Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Chez Max French Restaurant Dublin

Chez Max has intrigued me for a long time now. I love its location, tucked next to the gate of Dublin Castle. And yet I never visited, not until last Satuday that is.

I was charmed the minute we stepped inside the restaurant. The decor is French bistro with shelves of wine bottles and framed pictures lining the walls. The menu is printed in the style of a newspaper with lots of old advertisements interspersed between the food. Sometimes, it's a little hard to pick out all the options in the middle of all the ads but I loved the uniqueness.

I've been away from Brussels for nearly two months now, and I had a bit of a hankering for some mussels, I opted for the moules frite, while my partner went for the steak frites, ordered rare. As it was Saturday lunchtime, we also treated ourselves to a glass of the house red and rose.

I was thrilled when a mountain of mussels arrived in front of me, accompanied by a dish of chips. It was actually a daunting Everest of mussels, but I'm not a girl who backs down from a challenge. Once I tasted the creamy garlicky sauce which was coating the mussels, I was in heaven. A lot of restaurants don't make their garlic white wine sauce strong enough, but this sauce was heaven. It was a dish fit for a king, and after looking around the room, I think that a lot of other diners agreed with me.

One thing that you'd expect a french restaurant to offer is patisserie, and Chez Max didn't let us down. They offer a simple selection of desserts (you know the French attitude - "everything we make is so excellent, why do you need more choice?"). I could live on strawberries alone, so the tarte aux fraises was my first choice, while he ordered a creme brulee along with two noisettes (espresso with hot milk). Both desserts were simply excellent. My tarte aux fraises featured fleshy tasty strawberries along with an excellent creme patisserie. The creme brulee was equally delicious.

I'm actually disappointed with myself in that I didn't visit Chez Max sooner. It's a real treasure, and I believe that they've now opened another restaurant on Baggot Street. Chez Max is definitely one place I will be returning to.

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