Earlier this month, Vancity Buzz swung by Granville and Nelson for a casual menu tasting at Doolin’s Irish Pub. By offering all the perks of a modern sports bar, yet retaining the authenticity of a traditional Irish pub, Doolin’s has garnered a loyal patronage over the years. Highlighted by a beautiful 30-foot mahogany bar that boasts 22 lines of beer on tap, the space is further complemented by an extensive food menu and friendly staff.
Instead of simply ordering a couple pints of Guinness and calling it a day, we decided to place our order entirely in the capable hands of the chef. We specifically requested the kitchen select dishes that they felt were worth highlighting which made the lunch experience a bit more interesting.
Ahi Tuna Wonton Tacos $8: Lightly seared sashimi grade Ahi tuna, served on crispy wonton shells with fresh mango salsa and topped with a light wasabi cream sauce.
When this appetizer first arrived to our table, I must admit I was quite surprised. Although our waitress had informed us in advance it was coming, the visual impact still caught me off guard. Beautifully composed and plated, this delicate serving is definitely not what you would expect to see in a pub setting. Looks aside, the ahi tuna was nicely seared and very fresh. A gentle sweetness lent by the fresh mango salsa, each of the six pieces were quickly eaten with a satisfying crunch. As a light, well-balanced appetizer, this $8 starter is ideal for a small group looking for something slightly more refined.
Pan Seared Scallops w/ Roasted Chorizo Sausage $9: Pan seared scallops topped with chorizo sausage and served with savory red pepper reduction, pesto and shaved parmesan.
Another choice by the chef, my thoughts on this appetizer are much the same as the Ahi tuna. Purely on a visual appraisal, you will undoubtedly forget you are in a pub. This offering is composed of three nicely sized scallops which are pan seared and then placed on top of thin slices of chorizo sausage. Deftly popping one of the scallops into my mouth, I was definitely interested in the flavor profile. Logically, the scallop was the dominant element but the red pepper reduction and hint of pesto really worked well together as tie-in flavours. For $9, this starter is definitely targeted at a niche demographic as I would think most pub patrons would not order pan seared scallops to go with their beer. That said, I enjoyed the dish for what it was.
Wings $12: A pound of crispy chicken wings served with carrot and celery sticks. Flavours include: BBQ, curry, hot, honey garlic, lemon zest, salt & pepper, teriyaki and extra hot banshee sauce.
After the first two fancier appetizers, I felt the need to order something more pub traditional so I asked the kitchen to send out some BBQ wings. As far as wings go, these were pretty good. For $12, you get about a pound of crispy, sauce slathered wings and a side of vegetables. Each wing was quite well sized and contained a nice amount of meat. In previous visits, I have tried the hot wings and the honey garlic wings and honestly enjoyed them both. With a pint of cold beer, nothing beats this starter in an Irish pub setting.
Lamb Shank $16: Braised tender lamb shank drizzled in lamb jus with a touch of red wine, served with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables.
After three starters, we asked the chef to pick a main/entrée for us to try. The last time I was at Doolin’s, I believe I ordered a flatbread and a burger so I was definitely hoping to try something a little different. Coming in at $16, the braised lamb shank is quite a substantial plate of food. Headlined by a massive shank, this main can be shared by two people easily. The lamb meat itself was very tender and fell off the large bone quite easily. Marinated beautifully in lamb jus and red wine, the meat was very easy to consume. In addition to the formidable shank, there was a very generous amount of creamy mashed potatoes and vegetables. I was not able to finish the entire serving but of what I had, it was very hearty. This is definitely an entrée fit for our long and gray Vancouver winters.
Overall, I was pretty pleased with the dishes we were given to sample. Realistically, other than the wings, the dishes we tried are definitely not considered to be traditional pub fare. That said, Doolin’s should be commended for taking a risk and effort to present a menu that offers something a little different. By offering familiar staples like pulled pork burgers and nachos, Doolin’s provides bar patrons with the option to go with what they know or try something new. With a generous selection of beer and noticeably genial staff, it is not hard to see why so many keep returning to this comfortable establishment.
654 Nelson Street at Granville
Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Phone Number: 604-605-4343