The combination of a great location, right on St Stephen’s Green, reliable country 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 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.
Head Chef David O'Byrne's very seasonal menus feature rustic French and Belgian cooking delivered with real skill and panache. Bistro favourites like bouillabaisse, foie gras and duck confit sit alongside traditional casseroles served in cast iron cocottes.
This Dublin restaurants €37 Table d’hote menu offers excellent value with tempting choices – perhaps a rich fish soup packed with shellfish and chunks of fish topped with a dollop of tangy rouille - followed 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 nutmeg crème brûlée, served with Garibaldi biscuits.
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 the house speciality of moules frites.