Our decision to eat here was the result of a lottery. I flicked through the pages of The Dubliner 100 Best Restaurants, himself called ‘Stop!’ and the decision was made. Page fifty seven, The Green Hen. I reserved a table without reading the review.
We opted to eat at 8:00 and when I made the reservation I was pleased that I wasn’t coerced into taking a table at 6:30 or 9:00 by a restaurant keen to turn over the table twice in one evening. We arrived punctually and were shown to our table at the very back of the room. I took the seat with a view and hubby took the seat with a view of me. Our server brought the menu and we were impressed with the offerings. There were also daily special starters and main courses available.
I chose a salad of pickled pear, walnuts and Saint Augur cheese to begin and venison shank for mains. Himself opted for a rabbit terrine and crispy roast pheasant as entrée. We ordered a bottle of Italian red, Maremma Toscana, Ampelia Kepos and a bottle of sparkling water. I have to say that the salad was an absolute delight. The flavours worked so well together, the textures too. The pear was minutely diced, crisp and clear. The walnuts crunchy. The blue cheese was a delight. I don’t recall having waten this variety before but I will be seeking it out in the cheese shop soon. The salad leaves were perfect too and the temperature cool enough to know that this salad didn’t linger in the hot kitchen for a moment. I tasted the rabbit terrine ordered by my partner and that was a surprise too. It’s texture was smoother than it appeared to be and it tasted good too, no hint of fattiness which can be the downfall of terrines.
The main courses arrived. My portion of venison was enormous and brutish looking next to the delicate pheasant dish that arrived for himself. At first the venison seemed a little bit chewy and stringy and a little disappointing. But it improved immensely, becoming juicy and melt in the mouth as I worked my way into it. I can only conclude that it had dried out a little before service. It came with mash and red cabbage. And I battled, successfully, to finish the huge serving. Now the pheasant was a different experience. The flavour was subtle, the skin delicately crisp, the texture soft with a little bite – it was divine. The pheasant was served with mashed potatoes and mange touts. We didn’t order any sides but I noticed that chips ordered by other customers came in generous helpings.
We needed a break after the main course and asked the server to give us some time. We were given all the time we wanted, we didn’t feel hurried or neglected. I was aware that the server was checking us from a distance to see when we were ready. This is a skill that a lot of waiting staff need to learn. Eventually we succumbed and ordered a berry crumble which lime ice cream (the menu offered it with cinnamon ice cream, but we asked for an alternate flavour) and two spoons. The crumble part of the dessert was amazing, it was more like a meusli/granola sprinkling than the usual flour/butter/sugar topping. I really liked it, and the ice cream was deliciously refreshing. We didn’t bother with tea or coffee.
The bill came to just over €100.00 and the tip was extra. The service was friendly and efficient, attentive without being fussy. I would certainly recommend The Green Hen. I enjoyed its Brasserie style, great food and lively atmosphere.