Eamonn O’Reilly of One Pico has opened this new premises in Stepaside. A few of us decided to try it in December but the snowy weather forced us to postpone our visit until Saturday last. We decided to book for the early bird and my friend who made the booking asked if the table would be ours for the evening. She was assured that it would be.
The dining room is a good shape and is very well laid out. There is a double set of entrance doors which offer the ‘airlock’ facility that I desire in cold weather. Unfortunately the management appears to think it is a good idea to have the outer doors wedged open permanently. Thus, the insulating effect of the ‘airlock’ is removed. As a result we were blasted by cold air on a regular basis.
The early bird menu was brought and some of the typos on this web menu were also in evidence on the paper version. We were a party of four and there were two orders of crab salad, one pear and blue cheese salad and my order was for Caesar salad. I was very pleased with my salad and the two ladies who ate the crab were very impressed with it.
For main courses there were two orders of cod, one of risotto and my own order of black pudding tart. My dish was absolutely scrumptious and I refused to dole out tasting samples because I liked it too much to share. My friends were also quite delighted with their meals. We had a bottle of Spanish white, Las Colinas Del Ebro and the ladies also ordered a red wine which is described on the till receipt as ‘Hooded Plovee’ but I can’t find any mention of such a thing on the internet! The Box Tree website doesn’t have a wine list.
When the main courses were finished we had a little break before ordering dessert. I ordered rice pudding with their own homemade blackberry jam, someone else ordered the ice cream selection and there was an order for creme brulée and one for crumble. All the desserts were A1. The homemade ice-cream was served on a slate and there were five different scoops! The rice lemon pudding was really tasty although the jam wasn’t as nice as my own homemade blackberry jam. My friend who had the creme brulée said that it was the nicest one she’d ever had.
When the waitress took the order for dessert we declined to order tea or coffee stating that we’d order it later. But as soon as our desserts were finished a different waiter arrived with the bill and reminded us that when the booking was taken that we had been informed that the table was required again at 9:00. He backed down fairly quickly when we disputed this. It was strange that, later, it took ages for us to get our coffees and the bill. Dinner for four including two bottles of wine came to €172.55.
I would highly recommend visiting here for the early bird menu. It is excellent value. I suspect that this restaurant is suffering, a little, from teething problems in terms of customer service and staffing levels. I bumped into some friends there who were due to sit at 9:00 and from their account, the next day, of their unfortunate experiences I could not believe that we had eaten in the same restaurant.
Oh, and their website needs improving.
P.S. Since my first visit here the restaurant has been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand. Well deserved too!