What would be even better than having an actual little white pig at this restaurant?
No, not a hedgehog in neon leg-warmers, smoking a pipe, that’s ridiculous.
I’d say a one-eyed pug and an Italian greyhound called Laughing Gravy (in homage to the dog in the Laurel & Hardy film of the same name) would come pretty close.
They were part of the petting zoo welcoming committee at this new place, which has taken residence in a Dublin Street basement.
According to the online literature, aside from being dug and family friendly, this pub describes itself as unpretentious.
Indeed, it’s a bit like walking into your posh pal’s bohemian New Town living room, with mismatched furniture and cushion Munros, arty posters, fairy lights, fresh irises on tables and comfy chairs slung with sheepskin.
The food, too, is pretty chillaxed.
So much so that there wasn’t much available at all on our Sunday lunchtime bang-on-noon trip.
Don’t make the same mistake as I did, and choose in advance based on their online list, as this seems to be a rough draft. Also, on the printed one that we were handed, apart from steak, it turned out there were none of the listed mains.
No roast of the day, zero cheeseburger or fish and chips. A drinks list? Nope.
“Well, what would you like?” asked the waiter. “A cocktail, please.” “What flavours?”. “Sour.” “Is there a specific type you want?”
There’s the feeling of winging it, but I ended up with an electrifyingly lemony gin mixture (£7.50) that boasted a kick that was harder than a hedgehog trying to escape its embarrassing leg-warmers.
Food-wise, we cobbled something together.
There was one portion of mussels (£7.50) on offer. Bagged it.
It was unremarkable but good, with loads of these beasts in a simple white wine, garlic and leek sauce, and a substantial hunk of sourdough.
The vegan option on the specials board – beer battered avocado (£11.95) – was also a go-er.
However, I’m not sure how I feel about this dish in general. Hot avocado does tend to divide the crowd.
Still, they made the best of it, as this was a huge portion consisting of umpteen wedges of creamy fruit in thick batter, like frogs in puffer jackets, along with a slightly spicy passata, and bubble-skinned burnished padron peppers.
Since everything on the lengthy Snacks/Starters/Sides option seemed to be available, we sampled a few bits and pieces.
The crispy salt and pepper squid (£5.95) featured a bowlful of dinky golden links – like fishy Cheerios – in a light tempura batter, and came with a sriracha injected mayo dip.
While, chorizo in cider (£5.95) – oily counters of spicy meat, served in a terracotta dish with a hunk of sourdough on the side – was decent enough too. The mac ‘n’ cheese bites (£5.95) weren’t bad, with four dense cubes of tightly packed pasta, and a blob of tomato pulp on the top.
Oh, and we also ordered a dish from the Brekkie menu – shirred eggs (£8.95). It consisted of a cast iron dish full of smoky beans and passata, all topped with two solid-centred baked eggs and a sprig of coriander.
There are no puddings on the printed list, but they can do you a sundae. Choose from banoffee or brownie versions (£5.95 each). We took both.
They were highly unsophisticated, but excellent dirty tombolas of vanilla ice-cream, caramelised bananas, gooey centred brownie and other contraband gloop. We washed these down with some pretty dire coffee (flat white, £2.50).
Despite the dodgy Joe, we spent nearly three hours here, much of which was spent playing with the dog.
This place has charm, even if it feels like you’ve visited an eccentric buddy’s house without an invite, and they’ve had to throw together an unplanned lunch. Still, I’m happy as long as I have my laughing gravy (and the canine version too). n