Friday, 26 July 2013

Views and Reviews: The Greenhouse

Amuse Bouche
Rachel, Dublin

The Greenhouse possibly definitely isn't the best destination for a couple who are supposedly budgeting for a wedding.  Though, in my defence, I did book this dinner before I knew that I would need to save for a wedding, that's how far in advance you need to reserve for dinner on a Saturday here. 

I considered cancelling but, having heard such good things about Mickael Viljanen's food, I knew I couldn't endure the torture of having to walk past the door of the restaurant every morning on my commute for the next year. 

There is only one menu available on a Saturday night, the five course surprise menu costing €75. We decided that if we were going to blow our budget we may as well do it in style so we opted for the accompanying flight of wines for €40.

Our meal began with an impressive array of amuse bouche of all shapes, colours and flavours. Meals like this always remind me that I should write up restaurant reviews swiftly. The details get very hazy, particularly after the aforementioned flight of wine! I do remember that we enjoyed all of these little bites but that the mini potato skins (bottom left, above) stood out a mile. It is a very skilled hand that can get that much flavour into something so tiny!

Our starter of foie gras 'royal' (somewhere between a foie gras mousse or parfait) was accompanied by sea buckthorn, something I have been very keen to try as it seems to be a like it or loath it ingredient on programmes like Great British Menu. I loved it.  It is sharp and citrussy and a great contrast against the rich and smooth foie gras. Sea buckthorn sorbet and foie gras 'snow' added an extra dimension to the dish and really brought it alive. 

A scallop ceviche with crab, cucumber and horseradish was a much subtler combination of flavours but no less delicious (As you can see, I dove in before remembering to take a photo).

Trout with langoustine, Wye valley asparagus, peas and girolles was a standout dish for me. It was light and delicate; the perfect dish for a summery day.

Our main course of hay-smoked Wicklow lamb involved a bit of theatre. The lamb was brought to our table and shown to us, still nestled in it's smoking box surrounded by hay; the smell was divine.  It shortly reappeared, served up with a piece of slow cooked lamb and a sweetbread that had been grilled on a rosemary skewer. The texture of the sweetbread was as soft as butter and the smoking had given the whole dish a delicate flavour that wasn't overpowering. I'm not the greatest fan of the flavour of lamb but I'd eat it all day when it is cooked to this standard.

We chose to share a cheese plate (supplement €14) which I obviously enjoyed so much I forgot to take a picture of it.  This was followed by our dessert which was a marriage made in heaven of peanut, banana and bittersweet chocolate. We finished with an excellent coffee accompanied by petit fours of teeny tiny rum babas, marshmallow, fudge and a, frankly horrible, mushroom flavoured chocolate that I obviously haven't acquired the taste for yet!

Service was excellent, as you would expect from this level of restaurant, though not perfect, as, despite receiving side plates and butter knives, we never received any bread. There was something about service all night (a little rushed perhaps) that felt a little off and not in keeping with the quality of the food.

I also developed a case of dessert envy during our meal when I saw beautiful, towering souffles being delivered for dessert to a neighbouring table. I massively enjoyed my own dessert, I might have even ordered it over the option of a souffle (though I do love a souffle), but I hadn't been given this option as there was supposedly one fixed menu that night. When you are paying this sort of price for a meal you should never feel that you have been left with the second best option.

Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our meal. The quality of the ingredients, the skill involved in preparing them and the unusual flavour combinations are all worthy of the hefty price tag and I would not be surprised in the least to see stars in this restaurant's future. 

Our bill came to a little over €260 (excl. service) including water, coffee and the additional cheese course.

The Greenhouse
Dawson Street
Dublin 2
01 676 7015

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