In its previous incarnation Canteen operated from a small twenty-seat restaurant in Blackrock Market with Head Chef James Sheridan at the helm. Sheridan ran the restaurant with his partner Soizic Humbert who was responsible for front-of-house operations and under their joint stewardship, it quickly gained a reputation for serving some outstanding food. In many ways, this came as no surprise as Sheridan has a serious cooking pedigree having worked as sous chef to Michael Caines at the double-Michelin starred Gidleigh Park in Devon and with Kevin Thornton, Graham Neville and at Sheen Falls Lodge here in Ireland.
Canteen offers a very competitively priced Early Evening Menu consisting of 2 courses for €24 or 3 courses for €27 which is available from Tuesday to Friday (6pm to 7.15pm). A Dinner Menu is also available with 2 courses for €32 or 3 courses for €38, which we decided to go for. The menu was brief but well-written and contained an interesting selection of dishes.
I quickly decided on the ‘Ham & Egg’ on Toast, Peas, Girolles and Jus Gras to start. This was a beautifully presented dish with a real wow factor and is the sort of food that really appeals to me; - top quality ingredients treated simply but with a lot of care and attention to detail. It comprised a perfectly fried egg served sunny-side-up on a disc of toast surrounded by a swirl of almost fragrantly sweet pea purée and an umami-rich jus gras. At its simplest a jus gras consists of the dripping and meat juices left at the bottom of a roasting pan. This version also contained small ‘lardons’ of ham and was fantastic against the creamy egg yolk and the sweetness of the peas. The dish was finished with pea shoot tendrils which twirled provocatively on top of the egg but unlike many dishes where they are used merely for decoration, they served a purpose here and provided another layer of pea flavour.
|Foie Gras Terrine|
We also decided to order another starter to share between us as we had found it impossible to whittle down our choices to just one each. The Pressed Chicken and Foie Gras Terrine, Beetroot, Verjus & Raisin Dressing with its perfectly balanced flavours and textures did not disappoint. Foie Gras is classically paired with Sauternes where the sweetness of this famous french dessert wine with its waxy mouthfeel compliments the rich creaminess of the foie gras. To be honest, I often find Sauternes a little too sweet so I loved the wonderful balance between the acidity of the verjuice and the sweetness of the raisins in the dressing that accompanied this terrine.
|Chargrilled Black Angus Beef|
|Glazed Duck Breast|
We finished our meal with a bowl of delicately flavoured Wexford Strawberries, Elderflower and Yoghurt Sorbet. This was a delightful dessert that was suitably light and refreshing after the richness of the meal we had eaten. I particularly enjoyed the lactic freshness of the yoghurt sorbet against the fragrant elderflower jelly. This was a lovely way to finish what was a memorable meal.
4 Main Street