People never get thanked for being unpretentious, so let's that Neal and Jenny Magee of 101 Talbot for being unpretentious, and for running one of the best places in which to enjoy food in Dublin city centre. As Caroline Byrne points out, 101 “has an awesome energy when full”, and it's an awesomeness that is addictive: we have happy memories of so many good nights in here, sandwiched between birthday celebrations and people celebrating the fact that it's Wednesday, and people just celebrating because they are in a lovely room having lovely food with a bunch of people hell-bent on enjoyment.
“A favourite venue for a get-together” was what Catherine Cleary wrote in The Irish Times, which is true, but we have had solo dinners in 101 and loved them, because everyone else was having a great old time all around us, and happiness is addictive. Neal's cooking is spot-on: duck salad with roasted jerusalem artichoke; cannelloni of Irish goat's cheese with spinach and butternut squash; rump of Lough Erne lamb with fondant potato and red wine. Delightful, and unpretentious, and one is always glad to be climbing those famous stairs up into this eyerie of good times.