Thursday 30 January 2014

Marco Pierre White, 51 Dawson Street, Dublin 2

It was my turn to treat Mr. FFID for a meal that night, so one word naturally came to my mind: steak. I've always wondered what Marco Pierre White was like and for a long time thought it looked a bit posh. However, after looking at the menu online and being told by Yolène that it was good, I decided to give it a go.

We arrived a bit early and were asked to wait for our table outside. The outdoor sitting space is well heated and protected by large glass screens so even though it was January we were still warm and so we decided to remain outside for the rest of the evening.

The terrace looks chic with cushions, fluffy blankets and the heaters at full blast, it felt romantic and cosy.

Marco Pierre White is a franchise with two branches in Ireland: Dawson Street and Donnybrook. The steakhouse on Dawson Street has a value menu at €19.95 for 2 courses and €24.95 for 3 courses in case you find their 'a la carte' options too dear. Starters range from €8.95 for kipper paté with Irish whiskey and melba toast to €14.50 for foie gras parfait or cocktail of fresh Dublin bay prawns. On the main side, you'll find steaks, a choice of cuts and garnishes as well as other meaty and fishy options.

There is nothing healthy going on in the blog post below as we don't do January diets here in FFID land. If my pictures are a little red it's because of the heaters that were above our heads, so sorry if it doesn't do justice to the food but this meal was worth blogging about.

The last time I had a baked St Marcellin other than at home was in a Parisian wine bar so it was naturally my first choice when I saw it on the menu (€11.95).

St Marcellin is a little, smelly, soft-ripened cheese that when melted is delicious. The vine roasted tomatoes served with it were plum and juicy and the slices of warm and crunch toasted sourdough bread were lovely to dunk into the gooey cheese.

When the weather is cold outside a baked St Marcellin makes your forget about your misery but maybe I'm getting a little carried away here. Only one word to describe this starter: cheese-tastic!

Mr. FFID started off with the potted duck starter topped with green peppercorns and toasted sourdough bread (€10.95). Where I'm from we call it duck 'rillettes', it's a wonderful fatty kind of paté and this one was moist, rich and the peppercorns gave a nice kick to it.

Both our starters were rustic and simple but felt like a big hug on a plate on that cold evening.

Vegetarians might want to look away at this stage because what comes next is meaty... and raw.

I was so excited to find steak tartare à l'Américaine  (€26.95) on the menu so I ordered it as a main course.  Raw meat can scare people a little bit and it's not common to find it on Irish menus but believe me you should try it someday. The steak tartare was presented by itself on a plate topped with the egg yolk in half a shell.

A side salad, toasted bread and a bowl of chunky chips came along with my tartar. The meat was tasty, fresh and high quality, the seasoning was excellent.

Monsieur FFID went for a fillet of beef with a classic sauce béarnaise (€30).

The sauce was silky smooth and the taste of butter just perfection. The piece of meat was thick, nicely grilled outside and cooked rare at Mr. FFID's request. The beef was wonderful and melted in the mouth, the chips were fluffy inside and golden outside.

We rounded off our supper with an Irish cheese platter (€11.95) that included some of my favourites (Cashel blue, Clonmore, Coolea and Gubbeen) served with quince jelly and crackers. Well, need I say more?

The menu, setting and indeed the service reminded me of a chic Parisian brasserie. The waiting staff were efficient but not particularly warm or friendly.  Marco Pierre White isn't cheap but then there aren't many places in Dublin where you can eat outside in January without being cold plus the food definitely got the thumbs up from us.

Marco Pierre White
51 Dawson Street
Dublin 2

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