Belated (sorry Mum!) Mother's Day Lunch in Pichet Restaurant
I have wanted to visit Pichet Restaurant for a long time due to my interest (understatement?) in Masterchef Ireland (Co-owner, Nick Munier is a judge) and the fact that Pichet was awarded 1st place in the Dubliner Top 100 Restaurants for 2012. So, when, for a variety of reasons, I could not take my Mum to lunch on Mother's Day itself I thought that a trip to Pichet might stand a reasonable chance of making up for my shortcomings as a dutiful daughter. I think my name might be safe on the will a little while longer...
Pichet offers a good value €20 for 2 or €25 for 3 course lunch menu however, our decision to opt for the a la carte was probably inevitable once Mum spotted Tuna Sashimi... The menu currently on the Pichet website is not the same as the one we chose from so please bear with me as I jog my memory with my photos. Luckily Mum is probably the most 'snap-happy' person I know so she had no issue with being delayed in eating her food while I snapped away!
Once we had ordered, a basket of soft warm bread (brioche or foccacia maybe, we forgot to ask) was delivered to the table along with excellent olive oil and vinegar for dipping. Shortly thereafter, our 500ml Pichet of Sauvignon Blanc also arrived. Being able to opt for a Pichet over a bottle is a nice option at lunch when a bottle might be too much (it's rare I know, but does happen)
My starter of Scallops, potato puree, mushrooms and pancetta was generous and delicious with the crisp pancetta balancing the soft scallop and potato while delivering little bursts of saltiness. My only quibble would be that the shells, while making for beautiful presentation, provided hiding places in their grooves for the potato puree which I had to go hunting after with my knife.
The aforementioned Tuna Sashimi came as two beautiful slices of lightly seared tuna alongside a tuna dip, artichoke heart and aubergine caviar with an impressive, crispy on the outside yet runny on the inside, quail's egg perched on top.
Mum then opted for one of Pichet's signature dishes: Crispy Belly of Suckling Pig, Toulouse sausage, Puy Lentils and a mustard mash. The Pork Belly was unctuous and worked beautifully with its various accompaniments.
Encouraged by the waitress, I decided to go for the special of the day, Duck Breast with Blackberries, Black Pudding ‘Cigar’ and Pommes Boulangère. Being a regular visitor to the Perigord in France I have eaten my fair share of duck and this particular specimen ranks among the best. The skin was beautifully seasoned and crispy while the meat was some of the juiciest duck I’ve ever had the fortune to eat. The potatoes contained a wonderful surprise as there was a layer of duck leg meat in the middle. I love to see different cuts of meat within a dish, it gives me a wonderful sense of satisfaction that nothing has gone to waste in the preparation of my meal.
I’m not sure how much it went with the overall dish but the black pudding crispy cigar roll deserves a special mention. It was incredibly flavoursome without being overpoweringly peppery and, in a slightly smaller version, is an idea I fully intend on stealing as an unusual canapé.
After our very substantial first two courses we were looking longingly at the dessert menu’s tasty offerings but knew that we barely had enough room to share something between us. Then, near the bottom of the list, we spotted the perfect treat – a selection of six Petits Fours, perfect! I do feel it should perhaps be more accurately described as a selection of homemade chocolates, for that is what we got, but they were delicious nonetheless. The Salted Caramel (I love this combination) and Orange stood out while Mum actively disliked the Pistachio (it is an acquired taste). The chocolates were leisurely enjoyed alongside an excellent espresso and a hot chocolate with a small alp of marshmallows perched on top.
|L-R: Orange, Jameson, Pistachio, ?, Mint, Salted Caramel|
Overall, the ambience, service and quality of the food really stand out at Pichet. Do you pay fairly heftily for that? Well, yes, I would say the prices are towards the upper end of Dublin standards but I felt it was well worth it as we were out for a treat and I will certainly be returning there for treats in the future or, when the bank balance is less healthy, to try out their €20/25 set lunch menu which is great value.
PS: Mum was also quite delighted that ‘that guy off Masterchef’ Nick himself helped her in to her coat when we were leaving. Quite the added wow factor for any Masterchef fans in your life!
Lunch of two starters, two mains, petits fours selection, 500ml pichet of wine, espresso and hot chocolate came to €110 excluding service.
14/15 Trinity Street, Dublin 2.
01 677 1060