I have been to Dublin a few times in the last few years - mostly with Steve (who is not the biggest fan of the city - as most Corkonians) but never did I have the time to visit some of the fantastic starred restaurants. This weekend I finally made it. Wendy and I drove up on Friday night, while Sue and her brother flew up on Saturday morning. I started to beg Wendy almost immediately when we left Cork that I would love to eat at Patrick Guilbaud's restaurant. And I continued my begging on Saturday morning when we met with Sue and her brother. And they all agreed to go...(I think I forgot to mention the 2 stars). Anyhow, the visit was well worth it. We didn't have a booking but they made room for us (although we didn't look very posh, they treated us like kings). The front of house greeted us like long lost friends without being to 'theatrical' about it - we were simply welcomed. Most of the staff is French which adds to the flair of the restaurant. The dinner set is custom made for the restaurant in yellow and darkgrey with the frontdoor as en emblem. Classy but not tacky.
I started the lunch with a lovely chilled glass of Laurent Perrier Rose served in a very tall flute. I was feeling right at home. The restaurant has a lunch offer of €38 for 2 courses or €50 for 3 courses. I didn't fancy any of the 3 given options so I asked for a main from the a la carte menu....and there was no problem 'mixing & matching'. We were treated to an Amuse Bouche consisting of fois gras mousse and black cherry mousse (a pity I couldn't eat it but the others loved it). I opted for the jerusalem artichoke soup (I had it in Cafe Paradiso and it was yum so I wanted to see the difference). The soup was like silk, thinner than I expected but very very light and flavoursome. It was served with Brioche croutons. My main was handmade truffle tortellini with a garlic reduction and chive oil. The others had ravioli with ricotta cheese as a starter, Wendy had Brill for main, Sue and her brother opted for the cornfed chicken. There was no talk on the table as we all savoured the meal with every bite. It was a simple menu but the execution was outstanding. Desserts (ohhhh yes, we opted for the 3-course deal) were so pretty that I was going to propose to the pastry chef. The dessert special of the day was Vanilla Creme Brulee - and being in a French restaurant - 3 of us ordered it. Wendy opted for the panna cotta with passionfruit coulis. Again, there was only silence at the table. Tee & Coffee came with a small tray of petit fours and Wendy was very quick to grab the green macaroons and the strawberry tart.
Now let me tell you about the wine list.......it isn't a list. It is a bible. When the sommelier - a young guy (not bad looking either, girls) approached us, I got nervous when I saw the 'list'. You really have to go and see the 'list'. Anyhow, as it was only lunch I didn't want to go too heavy and as we all had ordered light dishes I thought we go for a rose. There was a lovely V.d.P des Collines from the Domaine du Monteillet, a non-vintage which suited the fish, the chicken and me perfectly :-).
Wendy was even so impressed that we are planning to return in October to celebrate her 5th anniversary in Ireland....