Although I had been to Twenty2 a couple of times before, this was my first evening visit. It was encouraging to see the place just as bustling, albeit with a slightly more mature clientele than the family-friendly restaurant attracts during the day, but with the same welcoming buzz in the air.
There’s a decent selection of dishes on the evening menu, all verging on the homely side of cooking but with a few specials to undoubtedly pique the interests of more regular customers. We picked one such special from the range of starters – calamari with salsa verde (€9). If I had my way, this would be a permanent fixture, such was the quality of this dish. There wasn’t a hint of that dreaded rubbery texture amongst the beautifully crisp and thin rings, with one of my fellow diners going so far as to declare it the best calamari she’s ever had. It’s certainly worth coming back for.
Vying for attention was the second starter of duck spring rolls (€8) with an Asian slaw and hoi sin dipping sauce. Although not quite as addictive as the squid, the spring rolls managed to hold their own and were a very good rendition of a classic.
Seafood features highly across the menu, which isn’t surprising given the restaurant shares ownership with The Oarhouse in Howth, which is known for its excellent selection of fresh fish. It seemed apt, therefore, that the hake (€22), was wonderfully fresh and cooked just right, with a crispy skin and moist flesh. It was served with a more unusual pairing of a creamy wild mushroom sauce with sautéed tenderstem broccoli and baby potatoes. A second fish dish of salmon (€20) served with linguine vegetables and a citrus herb cream was elevated thanks to the wonderfully buttery side of roast garlic, pink pepper and caper-crushed baby potatoes it came with.
A neighbourhood eatery wouldn’t be complete with a resident burger and, in this case, Twenty2 use Killenure Dexter beef to make theirs, serving it on that wonderful Waterford blaa with the usual trimmings. Although a bit meatier than I like to make at home, the burger was good quality and came with perfectly cooked fries with the lesser known but appreciated accompaniment of remoulade sauce (€16).
We finished off with a wonderfully sweet and moist sticky toffee pudding and vanilla ice-cream. It was a warm, homely and comforting end to a meal, which seemed to really sum up what Twenty2 is all about.
The unpretentious food is complemented by pleasant and friendly service, which managed to strike the right balance between being unobtrusive, yet attentive. What more could you want from your neighbourhood eatery?
We loved the calamari, the sticky toffee pudding, the service and the warm atmosphere
We spent €106.80 on two starters, three mains, one dessert, a bottle of house white and a herbal tea
22 Sion Hill Road, Drumcondra, Dublin 9 Tel: +353 (0)1 837 1234; www.twenty2.ie
Open: Mon 10am – 5pm; Tues – Fri 10am – 9.30pm; Saturday 10am – 10pm; Sunday 10am–9pm