Dublin's Cleaver East & The Exquisite Dishes of Oliver Dunne


I have another great restaurant discovery for you from my most recent trip to Ireland. Situated on East Essex Street in the heart of Dublin sits Cleaver East, which is a beautiful blend of history, charm and traditional fare with a twist. While they have a full bar and apparently their cocktails are one of the main draws, their wine list is outstanding as well.

I dined at the bar, which I’d recommend if you’d like to learn more about the local scene. My neighbors, one English engineer, and two locals were tackling one cocktail after another while I got comfy with mostly deep, bold reds for the majority of the evening, that is after a couple of white wine pairings with seafood appetizers earlier in the evening. Note the word earlier – this was one of those evenings that went on for hours — I’d recommend starting out here for dinner but then heading back up to the heart of Temple Bar for post dinner drinks.

It sits in the historical district of Dublin just beyond the popular Temple Bar area, where night life is bustling into the wee hours of the morning. A great way to ignite all of your senses before and after dinner, is to meander down Temple Bar’s main drag, which eventually becomes Essex Street, and take in the smells, the colors, and mostly the sounds coming from the umpteen bars, many of which have live music playing most nights.

You’ll walk along a quaint cobblestone street until it starts to become a bit more windy and you’ll soon hit Cleaver East on your right hand side. This classic restaurant bridges old world dining with classic Irish pub ambiance and the food, is out of this world.

The history is worth noting since they’ve actually been around since 1852. The hotel was refurbished in the 1930’s and its location on the Quays, the thoroughfare for entering and leaving the city, made it the perfect location for an eclectic clientele, from visiting clergymen to bawdy musicians. This tired and shabby stopover was bought by Bono and The Edge in 1992 and transformed into a contemporary boutique hotel, the kind of place that they would choose to stay themselves. Their new Clarence Hotel opened in June 1996.

Bono can still be found here and in fact was in the night before with a group of Dublin Web Summit VIPs where they polished off some fabulous wines. I was fortunate to taste a couple of the wines his crew were drinking for most of the night — the 2010 Grand Vin de Domaine La Coste and the 2009 Grand Vin Chateau La Coste.

Before I happily got carried away with their luscious reds, I tried the PicPoul de Pinet (Domaine Langaran), with my second favorite dish, the Dublin Bay Prawn Dumplings with langostines and salmon mousse, served with oriental mushrooms, bok choy and lemongrass broth (pictured below).

I also fell in love with their Fivemiletown Goats cheese panna cotta served with basil (second photo below) served with mascarpone cream, slow roasted cherry tomatoes and pine nut praline as well as the Irish beef carpaccio with salsa verde, lemon, rocket pesto and pecorino crips (third photo pictured below). Yum!!

These scrumptious delights are the work of Executive Chef Oliver Dunne, who currently holds a Michelin Star for Bon Appetit in Malahide. Also on the appetizer menu worth exploring is the Citrus salmon with apple and fennel salad and smoked almonds or the crispy suckling pig belly with beetroot and hoi sin puree. (below)

For mains, they offer a Spinach and Buffalo Milk ricotta Cannelloni with Muscat Pumpkin with Basil Pesto and Buttered Greens, a Roast Organic Salmon with homemade Herb Gnocchi and Poached Hens Egg and Parmesan Pine Nuts (below), a Pan Fried Hake with Smoked Haddock Brandade, Lemon Gel, Spring Onion and Pistachio Dressing (second photo pictured below) and a Roast Fillet of Cod with Sweet and Sour Piquillo Peppers, Chorizo and Almond Minestrone.

Below is the Rare Breed Pork T-Bone, Slow Cooked Butternut Squash, Chorizo and Pork Shoulder Sausage served with Caramelised Pink Lady Apples. Yum!

For more classic traditional dishes, you can try the Caramelised Pink Lady Apples Surf n Turf, Seared Monkfish with Duck Croquettes or my favorite, the Cutlet of Wicklow Lamb with Crispy Lamb Breast (pictured below), Garlic Purée, Organic Golden Carrots, Crushed Swede and Rosemary Aioli.

For desserts, the Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta, Blackberry and Lemon Curd and Cinnamon Crumb concoction is to die for as is the Tiramisu with Chocolate and Almond Crumb and Espresso Gel. For chocolate lovers, they also had a yummy Dark Chocolate Ganache, Peanut Butter Mousse, Peanut Crumb and Pear Sorbet. (below)


Below is the Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta, Blackberry and Lemon Curd with Cinnamon Crumb.

We give Cleaver East a royal two thumbs up and would definitely return. I loved the staff as well as my neighbors, which goes a long way. Well done!

For more posts on the Ireland food scene, check out our Ireland food coverage as well as our Dublin food and top Dublin restaurants coverage.


Cleaver East

6-8 East Essex Street

Temple Bar

Dublin 2

353 1 531 3500

All photo credits are from the Cleaver East as the shots I took on my camera came out a bit too dark to post.


Note: I was hosted at the restaurant by all opinions expressed are entirely my own. I was not asked to write a review nor paid to write one.

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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7 Responses to Dublin's Cleaver East & The Exquisite Dishes of Oliver Dunne

  1. Catalonia Valencia December 1, 2014 at 9:38 am #

    The food looks sumptuous. As I am from Dublin, but have lived in Spain since 2003, I love to read reviews like this. I like to keep myself in the loop for visits back, which happen a few times during the year. I love my home town, but of course have become very used to the culture and food here. We can eat very well for a lot less here in Spain, especially if we try a menu del dia.

  2. Sugar Beet December 3, 2014 at 2:03 am #

    “I was hosted by all opinions expressed are entirely my own”.
    I’m not sure what you mean by this statement. You fail to mention that the images used in this article are professional commercial shots used by Cleaver East for promotion. There is no mention of cost in this piece, so the reader assumes “I was hosted”. I would love to be a “rent a reviewer”

  3. Renee Blodgett
    Travel/Food/Events December 3, 2014 at 3:03 am #

    Reference to photos should have been in there — updated. Usually I use my own photos but the shots I took were too dark to use unfortunately so I updated the post to note that this is the reason why I didn’t use them. I personally requested photos of specific dishes that I had that evening from the restaurant. By hosted, I mean just that, I was hosted by the restaurant. I was not asked to write a review, nor paid to write one. My opinions are my own and I had an incredible experience there – I also spend time talking to locals who are in there every week about the place, and have been for years – they all couldn’t stop singing the restaurant’s praises.

  4. Sugar Beet December 6, 2014 at 1:47 am #

    Thanks for clarifying that. My abiding memory of Cleaver East is that it’s so dark in there we had to use the lights on our phones to read the menu! You obviously had the same problem when taking your photos.

  5. Renee Blodgett
    Travel/Food/Events December 6, 2014 at 2:06 am #

    Yes it was super dark. I sat at the bar and talked to locals all night – had a blast!

  6. Renee Blodgett
    Travel/Food/Events December 6, 2014 at 2:06 am #

    Thanks for your response! Yes it was a great experience! I absolutely love Dublin.

  7. Sugar Beet December 7, 2014 at 10:55 am #

    It was empty the Friday night we ate there, which speaks volumes!!

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