I know how Pavlov’s dog must have felt, the sound of that bell causing salivation and hunger, but with no dinner anywhere in sight. RTÉ Radio 1’s ‘This Week’ jingle hasn’t changed in decades, and when I hear it I too start to salivate, and I can’t help but be transported into my mother’s kitchen. I feel the heat of the oven, I see the red Formica table, and inevitably I smell roast beef and Bisto sauce.
More usually we had roast chicken, but there was roast lamb and roast beef often enough that the Pavlovian smells that haunt my brain at 1 p.m. on Sundays seem like a mix of all three, with a flavorful stuffing with thyme somewhere in the background.
I still regularly cook a Sunday roast but we serve it at 7 or 8pm so if I want an old fashioned Sunday lunch that means going somewhere like the Old Spot in Dublin 4, or The Exchequer at Ranelagh. Recently, however, I heard good things about No. 57 The Headline on Leonard’s Corner, so off we went.
57 offers three courses for €29 per person, which has to be one of the most economical Sunday lunches in town. Run by Geoff Carty and his partner Máire Ní Mhaoile, the pub is light and bright inside, yet retains many of the features of the traditional Irish pub. One thing that is not so traditional (thank goodness) is the extensive beer list which has around 25 craft beers and changes regularly.
We started with pints of beer – an aptly named ‘Day Drinkin’ IPA from Third Barrel Brewing (€6.50) which was fruity and satisfying despite only having 4% alcohol. A ‘Stairway to Helles’ lager from Two Sides Brewing (€6.30) for The Physicist, meanwhile, had a hint of creamy texture, good aromas of noble hops, and was consistently refreshing and clean. These two beers worked brilliantly with our starters Crispy Salt and Chilli Calamari (€9) and Housecooked Chicken Wings (€8).
The calamari was properly crispy thanks to a light coating of breadcrumbs, and the tangy lime yogurt dressing on the side provided good contrast without adding too much weight (and calories). The chicken wings were tender and juicy and Frank’s hot sauce was serviceable – the smoky BBQ sauce was also probably the best option.
The duck spring rolls had a decent ratio of sweet duck to crispy dough and matched The Engineer’s wine choice – Maretti Langhe Rosso Nebbiolo-Barbera for just €36. This wine is usually priced around €42, and I’ve even seen it for €52, so it was a bargain.
The wine list at 57 has around 24 wines including a number of wines that I like – I could also have opted for Enrique Mendoza Monastrell, the Wellanschitz Blaufränkisch or the Quinta das Maias Do. White choices include Gavi, Grüner-Veltliner and the good Soave – if only other pubs put so much thought into their wines.
The main course you must order is the Sunday Roast (€19) which is dry-aged Black Angus beef with roast potatoes, honey carrots, greens, herb stuffing and homemade gravy. The engineer bagged it first and it was excellent – rare tender beef, meat sauce, thyme flavored stuffing like my mother made and sweet carrots. My pork chop was solid, although drier than I like it, but the Physicist’s Double Smash Burger was excellent with extra cheese and good quality meat.
Desserts cost €7.50, with the best of the three options being the light and airy chocolate mousse. The sticky caramel pudding could have been a little stickier and more toffier and the raspberry cheesecake was maybe a little heavy on the raspberry for my taste, but they all got eaten.
I quibbled a bit on some of the dishes above, but please ignore me, just pop into this pub on a Sunday, order the roast beef and bring back some memories.
Sunday dinner for three including three starters, main courses and desserts plus a bottle of wine and four pints of craft beer costs just €148.60.
- Food: 7.5/10
- Drink 9/10
- Serving: 9/10
- Atmosphere: 9/10
- Value: 9.5/10
Great value Sunday lunch with a top notch drinks list, in a lovely and welcoming pub.