On my most recent visit I noticed that there have been a few changes. Restaurant gigi’s, the hotel’s main dining venue, under new Head Chef Cedric Bottarlini, now offers a choice of four menus from which diners can select. Depending on your mood you can opt for the Share menu which consists of an assortment of sharing platters, the Steakhouse menu – perfect for meat lovers and the Delight and Indulge menus which are structured in the more familiar starter, main-course, and dessert format.
Our starters of Crab & Asparagus and Crisp Irish Free-Range Pork-Belly were both beautifully presented and we descended upon them with gay abandon.
|Crab and Asparagus|
Pork-belly seems to be everywhere these days and unfortunately, it is often a huge disappointment. This is a cut of meat that requires long, slow cooking in order to render the layers of fat down as it is this fat that tenderises the meat as it cooks. Here, the pork-belly had been treated with love and attention to detail, resulting in meat that melted in the mouth. The accompanying rhubarb in two forms – roasted and puréed, cut through the richness of the pork, whilst puffed pork crackling created welcome textural contrast. This was a wonderful dish.
Moving on to the main course, my choice of the Line-Caught Cod Medallion arrived accompanied by a delightful selection of seafood including clams, octopus and prawns. The thickly-cut piece of cod was meaty to eat and gave the dish substance which sated the appetite. Beautifully turned potatoes had been flavoured with saffron which is a notoriously difficult spice to handle as it requires a light touch; too much and it imparts a soapy flavour which can be over-powering and unpleasant to eat. A light and airy lobster bisque foam finished the dish off perfectly.
The other main course of Sliced Peppered Sirloin Steak & Braised Rib was absolutely superb. Here wonderfully flavoursome sirloin steak had been perfectly cooked medium-rare to order. This was a well-aged, prime cut of quality beef so perhaps it was to be expected that it would be good, but the slow-cooked rib was every bit as good. Thinly sliced radishes with their fresh peppery crunch and sweet heritage carrots danced a metaphorical jig across the plate, so artfully had they been placed. This was a dish that screamed EAT ME! The spinach purée with its iron-rich flavour was faultless. In fact the only questioning note I have about this dish as a whole, is whether the large potato hash cake is actually required. Granted we had also ordered sides of Pan-Fried Mushrooms, Sweet Potato Fries and Green Beans so that may have coloured my view-point! As an aside, I would strongly recommend the Sweet Potato Fries… believe me, they are truly exceptional!
|Beef Sirloin and Rib|
The Ivory Cocoa & Rhubarb Verrine came presented in a cocktail-like glass through which you could clearly see the various constituent elements of the dish. Everything about this dish was so well balanced from the freshness of the sorbet to the fruitiness of the rhubarb compote, the cruch of the ginger crumb and the creaminess of the rich white chocolate mousse. The vividly coloured ‘plank’ of white chocolate was so stunning to look at it, you almost didn’t want to eat it (but we did)!
|Strawberries and Cream|
The wine list, comprising some interesting choices including bottles from the Lebanon along with a number of notable reserve options has been sensitively selected and after some dithering, we decided on a New Zealand Pinot Noir. Given our contrasting menu choices, this seemed the best option and we weren’t disappointed. The acidity of the Pinot cut through the inherent richness of the pork-belly starter yet was light enough to enjoy with my crab starter and seafood main.
For the quality of the food on offer, Restaurant gigi’s offers great value for money. Rather cleverly, the restaurant has managed to provide options that will appeal to the more conservative diner but also something for those with adventurous palates. Each dish that I ate was beautifully presented and contained elements that surprised and charmed in equal measure.
Service was impeccable with staff who were friendly and attentive and well-informed about the menu and the ingredients used.
This is a restaurant that clearly has high ambitions and a desire to create a delicious dining experience using quality, locally-sourced ingredients. This it achieves and it is easy to see why it has been awarded and has retained an AA 2 Rosette rating for three years running.
- Share Menu: 3 course for €99 for 2 people
- Delight Menu: 2 courses for €29.50; 3 courses for €36
- Indulge Menu: 2 courses for €42; 3 courses for €48
- Irish Steakhouse Corner Menu: Individually priced
The g Hotel & Spa
|Sweet Potato Fries|