Go Fork Yourself: The Exchequer’s Ledger of Liquor
OverviewType: Bistro, Restaurant
Pros:Amazing cocktail variety, great location, fantastic food
Cons:Confusing bar layout, crowded atmosphere
The Exchequer ‘Ledger of Liquor’ is a veritable tome of boozy delights with a macabre twist. Seán went along to sample the wares.
The ‘Ledger of Liquor’ was unearthed many moons ago, as the Exchequer would have us believe, but refined, rekindled and re-imagined by chief cocktail madman Robert Caldwell, the newest addition to The Exchequer team. Known mostly for its gastropub offering, the Exchequer street mainstay has a long history of cocktail excellence and 2013′s Ledger of Liquor is a veritable tome of boozy delights that looks like it comes straight from 1813; think scrawls and scratches, educational notes in handwritten ink, and dark perilous tales-from-the-crypt around certain drinks. All working to provide a setting that’s deliciously dark! We went along to sample what they had in store.
Though our visit was originally supposed to be a bout of cocktail tasting, a hunger rumble and a straight-from-work dash meant food definitely had to be on the cards. Can’t be drinking on an empty stomach, DrinkAware.ie kids. We were greeted by owner Ian Tucker, who makes a well versed and charismatic front of house. He took us through the volume of aperitifs, dessert cocktails, winter warmers and shooters. He recommended that I begin with a Smokey Old Fashioned and herself a Ruby Manhattan. Now, I’ve had my share of Old Fashioneds, but this was unlike anything I’d had before. A small personal decanter complete with mystic swirling mist trapped inside with a stopper and a whiskey glass containing the most perfect ball of ice. Instructed to leave the smoke swirl to strengthen the taste, I poured and sipped as I went. I have truly found my cocktail soulmate. Herself found the ruby Manhattan rich and syrupy with a single boozy cherry resting at the bottom. Definitely a sipper too. As we finished these our food arrived. Being in a bit of hurry, we had only ordered two mains.
My main – Ling fingers, pea puree and chips – was tasty, but not stand-out. Battered in a nyom-tastic Dungarvan blonde ale batter, the fish was fresh and a decent portion. The chips were plentiful and hand cut. But the best food we had by far was my good lady’s braised beef short rib complete with spinach, celeriac, blue cheese croquette, fondant potato and meat juice. Succulent and moist, the meat fell away from the bone and I’d have happily drank the meat juice solo . The croquette was creamy and substantial. All round, a hearty comfort meal.
After mains came the next onslaught of boozy delights: a Zombie and a Key Lime Pie cocktail. The key lime came recommended before I’d even set foot inside! The theatre of both of these drinks was something to marvel at, to be sure – the key lime was lime liquor, topped with raw meringue, served in a glass rimmed with biscuit. Upon its delivery to the table, Ian produced a flame torch which cooked the meringue perfectly there and then! But that wasn’t all; the Zombie arrived at the table as seven types of rum, absinthe and a floating lime resembling the boat of the dead. Aptly, said lime/death boat was set on fire, and sprinkles of nutmeg provided amateur pyrotechnics! What was a rather visually appealing cocktail turned rather curdled looking when stirred, but it tasted absolutely fantastic. Sheer rocket fuel however; a few gulps and I was merrier than most. DrinkAware kids, DrinkAware.ie.
Our final farewell to The Exchequer and their ledger came in the form of Hendrick’s high tea, which is served in an intricate bone china teapot emblazoned with Hendrick’s Gin heraldry with matching cups and saucers. The cocktail was cold, thankfully, and brewed in the pot. We helped ourselves to a concoction of Hendrick’s, tonic, lemon, pepper, and cucumber slices. Now admittedly, I’m no gin fan, but herself absolutely adored it, from presentation to taste.
During our evening quite a few people were looking over, pointing and marvelling at what we were drinking and the theatre around it. There was no specials here guys. All are in the ledger; you just have to know where to look! So get down and treat yourself to arguably the best cocktails in town, with a macabre twist.