Les Gourmandises 29/01/11
Delighted with my most recent visit to Les Gourmandises d1047337.blacknight.com/… . Fine French Dining is printed on their card and it is no empty motto. They live up to it. Making your way through the courses here is an exercise in delicacy.
If you find yourself in the Cook Street establishment (lucky you!), then start with their Tasting Plate. It figures on both their menus. On Friday night, we got an eye popping plateful (on their well known slate) which consisted of Prawns in Filo Pastry, Rabbit Terrine and Artichoke Soup. Gorgeous and quite substantial.
The other starter at the table was Rillette of Castletownbere crab, the slate also containing some poached pear & mustard grain. The container looked quite small but the ever so tasty crab was packed tightly and there was more than enough for the two pieces of delicious toast and so I brought their excellent crunchy brown bread into play.
I've had a lot of Confit de Canard, both here and in France over the past 12 months, and the one served up on the Gourmandises slate was one of the best, if not the very best. Billed as Roast duck leg confit with confit potato, Blackberries and Red Cabbage, it was superb, cooked to perfection. Would have liked a touch more "moisture", by way of sauce or vegetable, but was well satisfied with it.
Dessert was an Orange panacotta with Almond mandolin and Citrus Fruits. All three elements were served separately on the plate. The sweet panacotta, the tarty fruits (orange and red grapefruit) and the more neutral mandolin made for a smashing well balanced dessert.
My desert wine (from a choice of five) came from Jurancon in the south-west of France. The Symphonie de Novembre Domaine de Cauhape (7.95 per glass) is 100% Petit Manseng which has spent ten months in oak. Honey, orange and quince in the bouquet, it is fresh and creamy on the palate, not as long in the finish as the likes of Tokaji but a really lovely sweet wine.
Les Gourmandises Restaurant
Chocolate Brownie on a slate doesn't promise much as a dessert but you should try it at Les Gourmandises Restaurant in 17 Cook Street. In fact, you should, I should, try everything at this different class establishment as there are pleasant ambushes in every course.
My starter last evening was mackerel on a red onion bed along with a goat's cheese panacotta. The advisor had a tasting starter, samples of chicken liver parfait, prawns in filo and a cup of parsnip soup. Besides we both drew from the delicious fresh breads. A very promising opening.
Main course for me (like my starter) was the chef's recommendation: ham hock moulded to a cylindrical shape, standing on a disc of smoked ham which in turn stood on a bed of Savoy Cabbage, the sauce being apple purée and sage. Well and originally presented and beautiful to eat.
The other main course was another brilliant dish: bream with aubergine purée and a cherry tomato and sage sauce. Gorgeous.
We each had the chef's recommendation for dessert: a rice pudding, served with, on the side, caramelised banana and that smashing Chocolate Brownie! Just the thing to finish off a smashing meal and put you in the mood to call again.
There is decent selection of wines by glass, half bottle and full bottle. We compromised on the Puilly sur Loire, a crisp refreshing tingling Sauvignon Blanc with a mineral hint. Just the job!
By the way, quite a few of the meals are served on a slate which enables the chef to use his presentation artistry! And he does!
It doesn't come cheap - three courses cost close to forty euro although there is a market menu for thirty euro.
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