>The Unicorn


The twenty-year anniversary of our graduation from the old UCD Engineering School around the corner was the occasion for a dinner at the Unicorn. Hidden down an alleyway off Merrion Row, the Unicorn was for years my favourite Dublin restaurant. As a student I used to gaze down the alleyway and imagine what it would be like to have the money to eat in a place like that.

A couple of scoops in Doheny and Nesbitts, and six of us arrived for our table at nine o’clock. Naturally, we had to wait at the tiny, cramped bar (the Unicorn doesn’t rush you out the door) but we were entertained by a nice bottle of Chianti and a couple of plates of parma ham freshly cut from the specimen on the counter.

The Unicorn’s menu looks a bit dated now, and then the waiter told us that there were no prawns. On second glance, the menu was pretty heavy on the prawns and Dublin Bay Prawns. That meant about half the dishes were no longer available. Disappointing. The pasta options were a little obvious – carbonara, amatriciana etc. I found myself struggling to choose something appetising. Finally I opted for the goat’s cheese salad to start, followed by saltimbocca, and was not disappointed.

I guess we were focusing more on the conversation than the food, but what I saw around the table was predictable and perfectly edible, but forgettable really. The place was full to bursting, and still has a reputation of a place to see and be seen, but for the price (90 euros a head including wine – that’s about $150 Australian) I would be expecting a lot more.

Service was lovely – professional, friendly without being overbearing (except perhaps when he tried to explain to me what parma ham was ) and efficient.

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