Next door to his bar, The Met, and sharing the entrance, Laurence Murray’s smart-casual restaurant is in a very attractive building with dining on two levels.
Friendly smartly-dressed staff make a great first impression, and the inviting restaurant is welcoming and comfortable with natural light flooding through large front windows, stripped floor boards and some button-back banquette seating gand soft music - and there’s another equally pleasant room upstairs with a minstrels gallery.
Delicious sourdough bread and bottled water appears in a flash, and well-informed staff helpfully explain Head Chef Philip Hutton’s menu and the evening’s specials.
An early bird with four dishes on each course offers good value, and the à la carte includes some sociable sharing platters as well as a good choice of starters, including ever-popular belly of pork with black pudding - and a beautiful dish of seared tuna loin, sliced and presented on a black slate with tiny pickled vegetables and Kikkoman wasabi mayonnaise.
Alongside some middle of the road crowd pleasers (burgers etc) steaks are quite a speciality among the main courses - there’s a choice of three 21-day dry-aged steak dishes, with useful information on cooking temperatures - and there may also be some less usual options such as venison (a dish of peppered rump with red cabbage, glazed vegetables and port wine glaze could be tempting).
But it could well be the fish that steals the show - who could fail to be delighted with a dish of perfectly seared scallops with crispy bacon, salsify, shallot purée and rocket salad? A beautiful dish, perfectly cooked, and the unusual salsify makes a perfect match.
And the evening’s special could be another great fish dish of four perfectly cooked medallions of monkfish resting on rounds of potatoes with a lime and lemon foam, just wilted spinach and a delicate beurre blanc sauce - yes, maybe foams have had their day but this one serves its purpose well - and, at just € 17.95, a well-priced dish too.
To finish, you might share a generous vanilla crème brulee with shortbread and rhubarb - the crème brulée a little heavy, perhaps, but very tasty with plenty of vanilla seeds, lovely shortbread and rhubarb compote.
There’s a short moderately priced wine list on the back of menu, with tasting notes and seven wines by glass ( €5.50/ €6.00) and, although the offering is limited, wine service is good.
All round there are plenty of reasons to return to Brasserie 15 - including some impressive cooking, and the great staff who make sure that everybody is well looked after and has a good time.
An evening dining destination of merit for Carlow Town.