The Kelly family have transformed their elegant basement brasserie into a casual-smart hideaway where guests can choose between cocktails and sharing platters at the chi-chi bar, or accomplished cooking enjoyed in the spacious low-ceilinged restaurant or its heated, cushioned terrace.
Formerly Brasserie le Pont,this Dublin restaurants new incarnation has removed the formal linen table clothes but not the general comfort of the setting nor the smaller touches of luxury such as the linen napery, amuse bouche and petit fours with coffees. Smartly attired and professional staff guide guests through the modern European menu and well-balanced wine list with impressive knowledge and confidence, with the wine pairings being particularly well-considered.
The execution of the menu’s offering is as impressive as the head chef Lumir Tousek’s CV (he was formerly head chef at l’Ecrivain) and, although they don’t shout about it on the menu, the ingredients themselves are sourced with a close eye on quality.
Choose between a full à la carte or a well-priced reduced choice set menu (available all night Tuesday–Friday) which doesn’t cut corners on what are labour-intensive and imaginative renderings of quality ingredients, such as whiskey-cured salmon (from Mayo’s Clare Island) served with beetroot, mustard, kohlrabi and walnut crisp. The à la carte however is where the kitchen’s skill truly shines, with confident, even brave treatments of the likes of scallops, poached and presented as a moreish mousse that had been toasted for extra flavour and served with pickled mushrooms, Alsace bacon and an earthy mushroom broth.
Even those dishes that sound busy on the menu (lamb loin with courgette, polenta, baby leek, red pepper, samphire) display impressive balance on the plate, with a welcome emphasis on visual appeal and textural play that does not compromise on the delivery of flavour. Indeed, when simple things such as polenta or glazed carrots can taste so good, you know you’re in good hands.
The combined result is a reliable spot for comfortable dining (even with the inevitable noise-factor that comes with removing linen clothes from the equation) for business or family get-togethers, and an attractive hideout for a languid lunch or evening supper of a more romantic nature.