RE-LAUNCHED AS 'THE DAWSON' APRIL 2013
Those in search of a restaurant with wow factor will not be disappointed by La Stampa’s Dining Room and its lofty interior. Soaring ceilings lit with stained glass panels, sparkling chandeliers, thick drapes, starched linen and plush seating set the tone for a fine dining room that’s both elegant and glamorous. A headless winged statue presides over diners, bathed in gentle light as they eat.
The welcome at this Dublin restaurants friendly and prompt, with arriving guests quickly offered menus, water and choice of two home made breads - sour dough and multiseed - a good start, allowing time to relax at the spacious and beautifully appointed table and enjoy the room while reading the menu.
Chef Colin Kelly, formerly of One Pico, is in charge of the kitchen and offers menus with a mix of contemporary cooking, such as crispy pork belly and scallops with cauliflower purée and classics like coq au vin. Although there's surprisingly little mention of suppliers, the choice of dishes is appealing and diners who appreciate food with lovely colourful combinations and depth of flavour will be happy here.
A velvet smooth foie gras parfait served in a tall glass makes a beautiful classic starter; complemented by sweet pear dice it's a pleasing combination of flavours when served at the right temperature (not too chilled), and a very pretty duck confit with beetroot velouté and horseradish crème fraiche is an equally well judged starter.
Rich flavours come on stream in excellent main courses such as a braised daube of beef with creamy mash, caramelised pearl onions and Alsace bacon - the deep beef braising flavours are very satisfying and complemented by the kassler style bacon.
And vegetarians will be very pleased to find that the deep flavours characterising this kitchen extend to meatless dishes - such as a well made and carefully seasoned wild mushroom risotto, with rocket and truffle dressing.
Cold dishes can suffer from being served straight from the cold room - a tempting sounding chocolate hazelnut grenache, with honeycomb, cookie and vanilla ice cream, for example, is spoilt if served too cold.
The wine list offers good selections with vintages listed. The main section offers 22 whites and 28 reds, mostly French and Italian, with 5 red and white available by the glass (€6.50/ 9.50),6 half bottles and 7 champagnes. Prices are not unreasonable, and a bin end selection offers some bargains, but some work on improving the presentation, adding tasting notes and consistent information on grape varieties would pay dividends.
Although not cheap (and 12.5% service charge applies to tables of 5+), the cooking is generally of a very high standard and the service won’t let you down.The Dining Room has lost none of its renowned glamour and panache - attracting a slightly older crowd, it remains a fashionable spot for a celebration or romantic date.