Tuesday 18 February 2014

Forest Avenue, Sussex Terrace, Sussex Road, Dublin 4

I usually cook a nice meal for Mr. FFID and I on Valentine's night but this year we wanted to celebrate differently. We didn't want a restaurant with tacky heart-shaped decorations or an overpriced Valentine's menu so we booked a table in the newish Forest Avenue restaurant, which has had great reviews so far.

When we arrived in front of the restaurant I knew straight away it'd be my kind of place. The vintage bike in the entrance, the wooden bar, the bare walls and the open kitchen at the back: the decor is quite sparse but put together with taste and great design.

During the day, they serve a lunch menu priced at €20 for the two course and €25 for three courses. They also serve a very original five course Sunday brunch at €24. In the evening time, the residents menu ranges from €27 to €33 and is served on Wednesday and Thursday evening only. If you feel like treating yourself the €48 tasting menu is the way to go and this is what we had on Valentine's night.

We were greeted by a member of staff and brought to our table, which happened to be the chef's table. There is something quite intimidating about sitting that close to the chef but also fascinating. It's the most open kitchen I have ever seen in Dublin and we could see every single dish being plated up in front of us by chef and owner John Wyer.

We kicked off the meal with the fresh, warm bread served with a smooth aubergine dip. The potato bread had an amazing brioche like texture to it and the other bread was so soft and fluffy that it almost felt like edible cotton.

The round of snacks started with the beetroot and goat tartlet.

Followed by the cutest little ham sandwich topped with a big drop of parsley mayo, we found it very moreish.

The brown bread with horseradish and chives which was probably my least favourite of the three, not bad but not overwhelming either.

We were then brought a well-presented salad course of pressed duck leg. Not only was it beautiful to look at but also a great combination of textures and flavours. The hazelnuts and croutons brought some lovely crunchiness while the duck liver was creamy and flavoursome. The blood orange slices were refreshing and gave a nice tangy kick to the salad.

The dish that followed was a superb boiled egg resting on a bed of home-made cavatelli pasta with some nice fresh and crunchy sprouting broccoli and little pieces of smoked haddock with horseradish.

Mr. FFID's dish of lamb was sublimely pink as it should be and tender, but what won him over was the liver that married well with the spinach. Black olive and capers added a little Mediterranean flavour to the dish which I was only allowed a mouthful of.

My fish dish was divine: a fleshy roast plaice with artichoke, spinach, grilled leek, a potato ravioli and some earthy chanterelle mushroom and foie gras sauce.

We then shared the course of Milleen's cheese, fruit and nut toast, honey, an apple slice and also creamy blue cheese and walnut in a bowl. Definitely not your usual cheese platter...

Our dessert of rhubarb and custard was simple yet delicious, amazing with the suggested Sauternes wine.

At the end of we had some tea and coffee along with petits fours which were such a lovely touch to finish with.

Forest Avenue is absolutely unique and like no other restaurant in Dublin. The ingredients were high quality and the food superbly executed. Sitting at the chef's table for us, made it an even more incredible experience. I could have stayed there and looked at the magic happening in the kitchen for the rest of the evening.

The chef and every staff member in this place looked so serene and in control of everything.  The service was very professional and attentive without being intrusive.

Towards the end of the meal the chef was talking to us and asked what our favourite was, he also noticed that I took lots of pictures and I showed them to him without mentioning my food blog. You could really feel that he was proud of his restaurant and food, he has all the reasons to be. I couldn't resist taking a picture of him!

I loved everything about this place and warmly recommend it, if like me you prefer sensible portions and being able to taste lots of different things in one meal. It isn't cheap, although definitely value for money as what you get is some of the best food in the Irish capital in one of the most stylish restaurants. Absolutely magical!

Forest Avenue
8 Sussex Terrace
Dublin 4

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