Number 41 St Stephen’s Green is as elegant an address as you’ll find on this fashionable city square. The creeper-clad Georgian townhouse boasts a handsome and impressive facade that hints at glamorous goings-on inside. Home to Residence, a private members club, number 41 also boasts Restaurant FortyOne, a fine dining restaurant that is, thankfully, open to non-members.
Diners are greeted in the hall of this once private home by a warmly professional receptionist before being guided up the staircase to the first floor. Here, three dining rooms – one with enviable views over St Stephen’s Green and one for private dining – are set with starched linen cloths, sparkling glasses and silverware.
Smart interior design means the historic space, complete with high ceilings and sash windows, has been sensitively styled with Gustavian elements to marry old with new. Pale grey wood panelling hangs with wall sconces, large canvases, gilt mirrors and architectural prints. A mix of curvy carver chairs with pale upholstery and dark quilted banquettes make the room both fashionable and beautiful.
Such opulent surroundings deserve exquisite food and diners here will not be disappointed. Euro-Toques Chef Graham Neville – a Dubliner who honed his skills abroad and, in more recent years at Thorntons across The Green where he was head chef for the Michelin-starred Kevin Thornton – is at the helm, and his pedigree shows. His menus feature a thrilling roll call of seasonal Irish produce - some of it from the walled organic garden at Kenagh Hill in Killiney where, along with gardener Kieron Lacey, he is fortunate enough to be able to grow for the restaurant - balanced with the cleverest and tastiest of accompaniments beautifully presented.
Good bread and a conversation-stopping amuse bouche – perhaps a delicate mushroom and chicken raviolo in truffle-infused velouté – will alert diners to the quality of the cooking to follow.
An autumn menu might offer a luxurious mix of, amongst other choices, salt cured foie gras, Dublin Bay prawns, fresh goats’ cheese, wild turbot, Clogherhead crab, aged O’Coileain sirloin and fillet of Irish Angus beef. A signature starter of roasted Dinish Island scallops served with ruby grapefruit, avocado puree and chilli is breathtakingly delicious and demonstrates a superb palate and creativity.
Neville’s menus feature a pleasing array of native seafood but his meat dishes show he’s equally adept at everything, from Moulard duck to loin of black pork and fillet of Irish Angus. Desserts are equally exquisite and Restaurant FortyOne’s warm apple tart tatin, served with bourbon vanilla ice cream, is as golden, sticky and textbook perfect as you could ever hope to taste.
This Dublin restaurants setting and the calibre of food could make this fine dining experience hushed and formal, but perfectly pitched service make it a more relaxed and contemporary affair. Staff are utterly professional, knowledgeable and discreet yet they exude a friendliness and warmth that creates a hip and intimate dining space.
As one would expect from a private members club, sommelier Victor Nedelea's wine list stars some heavy hitters, with well over half the list French. Several wines are available by the glass and good coffee is served with the prettiest petit fours.
Restaurant FortyOne is a special place delivering exceptional food in exceptional surroundings. Versatile and stylish it’s the ideal setting for everything from a business lunch to a special occasion or romantic date.