Life has returned to normal in our house, probably like many houses throughout the country. All the sweets, chocolates and treats have been long since polished off and healthy (or at least healthier) eating is the order of the day. But even so, it's nice to eat out for Sunday lunch, especially with the promise of a brisk walk in the fresh air afterwards.
Marcel's is located just off Upper Baggot Street, across from the Dylan Hotel. The bright orange awning gives a hint at the interior colour scheme which is dominated by bright bold orange leather chairs, neatly trimmed with dark piping. Carefully mismatched vintage nightshades, fresh starched linen, wooden floors and a backlit display of wine bottles all add up to create a sensation of modern chic. It's a room that is immediately comfortable and welcoming.
The food at Marcel's is French-inspired (as hinted at by the name), with Italian influences nibbling at the edges. The regularly changing menu is very appealing with plenty of choice on offer. We've visited twice in recent weeks for Sunday lunch and didn't find much repetition on the menu. Thin slices of house cured salmon were dotted with dollops of fresh and tangy lemon caper dressing and sour cream. His foie gras parfait was simply sublime with a perfectly translucent pink piece of poached rhubarb with sultanas and hazelnuts.
|House cured gravlax|
|Foie gras parfait with poached rhubarb|
Salmon was beautifull pan fried with perfect flesh and a crispy, salted skin for crunchiness. Lemon and dill gnocchi was flavoursome, but came in the form of a little cake rather than the more accustomed fluffy pillows. Risotto was richly flavoured with thyme and surrounded by a ring of frothy Muscat pumpkin purée. An unusual, but pleasant dimension was added by the addition of a scoop of cool smoked marscapone.
|Pan seared salmon with lemon and dill gnocchi|
|Pumpkin and broad bean risotto|
There's some confident, creative and bold cooking going on in the kitchen at Marcel's, providing a perfect match to the vibrant dining room. I found the dishes to be elegant, assured and yet still possess a certain je ne said quoi. The wine list at Marcel's doesn't disappoint either and our two chosen glasses of Southern Lights Marlboro Sauvigonon Blanc (€8) and Paddy Borthwick's Riesling (€9.50) were well received.
Sunday lunch at Marcel's costs €20/€25 for 2/3 courses between 12pm-3pm, including a Sunday Roast option, and is stellar value for a venue of this quality. The good value extends to the Early Bird which runs between 5pm - 7pm Monday to Saturday.
And the final reason that I feel confident in recommending Marcel's? It effortlessly earned the Mrs H seal of approval. And that my friends, doesn't come easily.
Marcel's, 1 Saint Mary's Road, Dublin 4
Tel: +353 (0)1 660 2367