It may seems strange to go for dinner in a department store, but Harvey Nichols has long been associated with fine food. Its Irish outpost, which opened at Dundrum Town Centre in 2005, is no different and the First Floor restaurant has its own entrance, keeping it separate from the shopping experience.
The contemporary décor of this Dublin restaurants dining room has drama a-plenty: with floor-to-ceiling windows, wooden slats studded with tiny lights, acid bright furnishings and graphic carpets it’s a gorgeous space that’s both bright and comfortable.
The First Floor Bar looks onto the restaurant through a glass wall; a popular spot for aperitifs and cocktails, it also serves a new tapas menu in the evenings, and from lunchtime on Fridays and Saturdays. Next door you’ll find the full fine dining experience, from formal service to well thought out menus and quality ingredients.
Menus feature a mix of rustic and classic dishes that have been given a modern treatment. Mains are cleverly spilt up into categories of Farm, Sea and Soil, although dish descriptions could be clearer and they’re sprinkled with terms – duxelle, crotin, ranch etc – that can make them seem a little inaccessible. (Likewise there are many ¬elements without descriptions: Dolce Latte, Perigord sauce, St. George, which could easily confuse diners.)
Good starters may include Gamba Prawns with parsley and garlic – a piquant Spanish dish, well executed – and a crayfish cocktail that, although filling, is refined with juicy tom berries, baby gem leaves and shellfish dressing.
The best dishes successfully show off both accomplished techniques and the beautiful ingredients favoured by the kitchen - among the main courses, an 8oz fillet of Donald Russell beef with shallot purée, spinach, mushroom duxelle, truffle dauphinoise and perigord truffles is a good example.
Presentation is especially good throughout, with charming and attentive service also a highlight.
The wine list is impressive and offers several good value house wines as well as plenty of treats for the connoisseur.
The First Floor offers an enjoyable dining experience in an attractive setting and good value promotions are frequently offered.