Showing posts with label Graham Neville. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Graham Neville. Show all posts

Monday, July 13, 2015

Dinner of Delights At Restaurant Forty One

Dinner of Delights
At 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.
Chapter One Restaurant
National Botanic Gardens

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Square Table Launched

The Square Table Launched
Big Night for Coolea Sisters

Top left: Graham Neville (l) with Lucy and Mark of Ballyhoura Mushrooms.
Top right: Cheers! Martina and Yours Truly.

“I wish the two sisters all the best. They have shown great courage,” said Michelin Star chef Ross Lewis as he helped officially launch The Square Table restaurant in Blarney last night. The two sisters are Patricia and Martina Cronin, both originally from Coolea and now well experienced in the restaurant world. Patricia is front of house while Martina (who has worked with Ross) is the head chef.

Martina has also worked with Graham Neville, Head Chef at Restaurant Forty One, who also spoke at the opening. Graham is rather modest and it took Ross to step in and remind us all that Neville is the reigning Food and Wine Magazine Chef of the Year.

The two girls also spoke and their first priority was to say a big thank you to the people of Blarney for their support over the past few months. Martina said they simply wanted to present good well sourced Irish food and had big thanks for three mentors in particular: Kieran Scully (Bayview Hotel), Ross Lewis (Chapter One) and, of course Graham Neville.

Their suppliers too came in for praise as did their local staff (“absolutely fantastic”), all their friends, family, especially Mum and Dad.

Ross Lewis, from Cork himself, said he knows the Cronins well! “The heroes of today are those who employ people. I started in 1993 and I know that success will come.” But he warned that staying power was needed to deal with the special demands of being an employer, including PAYE, PRSI, banks, teaching employees.

“The complexities are enormous. It is a very daunting task. But I know the Cronins are determined. Martina has the doggedness of a lion. It is amazing and great to see people that we’ve worked with get out on their own”.

The sisters were hardly on their own last evening. There was a terrific turnout. Suppliers present included River Wines, Ballyhoura Mushrooms and Pat O'Connell. The media and blogger world was well represented by Joe McNamee, Jack Power, Caroline Hennessy, among others. And no shortage either of fellow restaurateurs, including Nash 19 and Jacques.

The family were naturally up in force from Coolea and customers were also among the attendance. And, after the speech, Matina was back in the kitchen sending out a stream of gorgeous little bites including Durcan’s Spiced Beef, Ardsallagh Goat Cheese, Liscannor Crab, Michael Twomey’s Wagyu Rib-eye, Ballyhoura Mushrooms, and Old Millbank Smoked Salmon.

On the sweet side there were Macaroons, Poached Blackberries, Chocolate Brownies and a Lemon Cream and Blueberry meringue, all gorgeous. And no shortage of wine to wash it all down.

Thanks for the invite ladies and the best of luck in Blarney!