Dinner of DelightsAt Restaurant Forty One
The sun was out and so too was the red carpet as we arrived at Restaurant Forty One in St Stephen’s Green the weekend before last. Could it get any better, we wondered, as we sat down in one of the rooms in this splendid Georgian building. It could and it did, as course by course, Head Chef Graham Neville’s exquisite cuisine (no butter, no sugar!) took us on a delightful journey of delicious food, most of it based on local produce.
This evening, we decided to go A La Carte. Which wine though? Fish dominates our food choices and so we are down to a “contest” between a Gruner Veltliner and an Albarino. A quick word with the sommelier and the Gru-Vee is chosen; incidentally we enjoyed a glass of the same wine a few days earlier at Chapter One! It is the Heinz W, Joseph Gruner Veltliner, (Kamptal).
After a tasty lobster Amuse Bouche, we were ready for the starters. Not really! Not prepared for the two outstanding creations that they set down on the table. Mine was Roast Scallops, Truffled Garden Onions and Coral Bisque. An amazing symphony of flavours and textures - the bisque added notes of rich flavour - that had all the taste buds fighting to head the queue.
CL’s colourful starter was Annagassan Smoked Salmon, Clogherhead Crab and Granny Smith Apple. Granny Smith Apple? Yes, indeed; the little strips from the orchard played a delightful role in another superb dish. Both starters by the way, were superbly presented, the salmon ringed by capers, salmon roe, egg yolk, egg white, and red onion.
Before the mains, we were treated to Dublin Bay Prawn, pea coulis and fennel. And I just have to mention a side dish that came with the main courses: the most gorgeous pairing of white and wild asparagus! A simple, yet amazing, example of what happens when quality produce meets a quality chef.
Mine was the Wild Turbot, Bobby Beans, Peach and Elderflower, yet another delicious combination, enhanced by the asparagus and the fluffiest ever mash potato. Fish too on the other side of the table with CL delighted with her arresting and perfectly cooked Fillet of John Dory that came with a Courgette flower stuffed with Prawns. To make it even better the fish was topped with beautiful Girolles and Beech-tree mushrooms.
New Season Strawberries, Basil and Yoghurt may not sound the most promising of desserts but again the kitchen came up with a sweet surprise, the basil in olive oil, the yoghurt frozen. And my Glazed Millefeuille, Praline and Butternut Squash, Roast Lemon Purée was another classy effort, that roast purée a brilliant touch that further elevated the combination.
The welcome here is excellent, service in the lovely comfortable dining room is faultless and the cooking is at the highest level. And all through this, from Graham himself at the top, there runs an effortless friendliness that adds to the pleasure of eating here.
See also Teeling Distillery visitChapter One Restaurant
National Botanic Gardens