Featherblade, Dublin by William Barry

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The conversation had turned to “things which annoy people the most.”

Everyone around the table in Featherblade chimed in with the usual human shortcomings: bad grammar; slow drivers in the fast lane, selfies...

What about you? someone asked me across the table.

I explained how It gets my back up when people call themselves carnivores. Human beings are not carnivores, humans are omnivores, lions are carnivores. If a human tried to be a carnivore it wouldn’t end well.

I’m not a carnivore, but I cherish good steak. I like admiring it in butcher’s displays, raw, blood-colored and framed by creamy white fat, the steak that sleeping dogs in old cartoons dream of. Or I think of it cooking, sizzling, crosshatched in a smoking cast iron pan, drenched in butter and lying in its own juices resting before serving.

Featherblade on Dublin’s Dawson street is about a year old and has proven to be a hit from the off. I enjoyed two recent visits. The food philosophy is “pick one food and do it exceptionally well.” They have chosen the restaurant’s namesake, the featherblade steak, supplied by FX Buckley’s and McLoughlin’s craft butchers. The featherblade is marinated for 24 hours before coating with a seasoned rub and seared on a very hot grill. It’s not the most tender steak in the world but for €13 it doesn’t have to be. The sides and sauces are all excellent, especially the whiskey peppercorn sauce.

Featherblade works because of the people and the food behind it. The young team is led by Paul McVeigh. Athlone native McVeigh has earned his stripes the right way: Ballymaloe trained, he has worked in Chapter One, The Greenhouse, and in the US with a leading hospitality group, and he made a conscious decision to work front of house for a time to gain a wider understanding of the business.

After a few years travelling the world cooking on superyachts he came back to fulfill his ambition to open his own place. Jamie O’Toole is the other half of FB and runs the room with the grace and awareness of a seasoned pro despite up until recently having spent his career working in finance. Expect more for this formidable duo.

And don’t call me a carnivore.

51 Dawson St, Dublin 2
Phone: (01) 679 8814