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!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

[Review] The French Laundry @ Bon Appetit, Malahide, Co Dublin

The Restaurants of the World series is a very clever idea from Oliver Dunne of Bon Appetit. Instead of travelling miles abroad to eat at world famous restaurants, you simply travel to his Michelin-starred restaurant in Malahide, where you will be treated to menus inspired by the very best restaurants. Earlier in the year, I had booked for the Fat Duck night, but as often happens, work intervened and I had to cancel. Thankfully, Oliver decided to extend the series and I quickly booked nights based on The French Laundry and Nobu. The menus cost €60 per person for one night and €50 per person for the second night. 

Our first night was inspired by The French Laundry which is located in Napa Valley, California where it has a focus on French food with contemporary American influences. Chef Thomas Keller is the only American chef to have been awarded simultaneous three star Michelin ratings for two different restaurants. Basically, this means that he is hot stuff in the Michelin world.

I always enjoy the muted elegant dining room at Bon Appetit. A few weeks previously, we had celebrated a family birthday in the semi-full dining room, but on this Wednesday night, it was buzzing. Eight courses for €60 represents some seriously good value and people are clearly responding. 

The menu for the night is given below, along with photos of 7 of the 8 courses. Apologies for the darkness of the photos, but Bon Appetit isn't the kind of establishment where you flash photo, and the iPhone 4 camera isn't great in low light. I'm disappointed that I forgot to take a photo of the unctuous black truffle custard, which was delicately presented in an egg shell with warm carmelised onions. 

Black Truffle Custard
Potato Crisps
Blue Fin Tuna Nicoise
Capsicum Confetti and Toasted Brioche
Slow Cooked Salmon
Braised Red Cabbage, Parsnip Puree
Pan Fried Foie Gras
Artichoke Ravioli, Chive Oil and Barigoule Vegetables
Braised Veal Breast
Polenta and Parmesan Cake, Vichy Carrots, Mustard Sauce
Tote du Moine Cheese, Spiced Carrot Salad, Raisin Puree
Black Figs Roasted with Vanilla Sugar, Honey Ice Cream
Carrot Cake
Vanilla Frosting, Candied Walnut, Carrot Puree

Course 2 - Blue Fin Tuna Nicoise
Course 3 - Slow Cooked Salmon
Course 4 - Pan Fried Foie Gras
Course 5 - Braised Veal Breast
Course 6 - Cheese
Course 7 - Figs
Course 8 - Carrot Cake
Simplicity was the most noticeable feature in the dishes we received. Oliver Dunne's own food usually features more complex textures but here everything was stripped back. The dishes were very classic in style and very elegant. Slow cooked salmon retained its bright peach colour while a darkly intense tapenade enhanced the tuna nicoise. A little swirling tower of cheese slices sat atop a juicy spiced carrot salad, finishing with a moist square of humble carrot cake. 

I was pleasantly surprised (and a little shocked) when Oliver Dunne himself arrived at our table for a little chat. My impression is of an honest man, with little ego (especially considering the very short time it took for him to earn his Michelin star in 2008).  I've met a lot of restaurant managers and a few chefs since my blog started to become more widely-read, but I'm still not used to it. I guess I get a little star-struck by people who have the courage to be creative and produce food for other people to enjoy.

The honesty theme continues as Bon Appetit is currently seeking diners to act as restaurant critics. Between October 24th to November 3rd, a 6 course tasting menu will be available for just €45. In return, diners will be asked to put pen to paper and provide some honest  feedback. 

Bon Appetit,  James Terrace, Malahide, Co Dublin
Tel: +353 (0)1 845 0314
Twitter: @bonappmalahide

Bon Appetit on Urbanspoon

1 comment

French foodie in Dublin said...

Food looks fab and sounds divine. They always seem to have great events there.

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