Shiraz

Tel: 672 7424
Address: 12 Eustace Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
Cuisine Type: Italian/Persian

Imagine if you will a restaurant that openly calls itself both Italian and Persian. Could the two cuisines be further removed from each other? And in any case, how does one go about creating a fusion of the two?

Shiraz, one of a whole clutch of restaurants that has sprung up in newly trendified Temple Bar area of Dublin in the last eight years, leaves such questions unanswered with a menu that features prosciutto e melone – and a rather pleasing shark steak.

And when the former of these is made with too much of the wrong kind of melon (galia instead of canteloupe) and the latter seemed not to have a species attached to it (but “it was caught in the Mediterranean,” we are fervently informed), the confusion merely mounted.

Then there was The Bread Mystery. We were offered some shavings of French sticks to placate our appetites – but, this being a tourist-dominated sector of the capital of Ireland, a story about a bread shortage was seemingly necessary.

Apparently, the company which ordinarily supplied bread to the restaurant had gone bust just that morning, so the waitress had had to dash off to buy some baguettes in a supermarket. The mystery deepened when, a little later, another waitress revealed that the restaurant had simply run out of bread, so no, we couldn’t have any more. This was admittedly a Saturday night, but a run on bread in Ireland seemed at best far-fetched.

My companion’s food, meanwhile, was satiating; insalata de mare featured a mixture of white fish and suckers, while a chicken dish – pollo basilico – appeared with fries and a salad. Pleasant and filling to eat, but a little too rich and with one too many flavours vying for attention. And because of the late hour at which we arrived, there was unfortunately no time to sample Shiraz’s range of puddings.

As for atmospherics, the noise levels were excruciating, as one would expect of the Temple Bar district generally on a Saturday, but Shiraz’s acoustics do nothing to abate it. Chairs scrape on floors and music and shouts mingle into a hellish nightmare which is only mildly abated by sampling some wine (a moderate-to-expensive wine list features a good range of possibilities including our South African white at 18 euros).

And yet for all that the food was edible, prepared if not with flair then at least with care. Including drink, a three course meal for two worked in at around 70 euros – which compared favourably with the prices of other capital cities, if not necessarily with other Dublin districts. And, to tell the truth, we rather enjoyed the stories.

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