Brioche has been on my to visit list for a very long time and we hadn’t managed to make it there. With many good reviews from friends, blogs and critics we tried it out recently. Brioche is tucked just off the main Ranelagh thoroughfare; a really pretty red brick and painted cottage exterior and entrance leads into a very french feeling restaurant in it’s design, decor and styling.
We were the only people there for a short while when we arrived (it was early enough, around 6.45) but it did start to fill up not too long afterwards. The kitchen is open to the restaurant space so you can see and hear the chefs at work. When it was just us, the kitchen chatter and clatter was quite loud but as more people arrived, it became more background, adding to the ambiance.
The menu is based on the concept of tasting plates described by themselves as “showcasing the very best of Irish produce using classic French techniques”. Whilst browsing the menu we ordered a couple of Bombay Sapphire Gin & Tonics (€8 ea) to start off our evening.
Once the food was ordered, an amuse bouche and little loaves of brioche bread arrived to our table. A chicken liver pate atop a thin cracker was a lovely little bite to enjoy with the gin. The brioche bread though… wow!
While the tasting menu was appealing, as it was mid week we decided to go from the seasonal menu which offers 2 courses at €27 or 3 courses at €33. I really liked the menu and I could easily have had nearly anything from it. I chose the ‘Cauliflower soup, cauliflower crush, raisin puree, roasted cauliflower’ to start while he went for the ‘Smoke cured mackerel, tomato salsa, lightly fried onion rings’. The other 3 starters on the menu were a chicken thigh terrine, heritage carrots or a Crab ravioli (which had a €3 supplement).
Both dishes were exquisite, presented beautifully and tasted wonderful. I loved the frothy lightness of the soup with the different textures of the cauliflower and hazelnuts, it was a beautiful dish. The onion rings with the mackerel was such a great combination with the tangy salsa.
Five main courses on this menu gives a good choice (although two of the five have supplements). For me the ‘Pan-roasted Cod, artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke puree, artichoke crisp’ really stood out although I was quite tempted by the roast onion risotto. For him it was the beef (€5 supplement) – ’28 day dried aged Hereford cross beef fillet, oyster potato, buttered spinach, veal reduction’.
Perfectly cooked melt in your mouth beef, just look at that beautiful colour – an incredible dish – the buttery spinach and a gorgeous jus – all the flavours worked so well together. My cod, while very good, didn’t quite reach the same heights of deliciousness as the beef but the artichoke crisps were quite amazing!
Our mains were accompanied by a lovely little pot of creamy smooth mashed potato with chives and olive oil (so good). The dishes are slightly smaller portions than regular but not significantly and we both felt very satisfied with the servings.
The wine list is quite heavily french influenced and we enjoyed a bottle of 2013 Corbieres. The Corbieres at €31 is reasonably priced for what is a good wine. Our total bill including the G&Ts, wine and 2 courses each (with 1 supplement) came to €106 (not including service).
We enjoyed many aspects of Brioche, the food in particular is the star here and that Corbieres is good value also. The tables are a little close together (if you read this blog regularly you will know this is one of the things that irks me!) and service and staff were somewhat hit and miss through the evening; we felt under pressure to order when we would have preferred to have more time to enjoy our Gin first but small things really and the food won us over. Chef Gavin McDonagh is producing some fantastic things at Brioche – the brioche bread is a delicious start, the combination of flavours and textures in the cauliflower soup was perfection, the beef fillet was outstanding in presentation and taste. We will return to try more from Brioche in the hopefully not too distant future.
Brioche | 51 Elmwood Avenue Lower, Ranelagh, Dublin 6 | 01 497 9163 | firstname.lastname@example.org