Tag Archives: service

Salt Café, Monkstown

1 Jun

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.

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Pichet, Trinty Street, Dublin 2

2 Apr

Apologies for the lack of posting in recent weeks- I had the small matter of some exams to do. They are now over and back to blogging!

 

I finally got to eat in Pichet last night. Since it has opened I have heard nothing but good things, and often from people who are tough to please.

 

Upon arriving the staff really made an effort to welcome you to the restaurant, a little touch but it made us feel that we weren’t just another cover to them. The restaurant surroundings are very pleasant, and made for an enjoyable setting for the evening. The early bird menu ended up enticing us all, but I must mention that at something € mid-forty region the tasting menu could be superb value also.  Bread was served with balsamic and olive oil, which I always appreciate as a non butter-eater.

 

I started with the terrine, which had a wonderfully soft texture and was packed full of flavour. It was served with a nice wedge of toasted bread and a few salad leaves. The fig purée provided a nice hint of sharpness to the terrine.  My dining companions went for the spring onion risotto (which they said was delicious- and was quite a generous portion). My better half went for the celeriac velouté, which came with a tortelloni of short back ribs, which apparently was also very enjoyable.

 

Two of us opted for the short back ribs for our main course. They were incredibly tender, and came with a horseradish mousseline and some wilted spinach topped with some superb onion rings. They worked very well together, but I would have liked more of the mousseline and spinach.  The roast chicken was the other choice at the table and was incredibly flavoursome and succulent.

 

Desert was by far the stand-out course. Two of us opted for the white chocolate mouse, which came with raspberries in syrup, cubes of raspberry jelly and the best sorbet I have tasted. It was also raspberry. This redeemed my faith in sorbets after a hideous raspberry sorbet experience recently. You will hear about that soon. The other desert that was chosen was salt caramel ice cream with various accompaniments. Approving noises were made with regards to this also.

 

Dinner was rounded off with a very good espresso. A nice touch to round off the very strong service was being asked did we want our coffees with or after desert. It is nice not to get chased out of a restaurant at an early bird sitting. Equally when we enquired about sides with our mains, they said we would probably be fine- rather than the nearly obligatory up-sell.  With regards to the wine-list, there is some very good value.

 

You won’t go wrong in Pichet. The food and service are very strong.  It certainly lived up to its reputation. I look forward to returning.

 

 

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