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!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

[Review] The Brasserie at The Marker Hotel, Grand Canal Square, Dublin 2

Walking into the lobby at Dublin's new Marker Hotel is like stepping onto the set of a futuristic science-fiction film. The white, geometric ceiling arches overhead, sloping downwards to meet the floor. The furniture is minimal, sleek and chic, adding to the futuristic atmosphere and it all feels very 2001: A Space Odyssey. The Brasserie is located to the left upon entering, situated under that arching, organic ceiling.  I find it a little hard to distinguish the maĆ®tre d's station from the supply station, but I suppose that these are the risks in design-lead hotels, where everything is a feature. 

The Brasserie restaurant firmly stakes its claim as having "a sharp focus on Irish, locally sourced produce". I visit on a blisteringly hot Friday, and through the windows I can see teenagers jumping into Grand Canal Dock. The lunchtime menu offers two courses for €22 or three for €26, surely making it an attractive business lunch option for the nearby tech giants. The large dining room is softly bright, with the bright outside light diffused through netted curtains. 
Picpoul de Pinet at the Marker Brasserie
Ham hock terrine with Pink Lady gel
My starter of ham hock terrine came with blobs of Pink Lady gel, precisely aligned bacon crumb, celery cress and horseradish. It looked pretty on the plate, but I quickly had all the celery cress pushed off to one side, where it could not infect the rest of the food. The terrine itself was dense and meaty with a nice ham flavour. Unfortunately, I found the rest of the dish off-balance. The crumb added texture, but not much else, while the Pink Lady gel and horseradish failed to deliver the punchy bite that the meat required. 

Things improved with my main course. I had chosen a 6oz rump of John Stones Co. beef with wild mushroom, tarragon and smoked garlic butter. It arrived looking handsome with a clump of peppery salad leaves and a portion of rosemary fries. I particularly liked that the wooden serving board had a channel cut around the edge, which caught all the meaty juices, stopping them from oozing onto the table. Despite all the wonderful sounding ingredients, the butter didn't really make an impact to the otherwise excellent steak. 
John Stone's Co Longford rump of beef
Gareth Mullins, formerly of the Merrion Hotel, is the Executive Chef here, and he has established the Marker as the first venue to sell "cronuts" in Ireland. For those of you unaware of the cronut, it's a hyrid croissant and doughnut pastry. In New York, people queue from the early hours of the morning to get cronuts from the original bakery. If you're interested, the Marker Hotel sells a limited number of boxes (of four) each morning.

Overall impressions of the Brasserie at the Marker Hotel? Despite the Irish produce, the Brasserie and the Marker itself have an international hotel feel. The sleek design and entire atmosphere just doesn't feel local, or induce any feelings of being in Dublin. If you had conked me over the head, and told me I had been transported to Stockholm, I would not have been surprised.

The presence of an OK starter and a very good steak combined to produce a decent lunch, especially at the €22 price point. Service was constantly checking in, sometimes to the point of the oppression, but always with a smile and pleasant attitude. The Brasserie is a great option for pre-theatre food and the entire Marker Hotel is a valiant effort to bring some life to Grand Canal Square. Is it going to be enough?

The Marker Hotel, Grand Canal Square, Dublin 2
Tel: +353 (0)1 687 5100
Twitter: @themarkerhotel

Brasserie at the Marker Hotel on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

Life to grand canal sq, sure the place us buzzing usually!

Aodhnait said...

Cronuts!! I've got to taste them..... :-)

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