In June 2019 – and it was another world of course – I reported that all the little birds of SoCoDu were on Twitter about the €1.6m renovation of the old post office on Blackrock’s Main Street.
Overwhelmingly, the gorgeous, blue-coloured fit-out overlooking the water and stunning views of Dublin Bay cannot compensate for the fact that the main focus of the restaurant is on expensive set diners at €70, €90 and €120, Also material that doesn’t match the prices, just don’t cut it.
he boasted of being The finest Chinese-Sichuan cuisine in a fine dining style and setting. The menu, however, did not excite much, and was devoid of upmarket treats such as lobster, abalone, oysters, or even crab—be it local, Alaskan, or the popular Chinese favorite, soft-shell.
The dishes were actually fairly basic, and given the sales pitch, I expected the menu to feature at least some of the more challenging, fancier Chinese specialties. Dining la carte, I was brought to two panko-crumbled, butterfly prawns at a shocking €32, which really took the biscuit.
Naturally, the restaurant did not last long. Recently hearing that the space was reopened as Rongcheng, I went to see what was happening there.
This is now entirely under David Wang, one of the three original partners, who later told me, “The customer response until March 2020 was very poor, and then, during the ensuing COVID period, investors opted to convert to a Chosen. Private club system. However, with the next 18 months in lockdown, Wang says, “by September 2021, the accumulated losses exceeded €3m. The two partners decided to withdraw their shares, and I took ownership.
In my original review, I said, “This place itself needs a long, hard look,” and Wang has done just that. The room is still lovely, offering such great views that should make it a popular spot, and now maybe it has that chance. Wang intends to turn it into “one of the best Chinese restaurants in Dublin or even Ireland”.
With a more reasonably priced and comprehensive menu, including traditional Chinese menus, and la carte, lunch and early bird menus, the offering here is now inviting – and I hope, delighting – to all comers. This time they were all ‘terror’, in whose absence I used to lament earlier.
As we traversed through the traditional Chinese menu – with offerings such as cloud ear with onions in black vinegar; Jelly fish with chili oil; ox tripe with shredded beef; Seafood in clay pots; sea bass with pig intestines; And wild rabbit with ginger sauce – there was certainly a lot of interest.
Yukio begins by blowing the conch XO Sauce (€16.80), a large sea-snail mollusk, is extremely popular in the Caribbean, Australia, Italy and the Far East. It was definitely a winner; The meat was thinly sliced, quickly stir-fried, and surrounded by a ribbon of cleverly pickled cucumber.
The more regular king prawns (€10.80) with salt and pepper and the trio of grilled Irish king scallops (€11.80) with black-bean sauce, both off the la carte menu, were delicious.
Our pick of menus came from a traditional Chinese menu, with Yuqiao’s perfectly prepared soft-shell crab (€36) tossed with minced spices, green onions and peppers, which, amid a gasping of bird’s-eye chili, he Said she loved. Ian went for the shredded chicken with hot garlic sauce (€21.80), while I steamed the whole black loin on the bone (€36), which was fantastic. Steamed rice (€3.50), egg-fried rice (€4) and noodles (€6) made up the sides.
To finish, I had a piece of the beloved French pear tart (€7.80), while Ian and Yukio had an American (two for €8). With a Campari/vermouth cocktail (€7.50) and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc (€7.50) for me, four Diet Cokes (€14), two large bottles of water (€11), and 12.5 pcs of service, our bill came to € 227.81.
7 Rock Hill,
BlackRock, Co Dublin.
Tel: (01) 555-9991