Dublin Woollen Mills closed in 2012, after a century of trading. The respectfully-named Woollen Mills restaurant took over the historical premises in 2013, a sister-restaurant of the award-winning, next-door Winding Stair. Having heard great things, a group of workmates and I tried it recently, wanting somewhere special to dine between the ceremony and ‘afters’ of a colleagues’ wedding.
We arrived en masse, spirits high after celebratory cocktails. We may have been some servers’ worst nightmare, but here we were warmly welcomed into a bustling environment. The early-bird menu was very reasonably priced for the absolutely gigantic portions. Service was prompt, and genuinely friendly.
To start I had ham-hock croquettes (pictured), served with a perfect sweet, crispy accompaniment of apple and watercress salad, cider-soaked sultanas, apple ketchup and pickled red cabbage. I sampled a friend’s similarly gorgeous gambas-on-toast with samphire and curry butter. Popular mains were the drool-worthy pork belly mac and cheese with onion marmalade (I couldn’t finish it: my heart said yes, my belly said no) and the towering Irish beef-cheek burger.
Location-wise, you can’t get more central, with views of the iconic Ha’penny Bridge and River Liffey from the double-aspect windows of the four floors of dining space (and roof terrace). Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and running their own bakery, their website calls it an ‘Eating House’, encouraging a quick bite, take-out, or a slow, sumptuous meal with wine – whatever you’re in the mood for. My friends and I’ll be in the mood for it again soon, I imagine!