We had tickets for The Field at the Olympia and decided to go for a meal beforehand. We were going with friends and, after some, discussion we agreed to try La Maison on Castlemarket Street. I’ve heard good reports and was keen to try it. Also, conveniently, it was listed in The Dubliner – 100 best restaurants.
We arrived for the incredibly early seating of 5:30 and the place was already a little bit busy. We were shown to our table on the ground floor, near the stairs and not far from the door. We asked if there was something else was available upstairs. Unfortunately there wasn’t. It was a wet and windy night so we weren’t too impressed with being close to the front door which didn’t have the ‘airlock’ that I love. There were a considerable number of ‘walk ins’ requesting tables and many of them stood in the doorway keeping the door wide open. We asked them politely to close the door and we got dagger looks. But the Maître d’ very quickly took control and told the staff to ‘Fermez la porte’.
The menu was brought to us and the dishes of the day were explained. We all opted for the early bird menu as it was so reasonably priced. Two of us chose the creamy caulifower soup and other two went for pork terrine. Both starters were very tasty and I was very pleased at the smoothness of the terrine. The toast that it came with, however, was too thin and collapsed when I attempted to spread the terrine on it.
For main course three of the four of us chose the fish dish which was fried fillet of sea bass served in a skillet with shellfish, white wine and fresh herbs and potatoes. The fourth person choses confit of duck with lentils. I was disappointed with the fish. I thought it was a bit watery and the skin wasn’t very crispy. The waiter should have recommended that we have a few portions of vegetables too. Despite the fact that most of us were eating fish we elected to order a bottle of Beaujolais Villages.
We all still had room for desserts so I ordered lemon tart, himself had cafe liegeois (an espresso ice cream) and our friends ordered the tart tatin to share. The tart tatin would have served the four of us as it was huge! The desserts were excellent although I think that lemon flavoured ice-cream with the lemon tart was a tad too much. A different ice cream may have complemented it better.
We finished with teas and coffees. And the bill …
… a very reasonable €145.00 for three courses for four people including wine, lemonade and tea and coffee. The staff were very friendly and attentive. Great value all round but still the words of Eamonn Dunphy come to mind ‘It was a good meal, but it wasn’t a great meal’.