This Week's Critic Reviews


It's a bit of a case of the good, the bad and the ugly this weekend, but we'll start and end with the good.

In the Irish Examiner, Leslie Williams finally got around to eating at Richmond, after 18 months of haranguing by a friend, and managed to bag the best table in the house (table 13) with a view of the "exotica outside and the bustle inside".

He ate from the early bird menu which sounds like brilliant value considering the quality, at €29 for three courses. Standouts included a fennel and raisin bread with curry butter (eh, yum), a Dexter beef tartare with capers, pickles, a quail's egg and some deep fried tempura ox tongue - he assures us it was the best part - and pea dumplings with slaw, parmesan crisps and a "mood-enhancing" hazelnut sauce.

A cheese course of Milleens was too immature for their liking, but a chocolate fondant was "perfect", oozing "liquid, dark joy all over the garriguette strawberries", and a "picture perfect" meringue was filled with a "gorgeous apple and red wine chutney", even if it did overwhelm the meringue.

He calls Richmond a "joy of a restaurant", with "good ingredients, perfectly pitched classical touches and masterful saucing." We'd say they're pretty happy with this one. (Review not currently online)

In The Irish Daily Mail, Tom Doorley was back at an old favourite, La Cave on South Anne Street, which he hadn't planned on reviewing, but it was so good that he felt he had to share it with us.

After a trip down memory lane (where he tells us that The Trocadero is the oldest restaurant in the city centre and Bewleys on Grafton Street did a mean chicken croquette in his youth), he comes back to the present day in La Cave, describing the "perfect" oysters and Chablis, the crab and Gruyère tart (which didn't have homemade pastry but did have lots of sweet crab meat and sweet and salty melted cheese), and the garlic and parsley butter snails which were "a touch of decadence".

A venison casserole was "immensely tender" in a "rich sauce singing of garlic and red wine", and he says you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to ordering wine in this "womb-like French restaurant". (Review not currently online).

Someone else who was reliving their childhood, this time over beef-dripping toast, was Katy McGuinness at Pichet . After overcoming the fear that a car from the St Andrew's Street carpark was going to come crashing through the window every time headlights appeared, she enjoyed seasonal asparagus with a brown butter egg yolk, crispy boneless chicken wings, and truffle pecorino.

Beef tartare came with quail eggs (so hot right now), radish and micro-herbs, and beef-dripping toast full of taste and texture, which brought her back to the fried bread her father made when she was a child. Short rib with salt-baked celeriac was the winneing mains, and came with ox tongue (this week is all about tongue and tartare) and a walnut mushroom duxelles, making it "rich and deeply satisfying." Lamb rump was nicely cooked but the dish was underpowered and lacking in salsa verde, and a confit of squid, chorizo, basil, tomato and chickpeas which came with a dish of salmon was "woefully insipid".

Desserts of muscovado crème brûlée and banoffee were both enjoyable, and she ends by saying that Pichet is "one of those restaurants that can be all things to all people ... If that means that the food pleases rather than thrills, then so be it." Read her review here.

Now to break up the joy momentarily, because over in Monkstown, there was a very unhappy camper in the form of The Sunday Business Post's Gillian Nelis, who was having a bit of a 'mare in Bresson. After getting a spate of great reviews straight after opening, we don't think anyone was expecting this one.