Friday, February 20, 2015

Star Anise Shines. Rainy Night In Bridge Street.

Star Anise Shines.

Rainy Night In Bridge Street.
A combination of cool drizzle and the sackcloth links of Ash Wednesday weren't enough to keep the punters away from Star Anise this week. We led the charge to the Bridge Street venue, its comfortable seating, its attractive decor and the warm welcome from Virginie Sarrazin. Soon we were seated, sipping bubbles and looking at the menu with the odd glance at the drizzle falling through the street-lighting onto the cars and pedestrians.

Virginie, originally from Lyon (France), founded the restaurant in 2002. She had been surrounded by good food from a very early age, with a Chef for a father and a Wine expert as a mother, and she grew up in a region known as the Gastronomic Capital of France.

Head Chef Carolyn Buckley, originally from Millstreet,  qualified from CIT in 1998.  She first started learning her trade in the kitchens of the famous Arbutus Lodge in Montenotte, and Lovetts in Douglas, before taking off to France in 1999. Then, she spent ten years in Parisian kitchens before joining Star Anise in 2012.

The aim here is to produce “simple honest food and work on offering maximum taste and quality of local ingredients”. It styles itself as a “Mediterranean” restaurant but the accent is French. I reckon they hit the target last Wednesday, as they do consistently.

The menu is not the longest but each and every dish begs attention. And there is always  a special or two, such as the Crab Cake that CL started with. Not in the least complicated, just well cooked and presented and the chilli mayo adding a little extra heat to the engaging ensemble.

My starter, Roast  Quail, was another highlight, served with Polenta chip and quail egg, and leaves. So that was two empty plates heading back to the kitchen, starting a pattern that would continue through the three courses.

You may have wine here by the glass, carafe, and more by the bottle, from quite an impressive list. We settled for a glass of Barbera each and that went very well indeed with our splendid main courses, CL’s Venison and My Duck. Local craft beers are also available.

Hard to resist desserts when there is a French influence at work and we didn't! I know Mardi Gras was the day before and we hadn’t indulged that day so we made up for it. Mine was a delightful White Chocolate and Orange cheesecake while CL, who loves her apple desserts, was in apple heaven with a three way expression of the humble fruit, the highlight being the Tart Tatin.

So there you are, six empty plates and two happy customers! Very Highly Recommended.

Star Anise
4 Bridge Street
(021) 455 1635

No comments: