Bustling with diners, Woollen Mills Eating House’s menu was as busy as the restaurant, with an impressive range of dishes to enjoy in its welcoming setting

THE recently opened Woollen Mills restaurant is housed in the building of the same name, on Lower Ormond Quay, with great views across the Liffey.
We dined there on a busy Saturday at lunchtime, with queues out the door. I was pleased to see that the seasoned waiters – many of whom I recognised from other stalwarts around the Dublin food scene – were still attentive and didn’t seem the least bit addled.
The food is inventive, with lots of influences from all over the world, but is also focuses on some old-skool Irish dishes, too, with the likes of coddle and ham and chips.
We went for a portion of Jerusalem artichoke hummus, served with deep-fried wedges cooked with sprinklings of crispy sage (€7) to start.
This was an unctuous dish, and I found myself scraping the remains of the hummus from the bowl when all the wedges were devoured.
For the main, my friend plumped for the beef cheek burger, served with beef tomato, red onion, pigs on the green bacon and mature Irish cheddar (€11).
This was a big, bold dish with meat heaped out over the sides. I couldn’t wait to try this dish, as I love beef cheek.
However, my friend’s face said it all after one bite. The flavour of the meat was too strong for her and she decided, with much mortification, that she couldn’t eat it.
I made sure to sample it before the friendly waiter removed it from the table and offered something else instead. It was delicious, but if you prefer a burger straight-up (the old-fashioned way), this may not be for you.
Instead, she went for the pigs on the green pork shoulder, served on a bed of iceberg lettuce, with caramelised onions, Young Buck’s Blue Cheese buttermilk dressing, and crispy bread (€10).
The pork was succulent, and was nice and stringy and oozed with buttermilk dressing. It was delicious, but very rich.
My main course of black sole tongues, deep fried with saffron mayo and caper berries (€14) was presented with skill.
Two chunky pieces of fish were assembled on a wooden chopping board with some lettuce and whole caper berries (inset). The batter was paper thin, light and crispy, and the fish perfect.
However, I was half way through my second piece of fish when I discovered that some of the batter had not cooked fully, and was oozing out of the fish.
I explained to the waiter that the dish had been delicious up to that point, but I was now full.
However, he presented me with another piece of fish that was more well-cooked and explained that sometimes the batter gets caught within the fish, and this can cause it to not cook fully.
Everything was washed down with a nice bottle of Gruner Vetliner, Weingut Markus Huber 13, Niederosterreich Austria (€32), which actually comes from casks and not a bottle. It was very smooth, and easy to drink.
To finish, we had two delicious cappuccinos and the kitchen sent out a plate of treats, on the house, as the maitre’d knew there had been some “messing” with the food.
It was a kind gesture, but it probably would have been better to just remove the fish from the bill, which they didn’t.
In my opinion, some of the flavours and dishes need tweaking, but the food has the potential to be amazing; there were just a couple of mishaps on the day.
I most definitely will be returning, and I think this place will become a regular on the food scene