When you eat out a lot, it means that you tend to return to certain restaurants on a regular basis. A list of favourite spots develops over time, with new restaurants being added once they've proven their consistency. The reverse is also true, and I occasionally bid a sad farewell to a once-favourite that has slipped down the list, perhaps due to the departure of a chef, or a change in approach.
One venue that has been on my favourites list for a long time now is The Green Hen on Exchequer Street. The reason it's on my list is three fold. It has French style food, it offers a great value set lunch menu, and finally, lunch is available on Saturday and Sunday (instead of being forced into brunch as is the case in so many spots now).
The Green Hen has a classic French bistro vibe with a heavy red curtain buffering those inside from the cold outside. Inside, the brightness is dialled down, making for a secluded spot in the busy middle of town. A beautiful bar decorated with a large vase of fresh flowers, dark wood panelling and parquet floors complete the atmosphere.
|Wild game terrine with spiced chutney, crumb and toasted sourdough|
We start with potato veloutee which is creamy and light without the claggy glutinous texture that can come from potatoes. Crisp bacon bits add welcome texture and it's deemed a success. A generous slice of wild game terrine is wrapped in ham, and served with spiced plum chutney and a crunchy crumb. When combined together on the sourdough toast, it's delicious.
Duck confit comes with skin lacquered to crisp perfection, with moist subtly spiced meat. Creamy mashed potatoes, sweet carrot puree and classic cabbage with bacon bits complete a very satisfying dish. A lunch-sized sirloin steak is ordered rare and comes about medium rare. It's nicely charred and small portions of rocket salad, french fries and Béarnaise sauce complete this classic bistro dish.
|Duck confit with mashed potato, carrot puree and cabbage|
|Steak with fries, salad and bernaise sauce|
Two courses from the set lunch menu cost €18 while 3 cost €20. A single main course is €15, while the steak has a €5 supplement attached. Simply put, The Green Hen is a restaurant that goes about its business quietly and assuredly. Reservations are generally recommended, even on a Saturday lunchtime, as this is a popular spot for lunch groups.
The Green Hen, 33 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2
Tel: +353 (0)1 670 7238