Attention to detail is Neal Magee's secret, the secret of the lovely food he creates in 101 Talbot, and it is the thing that lifts his cooking into the memorable, into the definitive. He has an artist’s touch with seasoning and shaping, so the food is always attractively plated, whilst Mr Magee's style tends towards comfort – a dish of venison chilli with sour cream and basmati rice has a hit of heat, but the cream and rice cool the fire of the chilli, giving your taste buds balance, and satisfaction, comfort tickled with heat. He will do the same with a dish of lamb tagine, crafting an intricate couscous that balances the spicing, so each forkful sets off little tastebombs in your mouth. The 101 room itself is an ageless Dublin classic, a Northside classic, and walking up the stairs is always tinged with expectation and promise, and the staff and the cooking over-deliver on that promise, that expectation, every time.
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