I first tried The Box Tree a few years ago (back when it was owned by Eamonn O’Reilly of One Pico / The Greenhouse), I didn’t like it then and I really don’t like it now… I normally try to find the positives in a dining experience, you’re spending time and money its better to look at the good things but I really struggled here…
On this visit, we had a Living Social voucher for €60 (cost €29) which was valid of the a la carte menu only for a starter / main each. I don’t often purchase these vouchers but it was his birthday in August and I purchased it as an additional present and thought we would use it at some stage as we are reasonably close to Stepaside.
So for the positives – I like the room and space itself, it’s warm and homely, tartan, woods, soft lighting… the tables for 2 are hit and miss but we were lucky and had a nice table near to the entrance, without anyone beside us. There are nice booths in the centre of the restaurant for larger groups of 4-6.
From here it was downhill… most people in seemed to be on an early bird menu but we were a la carte due to our voucher… I started with Ravioli – Wild Mushroom & Spinach filled Ravioli, Mushroom & Tarragon Cream (€9.95) and he chose Asparagus – Soft Poached Egg, Crisp Bacon (€9.95).
The ravioli itself was ok, the sauce was awful… it had started to get a skin on it, so clearly sitting under a lamp or similar… too heavy and just bland, it needed something to lift the dish. The asparagus was hidden underneath a huge mound of leaves…just 4 small spears which seemed far too little and way too many leafy varietals going on here.
No improvement on the mains – we both went for steak, thinking this would a generally ‘safe’ choice, him the Kettyle 28 Day Dry Aged Rib-Eye – Chunky Chips, Sautéed Spinach, Grilled Tomato & Onion, Garlic & Herb Butter (€27.95) and I chose one of the specials, which was a Piedmontese beef served on a bed of creamy mashed potato with pearl onions and vegetables – I can’t recall the exact price but it was similarly priced to the rib eye. Mine was presented on a slate on a board… hmmm…
His rib eye was definitely the better of the 2 steaks, it was fine but nothing special. He requested medium rare and me medium, both were slightly overdone but not hugely so we ate as they were.
And then the best bit, we thought we might like a dessert to share to finish off, so requested the menu – and quickly handed it back – the desserts were priced from €8.95 – €9.50… way over priced and based on the food we had already eaten we had no faith it would be any good so we skipped… not without mentioning it to the waiter serving us who seemed equally as surprised; I’m guessing the vast majority of customers are on the early bird menu hence this doesn’t arise!
We enjoyed a couple of glasses of white wine and a bottle of red wine with our meal – the wine list isn’t too bad, some nice options on there but even the wine couldn’t save this evening…safe to say we won’t be returning… it’s a real pity as it could be a great local eatery but not to be.
The Box Tree | Stepaside Village, Dublin 18 | +353 1 205 2025 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.theboxtree.ie