Monkstown is very Other, as in The Other Half and how they live. This unquestionably posh seaside village has over ten restaurants competing for the attention of its well-heeled residents. Joining the ranks is Lobstar, a seafood restaurant owned and run by husband-and-wife team Veronika and Zsolt Zakar which opened in December. Does Monkstown really need another restaurant?
Even before the couple moved to Ireland from Hungary five years ago, where Zsolt worked as a chef, they had been planning to open their own restaurant. Veronika manages the front of house in this small and cozy seafood restaurant with warmth and efficiency. It’s no surprise to hear she grew up working in her family restaurant back home. With Lobstar, the couple decided to highlight two of our best Irish ingredients; steak and lobster. Their main seafood supplier is the wholesalers Ocean Marine, owned and run by The Rogerson Family whose fishmongers, George’s Fish Shop, is just a few doors down from Lobstar in Monkstown. Their main lobster supplier is Celtic Lobster based in Howth.
Lobster is certainly the star here but the steak isn’t allowing itself to be relegated to a supporting role, either. The 10oz dry aged rib eye steak (€28.95) is from the Sheelin range of Liffey Meats, sourced by Lobstar from Redmond’s Fine Foods. For an extra €13.95, we add half a lobster to the steak in Lobstar’s version of the ultimate surf’n’turf. It can be criminally easy to mess up seemingly straightforward ingredients like lobster and steak. Luckily, we’re in excellent hands here with Zsolt. The steak is a perfect medium rare, juicy and flavourful, and the lobster is cooked just right so that it’s sweet, soft and moist.
There’s finesse evident here, too, in a delicate starter of pan-fried scallops served alongside al dente florets of Romanesco broccoli and a crumbled hunk of black pudding (€12.15). I get my first taste of the Hawaiin raw fish dish poke, which some have predicted to be Dublin’s next food trend. Lobstar’s take is the Ahi Tuna Poke (€10.95), a tidy pile of raw tuna deliciously seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil and fresh chillis.
Apart from the surf’n’turf showstopper, a New York style lobster roll (€21.95) arrives in a sweet and toasted brioche bun. There’s just a touch too much of the egg fried mayo, overpowering the lobster slightly. It’s a small portion, as lobster rolls tend to be, but it’s rich and filling. The mango salad on the side is fresh and well dressed but it’s really the accompanying fries that I’m interested in.
We get a bowl of regular twice-cooked fries as part of our lobster roll and a bowl of the Truffle and Parmesan fries as part of our surf’n’turf. The latter of two arrives piled high with thin shavings of Parmesan cream and dollops of truffle oil infused mayo. We aren’t fans of the truffle essence in the mayo and actually prefer the less complicated spuds, particularly as there are already a lot of rich flavours vying for centre stage on our table already.
Desserts are really good, too, with a rich chocolate mousse (€6.10) served with a sprinkling of sea salt, and a light Eton Mess (€5.45) which is more cream that overly-sweet meringue.
If Lobstar on a busy Thursday night is anything to go by, it appears that Monkstown’s appetite can indeed stretch to make room for another restaurant. Our bill, which includes a large bottle of San Pelligrino (€4.25) two glasses of pinot grigio (€6.95 per glass) and a glass of rioja (€9.15) comes to a total of €126.80. Highly recommended for your next dinner out with friends or family. It’s a successful crossover of a special treat with a casual feel, particularly if you splash out on that superb surf’n’turf.
101 Monkstown Road
Words: Aoife McElwain
Images: Killian Broderick