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A perfect t-bone from McLoughlin’s butchers shows how The Green Hen plays to its bistro strengths, says Sally McKenna.

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There was a time when we would look mistily into the distance, and conjure up images of a typical French bistro where you could order and get a good steak, proper chips, something to dip them in, and a good bitter salad.
In The Green Hen, on Dublin’s Exchequer Street, they’ve brought that dream to Dublin and made it real. In fact, they’ve made it better, because they source their steak from the wonderful McLoughlin’s butchers in Ballyfermot.
Kate and Pat McLoughlin also serve high-end city restaurants such as Patrick Guilbaud and Pearl Brasserie, so this is top notch meat, and it’s a credit to this bistro that they source with such care from such meticulous butchers.
The Hereford Rib Eye is one of the main reasons why the Green Hen is popular, and why it’s always busy, especially at lunchtime. The Rib Eye comes with a good béarnaise, good chips, and a well chosen salad of simple watercress. Pretty perfect.
On the evening we visited, I also ordered that current darling of the restaurant kitchen: the rump of lamb. Boy, this cut is having its moment. The lamb came with fine green beans, a salad, salsa and some quite odd potatoes. They were listed as being a confit of potato but, whilst the spuds didn’t work, but the rest of the plate was good.
Another misstep was the charcuterie plate, which mixed good olives, homemade breads and delicious smoked almonds with some rather bland, imported salamis and cured meats. No doubt this will change now that more and more excellent Irish charcuterie is being produced. A creme brûlée, however, went back to being simple and classic.
The Green Hen is part of the Mercantile group of well managed pubs with a high design ethos. It’s a clever mix of your dream Irish pub, selling mostly your dream French bistro food. It’s open late on Fridays and Saturdays, serves good cocktails, and does a great job in feeding locals and visitors in central Dublin.
33 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2 thegreenhen.ie

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