I had the pleasure during the week of finally getting to visit the ‘new’ Avoca in Monkstown. Having heard much about the beautiful shop, the impressive James Whelan butchery counter and the wonderful wafting smells of rotisserie chicken courtesy of Poulet Bonne Femme, not to mention the walk-in cheeseroom- I was excited to finally pay the place a visit.
We dined midweek and in what was sign of things to come we walked into a very busy restaurant. Upon being seated a jug of iced, minted and cucumbered water was produced without asking. Glasses were filled and another full jug placed on the table. Good start. The decor is distressed mirrors and tables etc. and is a very pleasant place to spend a few hours. As we did.
I started with the crispy hens’ egg, served with asparagus and hazelnut mayonnaise. The only thing I can fault with this dish was that my egg had just gone past runny. However the asparagus provided some nice crunch and contrast. The hazelnut mayonnaise was delicious and really tasted of the nut. I cannot abide when chefs put something on a menu that promises to taste of something and doesn’t. However thankfully this was not the case here. The other starter at the table was the Gold River Farm beetroot. Approving noises were made about it. In fact it was described by the very seasoned diner as one of the best starters they had eaten. From my vantage point it certainly looked stunning.
I had the Casteltownbere crab tagliatelle for mains. This was a delicious plate of pasta. There were wonderful contrasts and it was full of crab. I also got to try the fillet steak, which was very flavoursome and the others ordered Hake- which again was accompanied by pleasant mutterings.
Having hit a food-wall midway through the tagliatelle, I was unsure about ordering desert. However I persevered and ordered the raspberry and crème fraîche panna cotta. This was very fresh and zingy and was the perfect end to the meal. A special mention has to go to the pistachio biscuits that accompanied this. They were slightly spiced/cinnamony and were delightfully chewy. The chocolate and hazelnut mousse was certainly the prettiest plate at the table and delivered on taste. The chocaholic in the family shockingly opted for the apple tart tatin- which she enjoyed. Dinner was rounded off by a generous pot of loose-leaf mint tea.
Special mention has to go to the service. It was faultless, yet you barely noticed them. The water jugs were replenished immediately, there was a napkin to catch the wine drops when pouring- also they were attentive to make sure this never ran dry either. What was very impressive was that every plate that left the pass was wiped for fingerprints. I have been in places in the last year that would be considered amongst the best restaurants in the country that couldn’t manage to de-print a plate.
I would strongly urge you to include more Salt in your diet.