The combination of a great location, right on St Stephen’s Green, reliable French bistro cooking that offers something different in the city, good value and great atmosphere have ensured La Mère Zou’s place as a Dublin favourite for over two decades - owner Eric Tydgadt and his team celebrated 20 years in business in September 2014.
Large hanging baskets and windows boxes are pretty and welcoming. Inside, a stylish basement space has exposed brick, warm wood, comfy banquettes and quirky decoupage creating a real continental vibe – and simple wooden-topped tables with salt and pepper mills are a reminder that you don’t need fancy table settings when the essentials are right.
A new Head Chef David, Killian Durkin, arrived at La Mère Zou in summer 2015, bringing an impressive classical pedigree which includes experience in some of France's top restaurants as well as leading Dublin kitchens such as Thornton's and Chapter One. His arrival is heralded as 'the start of a new era' at this much-loved restaurant, to be unveiled in autumn 2015 - meanwhile he is delighting the many fans of La Mère Zou with his cooking, which is delivered with real skill and panache.
This Dublin restaurants renowned for offering excellent value with tempting choices – perhaps a rich fish soup packed with shellfish and chunks of fish topped with a dollop of tangy rouille, or a Lyonnaise salad of frisée lettuce, smoked bacon, potato, and crispy hen’s egg - followed by Confit duck leg, potato purée, savoy cabbage, bacon and mustard or, in the colder months, by a chargrilled venison steak with potato fondant, roasted parsnip and purée, cavolo nero, red wine and shallot.
Or you might try a summer dish of roast chicken supreme with fresh peas, broad beans and Alsace bacon: a beautiful dish with great seasoning and lovely succulent meat, the orzo gratin will be a revelation – so creamy and delicious.
The dessert menu offers many French classics with original twists, perhaps a dark chocolate crème brûlée served with a coconut tuile, or a French farmhouse cheese board - rare enough to merit special mention in these days of all-Irish cheese offerings!
The warm service, excellent cooking and convivial space make this a lovely spot to linger with wine and La Mère Zou’s cellar is dominated by mid-priced French offerings. There’s a selection of Belgian beer too, which would make an interesting pairing with many dishes, perhaps including that great classic, moules frites.