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It’s a Thursday evening and Club Brasserie on Lapps Quay is abuzz. Following a warm welcome from Beth Haughton, we are soon at our table, the menus and water there almost as soon as we sit under a row of chandeliers in the large attractive room, the two long walls lined with of mirrors.
We are ready for action and start to study the menu and also the blackboard which has an impressive list of specials. And I start with one of those: the crispy chicken wings with Harissa aioli (€7.50). This is one of the many Gluten Free dishes available here (they have separate friers) and it is superb and you can have it with a Cashel Blue dipping sauce at lunch-time.
CL picks the Superfood Salad, another special, packed with char-grilled chicken, pomegranate, quinoa, roasted beetroot, carrots, sweet potato, toasted seed and a lemon and herb dressing (€9.00). Super indeed. Just as well she picked the starter portion. Had she chosen the larger size, I reckon she'd have ran all the way home.
At this stage we were sipping our Sangiovese (Chianti style), one of three reds available by the carafe. The list is not massively long and is mainly European based. Some lovely wines are included and I spotted a Hugel Riesling in the whites and a Chateau Ksara from Lebanon among the reds. You may have your wine by the glass, by carafe, and some by the bottle. Besides, they also have a fully licenced bar with beers on draught.
We could have had anything from a Classic Burger to a Sirloin Steak on the mains. This is a French style restaurant and so CL picked the Crispy Duck Confit (19.00), a great choice and one of the best examples we've come across in recent years. It was served with rustic potatoes, green beans, delightful creamy rosemary flageolet beans and a red wine sauce.
I did well too with my East Cork Rack of Lamb (22.00), marinated with garlic, rosemary and olive oil with an aubergine, cherry tomato and basil compote, mint butter sauce and those lovely rustic potatoes. Absolutely superb.
Starters (top) and desserts.
Both main courses were cooked to a “T” and very well presented, so well done to Howard Lynch, Beth’s partner in crime and the busy chef here. And there was no let-up with the desserts, each excellent, mine an exquisite Eton Mess with a strawberry Daiquiri sauce while CL took her time, enjoying every lush spoonful of her Creme Brulee served with poached berries.
Club Brasserie also do a Prix Fixe menu (Monday to Thursday 5-10pm and also on Friday and Saturday between 5 and 6.30pm) and it includes that lovely Confit! Some tempting dishes too at lunch-time including the Club Hot Dog (with Toulouse Sausage) and also a Spicy Moroccan Lamb with couscous. And just a reminder that up to 80 per cent of the dishes here are Gluten Free.
Speaking of spicy reminds me that the riverside restaurant holds occasional Spice Nights. The Spice Club is a unique dining experience serving delicious curries, yummy cocktails and some fantastic music for a fun filled night! With dishes ranging from the subtle to the intense, it's ideal for those with a very mild and delicate palate to those who prefer even more spice! Keep an eye on their Facebook pagefor details of Spice Nights and other occasional fun events.
Service is excellent here, prompt, efficient and friendly.