Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Views and Reviews: La Réserve

La Réserve Brasserie

Rachel, Dublin

I am running low on brownie points.  I usually have loads to spare (I keep count) but a fantastic surprise brunch this Sunday at new Ranelagh Brasserie La Réserve to mark our 2 and a half year-a-versary means that the Boyfriend has definitely stolen the lead.

I had spotted La Réserve on a recent trip through Ranelagh and, being a confirmed Francophile, it was straight on my 'must visit soon' list.  I was therefore delighted when it turned out to be our secret destination.  We were greeted warmly by the lovely French staff and shown to our table in the small dining room (we counted only 28 covers).  It has been tastefully decorated to suit the small space and I loved the colourful mismatched chairs and blackboards for the daily specials.  

Linda O'Sullivan wrote very positively about dinner here recently and while I coveted the French onion soup on the dinner menu I was very happy with the range of options we had on the brunch/lunch menu.  In order to help us with the difficult task of choosing what to have we ordered a restorative Kir and a glass of Rosé.

I decided to choose the Smoked Salmon and Goat's cheese Galette (I asked for it without walnuts), a thin buckwheat crepe that came with a simple side salad.  This was a dish that made up for in taste everything it lacked in appearance.  The galette was soft in the middle with crispy edges and the salty, tangy filling was a heavenly combination. 

The boyfriend went for the 'Paillard Poulet', a combination of chicken breast with smoked salmon topped with 'egg mimosa', a poached egg with a very light hollandaise/velouté style sauce.  This was served with carrot, cauliflower and broccoli and was deemed very tasty.  If you are very hungry fries and other sides are available to order. We decided to save our appetites for dessert.

From top left, clockwise: Kir and Rosé, Paillard Poulet, Lemon Meringue Pie, Coffee, Sweet Crepe, Galette

I'm not sure if it was because he'd had to put up with me oohing and aahing over my galette but the boyfriend decided he had to have some crepe action as well.  He opted for the caramel and spiced apple combination that came sprinkled with lots of crunchy toasted almonds. 

I pushed the boat out and plumped for the Lemon Meringue Pie.  Shortly after ordering I was intrigued to hear the sound of a blow torch emanating from the kitchen.  Sure enough, I was presented with a tangy lemon tart base topped with a beautifully piped mound of freshly caramelised gooey meringue, the flavour of which was reminiscent of marshmallows toasted to melting in a bonfire.  It was, very simply, to die for.  We rounded off the meal with an excellent americano and a hot chocolate. 

There is obvious care and attention to detail being invested in this new venture, the chef even came out from the kitchen at one stage to ask if we were enjoying everything (I loved his chef's neckerchief).   While I felt that some prices were at the upper end of the Dublin restaurant scale (my Galette was €12.90), I thought that the consistency of quality shown throughout our meal could command them.  Our only tiny complaint was that the dining room was quite stuffy, even though it was less than a quarter full, but this is nothing that couldn't be solved by either cranking up the air conditioning or propping the door open.  I am very much looking forward to going back to try the dinner menu. There is a bowl of French onion soup there with my name on it!

Brunch of two mains, two desserts, two glasses of wine, a cocktail, coffee and hot chocolate came to €64.60 excluding service.

La Réserve
53 Ranelagh Village, Dublin 6
01 496 8825

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