Sunday, 17 November 2013

Forest Avenue


Ciao readers!! My sincere apologies for not updating the blog in such a long time - to cut a long story short, some life changing events have occurred in the past few months hence the lack of entries...

As I am woefully behind, I thought I would start from the most recent resto visit and when I have more time, write up visits on other eateries that we have been to in the last 6 months, hope you will bear with me :)

I follow food writer Tom Doorley on Twitter and one of his recent tweets recommended a newly opened resto in town, Forest Avenue. Having done a quick search about it on the internet, there wasn't much info bar a recent profile in the Irish Times. Upon further perusal of their website, I decided to ring up and see if we could bag a table for Sunday brunch (5 courses for 24 yoyos). Luckily, there was no problem securing a table!!

Even though the website says that they open on Sunday at 1pm (which was also the time of our reservation), the resto already had a few tables seated and eating when we arrived. First impressions were good; the dining room has a lovely contemporary feel with the front part benefiting from lots of natural light thanks to a double height ceiling. I was already told over the phone that it was a set menu of 5 courses (completely fine by us) so it did feel a little weird when one of the waiting staff came to "take our order". We were also given a drinks menu (aka. cocktail list) and were surprised that they did not have any fruit juices available.....even though we were there for brunch? JD does not drink so he was rather limited from any of the drinks.....a suggestion may be that 1) they offer some form of non-alcoholic cocktail or 2) just offer fruit juices and rake in the margin!

More people started arriving after we had sat down and we were a little surprised when these tables were served food ahead of us. As time went on, I started to get paranoid that perhaps these other tables were getting preferential treatment over us since they were so chummy with the owners. After a wait of almost half an hour, JD enquired about when our food would be arriving to which the response was "soon". You can imagine that we weren't particularly impressed when the food finally arrived and was placed in front of us without an apology.....and the fact that it was the 2nd course on the menu? Luckily for the resto, the food was good but having restaurant service experience myself, it does not take half an hour to plate up 2 orders of granola and yoghurt??!! After we had finished, I asked the waitress when she came to pick up our plates if we would get the 1st course (coffee and donut) later - it then came to light that they had completely screwed up our order as the donuts were supposed to arrive before the granola? Yet another resto let down by service, which stills baffles me!!

Fortunately,  after these few hiccups, things ran a bit more smoothly. The donuts arrived promptly after the granola, as well as the remaining courses. The quality of the cooking was exceptional; when we were leaving, I asked how long the resto had been opened and the response was two and a half weeks so I guess they can be forgiven for not having service completely fault free. I can only hope this will be fixed over time and if so, Forest Avenue is a very exciting and fresh addition to the Dublin dining scene.

Vanilla yoghurt, house made granola, pear and golden raisin

Donut (when it finally arrived, yay!)
I'm a bit of a greedy guts and could've easily wolfed down one twice this size!!

Soft boiled egg with gnocchi, cauliflower and leek - super tasty.
(My one request would be a small slice of bread (or large soldier) to wipe up all the gooey yummy mess)

Venison, parsnip, beetroot and kale - simple but beautifully cooked and again, very delicious. 

Orange polenta cake, tea soaked prunes and salted walnut ice cream
A satisfying end to the meal but would concur with JD that I am not a massive fan of polenta in cake 

Friday, 8 November 2013

The Greenhouse revisited

As a belated birthday treat, we managed to get a reservation for dinner at what I would consider the best resto in Dublin, the Greenhouse. Its been just over a year since our first visit (you can read about that here) and it appears the popularity of the resto has not let up. Ringing to make a reservation in October, I was informed that the first table available on a Saturday would be the first week in December whilst the first table available on a Friday was a slightly closer November; we chose the latter :)

This time, we chose to try the 5-course surprise chef tasting menu with no stipulations other than we had already tried the foie gras royal and deer dishes last year (and the fact that JD is allergic to prawns). I'm please to report that the quality of the cooking has not waivered which is encouraging. Service for the most part was good (in particular, the waiter assigned to our table) but things started to falter when the dining room became more than half-full. This was something we noticed during our first visit, and whilst things have improved a little, there is still a long way to go if the resto wants to achieve Michelin star status (sadly, still no accolades this year). 

Despite some shortcomings, I would have no hesitation in recommending the Greenhouse as the top resto in Dublin from a dining point of view and it would be the first place I would take any of my gourmand chums if they happen to be in town ;)
One of the highlights of a meal at the Greenhouse is the yummy amuse-bouches which are served :) The glass above was brandade with crispy fish skin
(Apologies in advance for brevity of description of dishes, forgot to take notes at meal!!)

Canapes, the larger one included foie gras (cannot remember the smaller one)

Beetroot marshmallow and fennel meringue

Foie gras creme caramel with a sweet raising reduction - unbelievably rich but oh so good!! (luckily, we were ravenous at the beginning of our meal)

Grilled scallop dish (with possibly lobster risotto?) - absolutely delicious, the scallop was SUPER sweet :)

Wild sea bass with grilled young leeks and mushrooms - lovely but one minor grip that the leek was a little tough to cut with a fish knife (to the point where we needed to ask our waiter for a proper knife to cut said leek)

Guinea hen with bitter leaves, truffle shavings and brussel sprouts

Chocolate delice

Petits fours of rum baba....

.....and savoury fennel fudge (not a fan), chocolate macaron (nice but the wrong colour!) and sweet fudge (best of the trio)