What a beautiful room Allta is, a dreamscape wine bar with all the best Stax tunes pouring sweetly from a pair of Toby Hackett bespoke speakers that hang from the ceiling. Darkly lit and seductive, the room represents a new modernity for Dublin. Niall Davidson and his team want a relaxed vibe in Allta, which means they have to work extra hard to emit the necessary sangfroid, and no kitchen that creates its own charcuterie is afraid of graft. Some elements of Allta make the customer work hard, too - the wine list is comprehensive, yet opaque; the dishes work well as a table menu, but conjoin less successfully when served on their own; and whilst we have friends who have enjoyed delicious breads with dinner, there were no breads when we ate, a bizarre happening with pasta sauces to be mopped up and charcuterie to be enjoyed. But when they hit the spot, they nail it: the smoked Gubbeen cappelletti is a masterpiece, and the crab bigoli is so good it doesn’t need the richness of the egg yolk that sits on top. The potential is undeniable.
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