Monday 17 September 2012

The Green Hen, 33 Exchequer Street , Dublin 2

I like eating out on a Sunday night. Maybe it’s because you can still celebrate the weekend, forgetting that the next day you’re back to reality.
Mr. FFID (Thanks to the lovely Cuisine Genie for naming my other half) and I never usually go for the early bird. Maybe it’s because I’m French but I find them too… early. Well, last Sunday after a nice weekend of Culture Night, wine and laz
iness we were starving at 6.30 pm and decided to have a go at the Early bird in The Green Hen.

They say on their website that “they serve French cuisine with an Irish twist”. I was curious to taste the mix of the two countries of my heart’s cuisine.
Their Early Bird is good value with 2 courses for €19.50, 3 courses for €22 served from 5.30 to 7pm Sunday to Thursday.
The place was busy, we didn’t have a booking (as usual) but we were offered a table straight away. I must say I was impressed with the d├ęcor. There is a French influence in there with their retro posters of cinema classics and their black and white framed photographs. They also have mirrors with the specials written on them, like you see in Parisian brasseries.

Now let’s talk about the serious stuff: the food. I ordered the St Tola organic goat cheese and beetroot salad. The cheese was creamy and I found its savoury taste a good match with the sweetness of the fig and the crunchy glazed walnuts.

I was mad at Mr. FFID for choosing a better starter than mine. He had the crispy pork belly and black pudding. The plate was superbly presented with both meat items on each side of a poached hen’s egg. The pork belly was succulent and the French style black pudding had a softer, creamier texture than you find in Irish black pudding with no grains in it.

My main course was the duck confit. Nicely topped on a round shaped fondant potato, the meat was good and the baby vegetables on the side were crunchy.

Mr. FFID went for the roast supreme free range chicken with cassoulet of white beans, chorizo and red peppers. The chicken was tender, the cassoulet looked prettier than many cassoulets I’ve seen in France and the sauce was creamy. However we both found the dish to be a bit plain with not much of a chorizo taste.

We’re absolutely stuffed but couldn’t resist the temptation of finishing on a sweet note. Mr. FFID had the passion fruit and lemon tart served with blackcurrant sorbet. He enjoyed his dessert but didn’t eat all of the short cut pastry. I ordered the white chocolate and vanilla panna cotta with fresh berry jelly and biscotti. I don’t know how I dealt with 3 courses or more back in France but here it seems that I can’t handle as much, especially when the dishes are not small sized portions. I wanted the panna cotta as something light but despite its appealing appearance I thought there was way too much jelly on top. It overpowered the taste of the white chocolate, but maybe it’s my French palate that doesn’t agree with jelly textures. I appreciated the thoughtful staff though, asking me if everything was OK when they saw I didn’t finish the dessert.  I think they were surprised since I left nice clean plates after the two previous courses. I should have gone with the waitress recommendation of leaving room for a dessert cocktail.

Overall, I enjoyed the early bird form The Green Hen. It’s good value and there is definitely a French touch that has been nicely put into the interior decoration and the food. I appreciated being served quickly and the fact that the staff were attentive and considerate.  Also the waitress had good taste in fashion: she complimented my dress before I left!

The Green Hen
33 Exchequer Street
Dublin 2
01 6707238

This is an independent review, I paid for my meal.