When neighbourhood favourite Alexis closed its doors it was a big loss to Dun Laoghaire. Happily, Morels has been resurrected in its place, with head chef Alan O’Reilly back at the pass. With the polished Stefan Couzy at front-of-house, diners can expect a professional and efficient set-up.
Menus are well thought out for broad appeal, and offer good value. Bistro favourites like pan-fried duck with gratin dauphinoise; ribeye with crispy onions and chips; and roast cod with chorizo and borlotti bean risotto are generally well executed.
And there may be some nice surprises, such as whiting in herb butter with baby spinach and potato purée: perfectly cooked with fragrant butter and good accompaniments, it is great to see this lovely fish in a restaurant.
The richness of the signature hot chocolate pudding with vanilla ice cream may not be to everyone’s taste, but classics like crème brulée with lemon shortbread will always appeal.
All dishes are elegantly presented and the smart contemporary dining room, with its neutral tones, comfy banquettes and long bar, is flexible enough to accommodate big groups alongside intimate dates.
The pretty courtyard is an attractive spot for a sunny lunch, with the Sunday lunch menu particularly appealing for families.
The wine list is nicely laid out under helpful headings like Zesty & Fruity whites and Smooth & Layered reds, and there’s a good selection by the glass, carafe and bottle.
The value offered is good (especially the early dinner menu) and this, together with seasonal ingredients, an innovative wine list (and just a little menu-tweaking) should put Morels firmly back on the map.