It’s not supposed to be this way but the older I get the more I want to feel challenged, to be taken out of my comfort zone – I think it helps me ignore the gray hairs.

In my early 20s I made a promise to myself that I would always be open to change and around that time I developed an interest in wine. I joined a wine club and learned how to tell Bordeaux from Burgundy, Cabernet from Carménère, corked from oxidized and brettanomyces (brett) from volatile acidity (VA).

Table Wine is a brilliant addition to Dublin City with intelligent flavor-focused cooking and excellent new wines

I knew I’d have to keep learning, but I could never have predicted the mini-revolution that has happened in the last dozen years, a revolution that brought us Loose Cannon on Drury Street and now a second venue from the same team: Table Wine.

Table Wine would likely call itself a ‘Bar à Vin’ if it were in Paris, and it would fit neatly into the 11th Arrondissement which is a hotbed of similar wine-bars / restaurants. Like those wine bars around Rue St Maur and Oberkampf the focus here is on Natural Wines – wines that have been made from organic (often biodynamic) grapes, wild yeasts, and have had little or no sulfur added prior to bottling. All wines contain natural sulfur but adding extra prior to bottling keeps a wine clean. Not adding it creates a softer, juicier wine but can also lead to some funky notes which the French euphemistically call ‘un goût de terroir’ – yes my wine training fights against it but I too have learned to love (some) funk. I’m not joining George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic Collective, but I’m getting there.

Cheesy creamy buttered Leek Croquettes (€ 8) were golf-ball sized with a crisp golden exterior and a soft rich filling
Cheesy creamy buttered Leek Croquettes (€ 8) were golf-ball sized with a crisp golden exterior and a soft rich filling

We began with two glasses of ‘Atlantide’ Pet-Nat (pétillant-naturel) from Piedmont, a wine bottled before the fermentation was complete so that it retains a light sparkle. This was a fine example of the style and tasted creamy, fruity and just a little funky with lingering cherry skin flavors – my guest reckoned it tasted like fine quality cider from the West Country and he was not wrong. The Pet-Nat was a fine match for some lightly pickled eggs with a spicy mayonnaise (€ 4) and some stunningly good sourdough which itself had pleasing funky sweet-sour fermented notes and a perfect squeaky crust.

A bottle of Koppitsch Rét (€ 44) St-Laurent-Zweigelt red from Austria was our next choice – imported direct along with ten other producers through their own import company Fruit Cellar. The soft berry fruits worked particularly well with one of the star dishes of the night: Crown Prince Pumpkin with Cáis na Tíre cheese sauce. Cheese and wine always work but the earthy notes in the wine and baked pumpkin were nicely in sync and the depth and spikes of flavor added the cheese sauce were transformative.

The pumpkin was from McNallys farm as were some Garlic Butter Potatoes (€ 8) – a little crisping at the edges would have made this tasty mix of violetta and other spuds even better but maybe I’m nit-picking. Cheesy creamy buttered Leek Croquettes (€ 8) were golf-ball sized with a crisp golden exterior and a soft rich filling, thankfully there were only three as I could easily have eaten ten.

Crab Sandwiches (€ 22), triple decker and packed to bursting with sweet Lambay Crab plus Cáis na Tire cheese and some delightful sunchoke (Jerusalem Artichoke) crisps on the side
Crab Sandwiches (€ 22), triple decker and packed to bursting with sweet Lambay Crab plus Cáis na Tire cheese and some delightful sunchoke (Jerusalem Artichoke) crisps on the side

The first of our mains was the already legendary Crab Sandwiches (€ 22), triple decker and packed to bursting with sweet Lambay Crab plus Cáis na Tire cheese and some delightful sunchoke (Jerusalem Artichoke) crisps on the side. Somehow we finished them but this seriously damaged our ability to finish the Confit Chicken (€ 22) which came next. Crispy tender and meaty chicken served with crumbly cornbread, collard greens, red cabbage and nutty roasted sunchokes.

A shared Blood Orange Ice Cream (€ 6) was as much as we could manage for dessert – sweet-but-not-too-sweet creamy orange flavors, nicely offset by a chunk of Hermit Bar – a spicy New England raisin and molasses cake .

Table Wine is a brilliant addition to Dublin City with intelligent flavor-focused cooking and a whole bunch of excellent new wines for you to discover.

The Tab:

Snacks, Starters, too many Mains, a Dessert, plus a bottle and four glasses of wine cost € 165

The Verdict:

  • Food: 9/10
  • Wine: 9/10
  • Atmosphere: 9/10
  • Service: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10

In a Sentence:

Table Wine is offering supremely tasty food matched with natural wines – think of a wine bar in the 11th Arrondissement of Paris but add the best of Irish ingredients cooked by people who understand flavor.

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