For more than 25 years there’s been a restaurant at 1 Windsor Terrace, offering some of the nicest views in Dublin. In 2010 Sebastien Masi and Kirsten Batt took over Locks, added Brasserie to the name, and set about creating as much of a buzz here as at their sister restaurant, the excellent Pearl Brasserie.
This Dublin restaurants previous owners were responsible for the beautiful décor, a cool blend of private-club-meets-Scandi-chic, and the ochre, cream and muted bronze palette has held up well.
It’s as restrained and contemporary as it was when it was unveiled in 2009 and appeals as much to the old-school diner as the hipster clientele. The little bar and private dining room are lovely features too but, while there’s a great buzz in the evenings, the smaller upstairs dining room lacks the atmosphere of the ground floor.
Chef Rory Carville helped put Locks Brasserie on the foodie map and his departure in May 2013 saw another talented chef take the reins. Greystones native, Keelan Higgs, brought experience from Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud and Chapter One with him, and his pristine cooking bears all the hallmarks of his impressive CV.
Menus feature an appealing balance of meat and seafood, with every element carefully chosen. A warm salad of olive oil poached seatrout accompanied by rainbow radishes, confit fennel, caper berries, nectarine and cardamom is likely to be the prettiest salad you’ll ever see, with flavours that delight too.
Mains, perhaps confit pork shoulder with apricots, butternut squash purée and walnut crumb, or immaculate pan-fried turbot with frog’s leg Kiev, artichoke, and onion and oyster emulsion should excite jaded diners, who will discover keen attention to detail and everything deftly seasoned and cooked to perfection.
Thrills don’t stop at dessert time either, with everything from chocolate pavé to mango and passionfruit pannacotta delivering exciting flavours. The cellar is stocked with a wide selection of predominantly French bottles and there are plenty of choices by the glass.
Front of house, the mainly French team deliver quality service although it could sometimes be more engaging.
Seasonal ingredients form the backbone of Lock’s menus, and there’s impressive value to be found in the €25 Seasonal Market 2-course Treat menu, available 7 days a week (though just until 7pm on Thursday to Saturday).
The bill for à la carte dining can add up, but you can expect a memorable meal in this smart and fashionable brasserie.