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Yew Tree review: Brilliant value at this under-the-radar neighbourhood restaurant

This south Dublin local eatery is so well priced for such good food I’m not quite sure how they pull it off

Yew Tree
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Address: 90 Terenure Rd N, Terenure, D6W RR82
Telephone: 01 551 0231
Cuisine: Modern International
Cost: €€

It was tempting to go to Yew Tree for Sunday lunch, because a restaurant that does roast free-range chicken or roast Black Angus beef with all the trimmings for €26 sounds like my sort of place. And if you want to have a starter, it is just €33 for two courses, with some lovely options on the line-up of starters.

But, in the interest of research, I decide to explore the more extensive small plates menu that runs from Wednesday to Saturday, and in case you prefer to order your own grub and tell everyone, mitts off, this is doable here too. Sirloin steak and moules marinieres can easily be ring-fenced as main courses if that is how you prefer to dine.

As my darling husband knows, he gets little say in things when I am reviewing, so it is the usual strategy of taking an optimum line through the menu without getting too stuffed. Everything shared, of course, and we are both happy with that. At least, he says he is.

There are a few snacks – almonds, olives and vegetable crisps – but mostly it is small plates priced €7-€18, with a sharing sirloin steak for €48.

Yew Tree is run by Máire Ní Mhaolie and Geoff Carty, seasoned operators who spent considerable time in the FX Buckley restaurant group before taking over The Headline Bar at Leonard’s Corner, which they ran for 10 years. It was one of Dublin’s great pubs, with an emphasis on craft beer and a tantalising range of gins; hipster, but not too intimidating. Before Covid hit, they had steadily been building a name for themselves as a destination for good quality food cooked by Mahmidul Hassan.

They are now serving some of the popular dishes from their menu there in the comfortable room that was once home to Circa. They found that their regulars loved the idea of sharing plates and just popping in for a casual bite and a glass of wine, so that is exactly what they have continued to do in this under-the-radar eatery.

The vegetable fritters (€8.50) are quite similar to an onion bhaji, with grated carrot, onion and red pepper dipped in turmeric tinted batter that has laced into a crunchy bite, with nicely frazzled bits of onion adding caramelised flavour. They are light and tasty, dipped in curry mayo.

The calamari (€14) is a substantial portion with rectangular curls of fresh squid that have been scored and dipped in batter, then cooked to a golden crunch. The lemon aioli goes nicely with it, as does our bottle of Maias (€41) a crisp white wine from the Dao region of Portugal.

The wine list is concise, with a handful of bottles under €40. There are a number of wines by the glass, and it is particularly good to see that the sparkling option is Mas Candi Brut Nature Corpinnat (€10.50) from a small Cava producer rather than a run of the mill Prosecco that is so common. You will also find spritzs, sherries, port and craft beer on the drinks list.

For our larger plates, it is sirloin steak (€18) which comes with a fondant potato. It’s charred and deliciously rare inside, drizzled with a tasty jus. The haddock (€15) is equally good, a beautifully cooked piece of fish, served with a beurre blanc and green beans. This really is all we want for dinner, but if you were feeling a bit hungrier, you could add on rosemary potatoes which would make these small plates a proper main course.

There are three desserts, so we ask the advice of our waiter who resolutely recommends the opera cake (€8), with coffee-soaked layers of sponge and butter cream, and the roulade which has a nice crunch and marshmallowy interior which just needs a tiny bit more fruit in the middle.

Terenure, or Tír an Iuir (the land of the yews), can be quite fickle when it comes to restaurants. I used to wonder when I saw an Italian restaurant (since closed) that was jammed to the gills. It was perhaps that it managed to cater well to families. What they are doing in Yew Tree goes against everything you hear about the vagaries of the restaurant industry, and I’m not quite sure how they pull it off. But I am glad it is in my neighbourhood because it is so well priced for such good food. I will be back for dinner, the Sunday roast lunch, and indeed a Rueben sandwich from their weekday lunch menu.

Dinner for two with a bottle of wine was €112.50.

THE VERDICT: Amazing value for such lovely food.

Music: L’Impératrice, Khruangbin and chilled sounds.

Food provenance: Kish Fish, JJ Young, and Caterway.

Vegetarian options: Goat’s cheese, vegetarian fritters and vegetarian roast on Sunday.

Wheelchair access: Fully accessible with accessible toilet.

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