Holy Gotham Café Batman!

Another long week in the life of your intrepid food blogger and as Friday, the dessert of the week, drew near, dinner and drinks were in order.

My companion of Crackbird fame, and I, spent days thinking of a restaurant we would both enjoy. I vetoed many, before we settled on the Gotham Café, just off Grafton Street.

Batman theme tune running through my head, we chose a table beside the counter, away from other customers; I do enjoy people watching, but only from a distance.

The menu had some interesting dishes, including a broad selection of pizzas. The wood fire oven did look inviting, but I decided instead to opt for the goat cheese crostini, followed by the garlic and rosemary chicken, with normal chips. The listed accompaniment, sweet potato fries, and I have never seen eye to eye. They tend to be mushy, sweet, bland and greasy – I refuse to risk precious plate space.

Trashy Blonde beers in hand, we dissected life, the universe, and everything.. until our starters arrived.

His Mexican guacamole came with sour cream, fresh, chunky homemade salsa, and a 9” pizza base in place of the soft flour tortillas. As he had ordered a pizza for main, this was a worrying development. Yet another of my dinner partners had been tricked into a carb-overload.

I sensed snoozing instead of dessert in my future.

The guacamole had a lovely spice kick, which offset the creaminess, but the pizza base let the dish down – it did not suit it, and was simply too large a serving.

My goat cheese crostini was just perfect. Slightly crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, the tang of the cheese tempered by the basil pesto and homemade salsa. Hazelnuts added a nice crunch and I devoured the plate, including salad, in seconds.

It was then that I got “that look” from across the table. It’s the look that means I am eating too fast, which makes for a panicked dinner table atmosphere. It happens when I am truly enjoying a meal. Unfortunately, “savour” is an underused word in my vocabulary, and I tend to lean towards instant gratification.

As an aside to the food discussions; without a doubt, Gotham café had the best service I have ever received in an Irish restaurant. The staff were attentive, not overly invasive, chirpy and friendly. This alone would draw me back to an eatery, but combined with quality of the food, I may have found my new favourite haunt.

And with that, back to the main course – A pile of salad, with sunblush tomatoes and hazelnuts, topped with the chicken breast and leg. Garlic mayo, which compared to the absolute best, was supplied to smother the homemade chips.

Dear reader, I must say, my main was fantastic. The chicken was juicy, the tomatoes cutting through the slight oil of the skin with a sweetness that filled my mouth. Each bite of it was filled with flavour, no ingredient overpowering, just working together beautifully. The quality was clear, and my only regret is that I didn’t leave space for more than 3 chips.

Somehow, I managed to eat this dish at a reasonable pace.

Unfortunately the Bowery pizza (Italian sausage pizza with roasted cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, fontina, and basil pesto) had way too much cheese, which began to solidify half way through the meal, making it practically inedible – He managed to power through, but eventually had to admit defeat.
On the positive side, the base was soft, the sauce delicious and plentiful – exactly how I like my pizza.

Too long, didn’t read?

The bustling, cheerful atmosphere in Gotham is a delight. Some fantastic dishes, with service that matched, making us feel like we were the only customers. Let down by their pizza, unfortunately.

To quote my lovely side kick, Robin, “I’d prefer a two cheese pizza with a sprinkling of each cheese – Not a half block of each. Some people might like that – obviously the service was amazing. I’d definitely go back, but not for the pizza”.

Will we go back? Will I find out why sweet potato fries are the new in-thing? Will Robin’s wake up from his carb-coma in time to go out for dinner next week?
Tune in next time, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!

2 starters, 2 mains, 3 beers – €57
Gotham Café 8 South Anne Street, Dublin

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