduation dinner and we all agreed that the meal was one of the best we had enjoyed in Dublin. With that in mind, I couldn’t help but feeling a little disappointed with yesterday’s brunch.

The Washerwoman is a sister restaurant of the well-known Winding Stair and Woollen Mills restaurants in town. According to local folklore, women used come to Glasnevin Hill to wash clothes in the nearby Tolka and  it became known as Washerwoman’s Hill. The restaurant is housed in a delightful stone cottage dating from the 1700s and the interior is tastefully decorated with the washerwoman theme running throughout (clothes pegs on signage, on menus, etc.).

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Brunch is served at the weekends from 12pm-4pm on Saturdays and from 11am-4pm on Sundays. It was shortly after 12 when we arrived and we were the first to be seated for brunch. Service in the Washerwoman is warm, friendly and efficient. Different staff members greeted us when we walked in and when we were leaving (it’s the small things!). My first reaction to the two page brunch menu was surprise at the prices. Perhaps I’m still slightly unaccustomed to the whole brunch fad that’s popping its head up at restaurants everywhere. For a neighbourhood restaurant, the prices are too high here in my opinion. From Ballinwillan Wild Irish Boar Nachos at €15, Shredded BBQ Chicken Salad at €16 and Poached eggs  at €15, this is just too expensive for brunch.

The menu features typical brunch classics – French toast, eggs Benedict, poached eggs, waffles and other more inventive choices. There’s an emphasis on quality locally sourced ingredients in the Washerwoman and the restaurant features a large map on one of its walls showing where their suppliers are based. Everything on the menu appealed to the senses (even if it didn’t appeal to the purse!).

Black Pudding Eggs Benedict: poached eggs, Annascaul black pudding, toasted English muffin and hollandaise €15
Haddock Smokies with cherry tomato, crème fraîche pickled cucumber salad toast €15
King oyster mushrooms on toast with spinach, garlic butter & poached egg €14
Washerwoman Fry: Pigs on the Green sausage and bacon, Annascaul black pudding, hash, fried eggs, beef tomato, mushrooms, homemade baked molasses beans and toast €13 (sounds a lot better than a bog-standard full Irish!)

If you want to enjoy a tipple, there’s plenty to choose from: Bellinis, Mimosas, cocktails and an extensive wine list.

It was a crisp afternoon on Saturday and we were in the mood for something hearty and satisfying. Mark decided to go for bangers and mash (Pigs on the Green black pudding sausages, mash, apple fritters & gravy) and I went for the Dry Aged Irish beef burger. We weren’t too long waiting for our food to arrive and the place was beginning to fill up. Our meals looked good and portions were generous. Mark’s bangers and mash got a definite thumbs up. The sweetness of the apple fritter married well with the black pudding sausages.

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Pigs on the Green black pudding sausages, mash, apple fritters & gravy

Unfortunately my burger was very disappointing. For €17 I was expecting more. It was overcooked and a bit dried out, the cheese wasn’t melted enough and the bun wasn’t toasted (I know this is a personal choice!). The chips and spicy mayonnaise were good though.

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Dry Aged Irish beef burger with lettuce, tomato, cheese, bacon, onion and homemade pickle

Another observation we made was that the tables are rather close together and you can’t but eavesdrop on other diners’ conversations. We ended up engaging in baby babble with the cute tot in the highchair beside us for the latter part of our meal (she probably thought we were a bit mad!). If you’re looking for a family-friendly restaurant, the Washerwoman seems to be a good choice. Most of the tables around us had small children and I overheard the waitress saying that they serve baby bowls of mash and gravy (wonder can you get an adult portion of this?!). Another waiter was happily heating up baby food for a tot beside us.

Our Saturday brunch set us back €40. This included the two mains and a glass of Malbec. Will we go back? Probably! But not for brunch! Personally I think that €40 for breakfast, lunch or brunch in a local restaurant is excessive. The last time we were in the Washerwoman, we could’t have asked for better service and tastier food. I’d be willing to try dinner here again.

The Washerwoman, 60 Glasnevin Hill, Dublin 9

http://thewasherwoman.ie/ 

The Bill: €40 for two mains and a glass of Malbec.Tel: +353 1 8379441

Service: Warm, genuine and efficient.

Ambience: Relaxed and family-friendly.

Opening Hours:

Breakfast: Mon-Fri 9am-12pm

Lunch: Mon-Fri 12pm-4pm

Coffee & Snacks: Mon-Fri 4pm-5pm

Dinner: Sun-Wed 5pm-9:15pm & Thu-Sat 5pm-10pm

Brunch: Sat 12pm-4pm & Sun 11am-4pm

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