The Winding Stair restaurant is a quaint little bistro on Bachelor’s Walk looking out at the Ha’penny Bridge over River Liffey in Dublin.
Decor is like something out of a Bogart and Bacall movie but on a smaller scale. The bar is dark heavy oak and a large espresso machine.
On the opposite wall is a chalkboard listing the rather lovely wine list and featuring bookshelves containing the kind of odd assortment of titles a decorator would choose for the broken clothbound and gilded spines. There was Albert Schweitzer in the original German alongside Coleridge. See what mean?
The emphasis of the kitchen clearly was organic and local food though. In other words, exactly what I hoped to find.
There is an early bird menu at 5 p.m., as well as daily specials but, after a quick scan of the main menu, I wanted only the mussels and chips (pomme frite) served with a gorgeous paprika enhanced aioli.
The mussels were harvested on the west coast of Ireland and were generally quite fine– flavorful in an onion and white wine broth. A few were gritty however and several had not opened.
Nevertheless, I was served so so many, the dish was still more than enough for one. The broth certainly enhanced the already tasty mussels but it was a bit too salty to sip afterward.
The chips were thickly cut and crispy. No oil was evident and their flavor was fabulous, especially when paired with the smoked paprika aoili. Mmmmmm. The Portuguese Syrah I drank was also really nice.
The service was also helpful and attentive, although the dining room admittedly was sparsely populated when I was eating at a little before 5 p.m.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable meal and the sort of place that should be supported as Ireland earns it’s place at the big-people table in European cuisine.