It has been a year since I have been to Augustine's and it was bloody time to go again. Last time I was ecstatic about the food and the service and I was eager to see if they were able to maintain the level - especially as the head chef has left in the meantime to go to England and they took on a new chef.
My worries were unfounded. The restaurant itself looked as polished as it did last year with white table linen and sparkling glasses. The front of house (I keep forgetting to ask her name) remembered us from a year ago (I have to admit, we are unforgettable) and welcomed us back like old friends.
The menu changes regularly and always includes a vegetarian option. Last year it was Risotto Nero (even better than Ivory Tower's version - sorry Seamus) and this time it was Mushroom Risotto (you will say that it sounds boring - but keep reading). The risotto was served with truffle oil and they weren't skimpy on the oil, so that the flavour of the truffles came through nicely. We started talking to the front of house (and I am deeply sorry not to have the name, let's call her Mrs Cashman) and when I told her that I had risotto last time, she offered straight away that the chef would cook something different for me (loved the fact that it was possible but I am glad I took the risotto). Anyway, here is the menu:
Steve: Starter - Tuscan Vegetable Soup with gnocchi (one word from a person who doesn't really like soups - YUM), Main - Hake wrapped in Parma Ham (came with Parsnip puree and potato gratin - perfectly cooked fish), Dessert - We shared a platter of 8 tasting dessert.
Me: Starter - Ravioli stiffed with goats' cheese flavoured with smoked paprika (pasta was just perfectly cooked and the filling was very flavoursome indeed), Main - the mushroom risotto (the truffle oil made the risotto an experience), served with a Parmesan cookie, dessert - shared a platter with Steve
The Dessert Tasting Platter arrived on 2 plates and included raspberry mint jelly, lemon mousse, white chocolate soup, shortbread, brownies, cherry ice cream, and to save my life, I can't remember the other 2 desserts (I didn't have my notebook with me and also forgot the camera). But let's say, it looked not only amazing but was extremely yummy.
Since good old Steve had to drive, I had a Prosecco Le Contesse (available from Wines Direct €13.45) to start with. For the main I choose Domaine de Millet Rose 2007 which was fresh and crisp but went well with the risotto as it was dry and strong enough to cope with the mushrooms and truffle oil. The dessert wine was Muscat de Rivesaltes Domaine Gardiés Flor 2006- quite peachy but the acidity cut nicely through the different desserts.
Bill came to €86 which was a bargain compared to the food we had (I only had glasses of wine).
Occasion: Steve and mine 10th anniversary