A perfect example of this is to be found in Forest Avenue located on Sussex Terrace in Dublin where Chefs John and Sandy Wyer are offering up truly exciting food using Irish ingredients in innovative ways.
Forest Avenue is a self-styled ‘neighbourhood restaurant’ and is named after the street in New York where Sandy grew up. The dining room has a minimalist feel but cleverly avoids appearing sterile by the use of warm, inviting colours. Dark wooden floorboards and tables add to the Scandinavian-inspired look inside the restaurant.
There were two menus available on the evening that I visited; a Residents’ Menu which offers two courses for €28 or three for €35 and a Tasting Menu at €49. Two choices were offered for each course on both menus each of which included some intriguing dishes. In the end we decided to go for the Residents’ Menu.
|Salad of Charred Bread|
My starter - Salad of Charred Bread, Celeriac, Broccoli, Egg, Black Garlic, Parmesan & Hazelnuts had been plated with finesse and looked beautiful. I loved the way the flawlessly cooked egg surrendered a perfectly runny yolk when it was pierced by a knife. This created a rich creamy ‘dressing’ that was wonderful with the crisp salad leaves, the thinly sliced broccoli stems and the nutty crunch of the toasted hazelnuts. The wispy tendrils of finely grated parmesan provided a gentle saltiness which completed the dish.
|Cod, Cauliflower Textures|
The Suckling Pig, Pointed Cabbage, New Season Carrot, Dried Plums was also presented simply and was another outstanding dish. Here, the wonderfully crispy skin/crackling of the suckling pig gave way to meat that was tender and just melted in the mouth. The accompanying small but succulent pulled pork bonbon was delicious especially when eaten with the plums, the sweet whole roasted carrot and the ribbons of slightly crunchy cabbage. This was really clever cooking.
A cheese course of Whipped Fivemiletown Goat’s Cheese, Prune & Rosemary Bread was my dining companion’s choice to finish off the meal. This was not a traditional cheese board but instead was presented almost like a dessert in a bowl with some poached pear and a pear purée. A drizzle of honey and a restrained swirl of a balsamic vinegar reduction completed the dish which was served with a mini loaf of bread. We both loved it.
What I liked so much about Forest Avenue was its lack of pretension or self-consciousness. There is nothing smug or self-congratulatory about the food served. Under John the kitchen operates with a sense of focused calm and determination which is apparent on every plate of food served. Service is relaxed but attentive without being obtrusive and added to our enjoyment of the meal.
For me, dining in Forest
Avenue was like falling in love. I was enthralled and won over from my very
first mouthful. The food that I ate left me tingling with excitement.
Everything tasted so intensely of itself and there were times during my meal
where I felt like my palate was being awakened from a very long sleep. There
was something almost magical about the whole experience which left me totally
smitten and eager to return.
|Prune & Rosemary Bread|
Our bill for the meal plus optional gratuity came to €95 which included two White Ports with Tonic and a bottle of sparkling water.
8 Sussex Terrace
Closed: Mondays & Tuesdays.
Lunch: Wednesday – Friday 12pm-2pm.
Dinner: Residents’ Menu available on Wednesdays & Thursday evenings only.
5 course Tasting Menu is available Wednesday – Saturday.
Brunch: Sunday 12pm – 2.30pm
This review first appeared in TheTaste.ie
|Whipped Goat's Cheese|