One of the shortcomings of food writing in the press is that food writers often only write about the hot new places, and don’t celebrate some of the restaurants who quietly get on with the business of pleasing customers, and keeping standards high, year in year out. One such restaurant, and an old favourite of mine, is l’Gueuleton (pronounced as la-goul-a-ton) on Fade Street.
It was the only restaurant I knew when I first moved to Dublin nine years ago, and it’s been my failsafe ever since. Girls have been entertained here, plans have been hatched here, and life in general has been celebrated here.
When l’Gueuleton was first opened by its owner, hospitality veteran Declan O’Regan, and high profile chef Troy Maguire twelve years ago, it was notable for having a no-bookings policy, (since discarded) and ever since then Dubliners have been eating, drinking and enjoying themselves here in their droves.
O’Regan owns several sister properties including Kellys Hotel, Hogans, The Bar with No Name and the Drury Buildings. The day to day running is handled by manager Lorra Kent who has been in situ since the doors opened. The kitchen is led by Howth native Aoife Barker, who trained in Ballymaloe before spending time cooking in Australia, Germany and Spain before returning to Dublin and taking up the reins at the restaurant’s open kitchen.
I have a tendency to order the same things every time I visit: at lunch time it’s hard to beat the classic croque monsieur. For dinner it’s the signature French onion soup with homemade Guinness bread and the chargrilled rib-eye steak. The beef is sourced from the family run Gilligan Meats in Roscommon. Excellent value for money has remained a constant, especially with keen offers on quieter nights.
A combination of skinny margins, food costs, staffing costs, ruinous competition and just plain too many moving parts mean the odds are usually stacked against those who open a restaurant. Eighty per cent fail in the first five years. The restaurant business is show business and the job of the restaurateur is to make someone you don’t even know happy, and this takes tremendous logistical, physical and emotional effort day in day out. Opening a restaurant is one thing but, to keep customers coming back year after year, is a formidable achievement and one the team at l’Gueuleton past and present can be proud of.
Photos: © Matthew Thompson by kind permission of L'Gueuleton
lgueuleton.com 1 Fade Street, Dublin 2