Wednesday 10 August 2016

Review: Forest and Marcy

When the news that I was one of Fáilte Ireland's food champions was officially announced back in June, Mr. FFID and I went on a celebratory dinner to Forest and Marcy.

The place received glowing reviews as soon as it opened and to be honest I was trying not to have too high expectations, just in case it was more hype than substance. That evening, I actually ended up sitting at the counter next to Chris a fellow Fáilte food champion and spotted a well-known Irish food writer as well as the owners of one of my favourite restaurants in Dublin, Forest and Marcy must be a gourmet-magnet!

During my first visit to Forest and Marcy I had one of the best meals I've ever had in Dublin but as I wasn't in blogging mode Mr. FFID and I decided to return for our last meal as 'single' people... any excuse to eat out really.

Forest and Marcy is the sister restaurant of John and Sandy Wyer's Forest Avenue. It's a cross between a restaurant and a wine bar, serving small plates and wine by the glass and bottle. The chef is Ciaran Sweeney, a Donegal native who was the resident chef in Forest Avenue for a while before being appointed head chef at Forest and Marcy.

Forest and Marcy looks modern, set in a long and narrow room with a few tables next to the entrance and a beautiful marble counter top where people sit at on high stools. Behind the counter, Paddy Arnold plates the dishes and at the back of the restaurant you can see Ciaran Sweeney working his magic in a small open kitchen.

The menu consists of small plates ranging from €4 to larger plates at around €18. I was tempted by their house-cured charcuterie (€16) and small snacks or cheese options but went for the chef's sharing choice menu on both my visits which is priced at €39 per person. There is a short yet interesting selection of wines, although not on the cheap side.

First we were brought thin slices of crusty onion sourdough bread served with 'matured' butter.

Our first snack of quinoa crisp topped with a piping of goat cheese, slices of carrots and shaved summer truffle was a delight. So many textures contrasting so well in this small snack was a promising start.

It was followed by an equally delicious second snack of artichoke crisp with pickled onions and mushrooms and a cep cream with beautiful earthy flavours.

Next came Ciaran's signature dish, a buttery fermented potato bread served with a light bacon mousse and a small bowl of bacon and shredded cabbage. This dish is a rather wonderful modern take on traditional Irish food which I'm particularly fond of.

My medium plate was a colourful bowl containing a slice of house smoked salmon with a cold lovage soup with slivers of radish and a surprising horseradish snow. Divine.

 Mr. FFID had a dish with Mediterranean vibes, a colourful plate of tomatoes, courgette, goat curd with slices of guanciale.

At this stage we were pretty full but out came the large plates. Mr. FFID had a succulent suckling pig dish with wild garlic gnocchi, broad beans, tiny girolles and braised lettuce topped with pistachio paste.

My lamb was cooked to perfection and served with a rather unusual but delicious nonetheless samphire risotto served with an anchovy mayo.

Then came the dessert, which I was reluctant to share as it was too good. A slice of luscious tonka bean custard tart with an apricot sorbet, a grilled apricot and caramelised walnuts. The taste of apricot would always bring me back to summer in France.

I can't recommend Forest and Marcy highly enough. The staff are friendly but not over the top, it's casual dining with top notch innovative dishes by a talented chef and the tasting menu is a proper food experience. From watching Paddy Arnold plating up, being shown your salmon being smoked in a wooden box or having Ciaran Sweeney proudly presenting you with his dishes, it's a feast of colours, textures and flavours and pure enjoyment for the palate. Needless to say that €39 is also excellent value for this level of food and service, go as soon as you can but be aware they don't take bookings!

Forest and Marcy
126 Leeson Street Upper
Dublin 4
Forest and Marcy's website

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