Table Wine is a play of the phrase vin de table. If by play you mean direct translation. In France, this is the wine most winemakers drink. It might be the lowest classification in the wine world, but it does not diminish its quality.
Lately, its become the go-to wine for aficionados tired of trite traditions. Cork Dorks know that when you’re travelling, the locally produced vin de table is the soundtrack to a place you can never recapture at home. Here Kevin Powell and Brian O’Keefe keep the vibrant colloquial diversity of the phrase they take their name from. The dynamic duo has created a spot that punches above its weight and the high expectations the hype has set.
Set into the same spot as Meet Me in the Morning, their previous venture, Table Wine, is a Parisian style bistro with accidental but clear eastern European inspiration. It’s bright, simple and understated but with a staff full of personality. It’s a spot guaranteed to make you feel like you’re in some off-the-beaten in Montmartre.
First off, Table Wine is for flavour hounds. The menu is handcrafted decadence at its pinnacle. If you are into taste experiences, every dish here will draw a masterpiece of Jack B Yates’ standard that you’ll tell your grandchildren about. It is first and foremost a neighbourhood spot. They’ve created a language here that is as whole and romantic as any other. The rooms themselves are full of easter eggs from their other ventures that bring out the culinary nerds like MCU fanatics.
Date night. It’s not so expensive that you need to save this spot for an extravagant birthday. But it’s not your “fuck it. I don’t wanna cook” spot. You should book it in advance. Try to surprise your partner in life, crime, or culinary enthusiasm with “you’ll never guess where I nabbed us a rezzy”. Take the time to build up to it because it is worth the hype.
To name just one seems like a betrayal of the food, but if the deities say there must be one, it should be the pork belly, because we are still talking about it. The dish is a twist on Kakuni. As in braised Pork Belly, slathered with generous lashings of homely mustard mash. It has crunch and texture and a load of flavour. The Mustard in the jus is alive with spice without being overbearing. There is enough fat to bring that bounty of flavour without being that jelly-like texture that makes people’s pork belly adverse. If you only had the time or money for one dish it is the one you have to try. Though if you have enough of either you should also lead with the oysters.
You could do it on the cheap, but it should be done as a treat. If you’re going to go for something, you should always go all-in on it. But that kind of live by the sword mentality isn’t always practical. What Table Wine has done price-wise is ensure a couple can eat for fifty quid between them if they’re being budget-conscious. However, a party could lavash a few bob safe in the knowledge that it’s all locally sourced, expertly chefed, and fine wined.
The changeability. Chef Kevin Powell is more of a creator than Tyler. The menu fluctuates with the ingredients’ seasonability which is supremely difficult for restaurants. If a crop they were expecting fails, their budgets plans and laboured over menus are out the door. Here Kevin relishes the challenge. He doesn’t rue or regret what he can not control, but he knows his craft so well that he can work with the restrictions like a takeaway pint could never.
The excitement about working with and changing up recipes and menu selections permeates the air and Beatles a life into the walls. It makes for a happy, exciting atmosphere where staff are open to the new and next. So customers get enveloped by this and excited by it.
It has to be the crab sandwich. We know you’ve seen it everywhere. Industry heads are flocking to get a taste and gram of Dublin’s newest signature dish. But it would be remiss of me not to mention it. The birth of a signature dish can rarely be predicted. It’s almost like they birth themselves into legend. Sometimes a chef can lead with a plate to find everyone purring over their last-minute addition. Other times it can be a hair-brained creation that they thought no one would order. So here we have a triple-decker twist on a classic Irish crab sandwich that has its own buttery moist maker in the middle. It’s not for the faint-hearted or anyone with a cholesterol issue, but it is a sandwich that will inspire the next generation of culinary talent in ways we don’t yet understand.
Elsewhere on Char: Daring Pairing: Fish & Chips and Pear Cider