Near the pedestrian entrance to the Trinity Street carpark and handy to just about everything, these premises just off Dame Street, have already been home to several pleasing restaurants (and one of Dublin’s first specialist cheese shops), but the latest incumbent is especially welcome.
With the dashing Masterchef presented Nick Munier, front of house, and chef Stephen Gibson formerly of L'Ecrivain in the kitchen, Pichet has all the credentials you could ask for in a restaurant.
Even the name Pichet exudes the zeitgeist for simpler food and value dining - a pichet is a smaller measurement of wine than a bottle, like a carafe, which is served with little ceremony but in this case with plenty of style.
The wine list will satisfy many tastes, not least those watching their budgets, with a clever offering of wines by the glass, pichets of 250ml and 500ml, and bottles too - so you can order a bottle of wine for your meal, or a suitable smaller amount to match each dish.
This Dublin Restaurants cheery blue awnings and smart blue leather chairs with white piping give a fresh feel to the space, which is flooded with light. The terrace is set to become a hot spot for smoker-diners too, or for those who covet a continental lifestyle. All this smart styling is matched by well-briefed staff who carry their weight of knowledge with casual ease.
Menus offered include a keenly priced lunch /early dinner, available as a 2 or 3-course menu with limited choice but no short cuts where quality is concerned (the chicken, for example, is Fermanagh Free Range).
There’s a strong leaning towards France and menus read well, with plenty for the curious foodie as well as more conventional diners although – strangely in these inclusive times - vegetarians may not get much of a look in (one dish perhaps), so it would be advisable to request vegetarian options at the time of booking, if this is a priority.
Carnivores, on the other hand, should fare very well indeed – take, for example, the very best steak (supplied by the celebrated butcher Peter Hannan, Moira, Co Down), is simply served in a manner that suggests an accomplished chef who allows quality to take centre stage and avoids artifice with classic dished.
A simple sounding but interesting dish that may be on the menu - available as a starter or main course portion – is rose veal Bolognese with rigatoni pasta and aged parmesan. Unlike the usual white continental veal that is raised in the dark to keep the flesh pale, rose veal is the young meat of an animal raised naturally, as is usual in Ireland (something which may encourage customers who normally avoid veal to try it); although still a delicate meat for this richly warming creation, it is a superb dish.
Other meats are equally appealing (exceptionally flavoursome belly of pork, for example, and slow cooked lamb) and, depending on the menu, there will normally be at least one good fish dish - an interesting combination such as roast cod with crab mayonnaise, chorizo and a mussel fricassée.
The dessert offering includes a variety of the most popular dishes – sticky toffee pudding, chocolate brownie, crème brulée – but cheese lovers will be seriously tempted by the Sheridan’s Artisan Cheese Board, with fruit chutney, quince jelly and home made crackers. What a way to round off a cracking meal.
Representing a new wave of second generation chefs and hospitality people with a genuine passion for food and service, Pichet was well-pitched for success from the outset.
In addition to the restaurant, Pichet coffee shop is open during the day for breakfast, light lunches and snacks.