It was a pleasant Friday evening at the start of a long weekend as we set off to Castlemarket Street in Dublin to dine at La Maison. Knowing that we appreciated French food and wine some friends had recommended the place to us and had talked expansively about their own choices. So with table easily booked online and with some advance checking of the menus we were full of expectation.
The street was packed with scores of people - after-office party goers; young; young-at-heart and visitors like ourselves. We moved through a covered terrace and were shown to a ground floor table near the door. Our warm welcome was soon supplemented by a tray of breads and a pâté of pureed gherkins, onions and shallots - délicieux ! To get further into the mood we settled back with a pastis and took in the surroundings: the most obvious thing about the décor was the crispness of it all - sparkling glassware, white paint and linen, posters and black and white photographs.
Friendly and professional staff took our orders and it wasn't long before we got tucked in to a trio of scallops:
This was an impressive start and augered well for the mains to follow. But not quite yet for our waiter arrived with a little something to freshen the mouth between courses. Don't you just love it when that happens?
Then on to the mains: Turbot with a herby pea purée and foam for my other half:
and a substantial, classical cassoulet for me:
both of which were delightfully presented, tasted delicious and were washed down to perfection by a lovely wine, Lombeline - a vin de pays du Gard.
I didn't need it, as the meal was already substantial, but still ordered a side dish of ratatouille. It's not everyday that you are in a restaurant of this quality and it is a dish I don't often get so........ maybe I was a little more gourmand than gourmet!
Remember those friends who had recommended the place? I had quite forgotten their key piece of advice about leaving room for dessert. We hadn't! They had shared a crêpe suzette on their visit and said that we should go for it! Not this time though, that's a pleasure that will await our next visit.
Instead we opted for a couple of digestifs - deux cafés cognac s'il vous plaît - and relaxed over them for a while longer before joining the thinned but still substantial crowd of party goers.
Thanks to Breton chef Olivier QUENET and his team for a most memorable visit and this taste of France right in the heart of Dublin.
We'll be back.