I was on the point of throwing away my copy of The Dubliner – 100 Best Restaurants because we’d had a few uninspired meals at restaurants named therein. However, we decided to have another go and, as we were going to see a show at the Gaiety Theatre, we opted to book a pre-theatre meal at Peploes on Stephen’s Green.
We arrived punctually, well almost. We were three minutes late for a five thirty booking. So we were a bit surprised to be told that our table wasn’t ready yet. We were shown to a seat at the bar and we sat there for ten minutes without being offered a drink, a menu or an explanation. There were a number of other prospective diners also waiting in the bar area.
All of a sudden the tables were ready and the different groups were seated. We were shown to a table at the back of the basement room and it was described as the ‘romantic table’. I reckon it was thus named because I couldn’t get any reception on my phone and so I had to give himself my full attention. Of course it also meant we couldn’t keep up with the Heineken Cup scores.
The waiter brought us the menus (I have purposely omitted a link to the menu as the web site has a most annoying soundtrack). We chose to eat from their ‘pre-concert’ menu which offered a choice of three starters, three main courses and three desserts. Himself chose a shrimp and pasta starter and I opted for a warm feta cheese in filo pastry with figs. For main course I chose the fish of the day which was cod served with spinach, carrots, champ potatoes and a bourbon cream sauce. Hubby had the a stuffed chicken breast which came with fondant potatoes, spinach and a Marsala sauce. We ordered some sparkling water and wine by the glass.
We were offered a great selection of fresh bread from the basket. I tried the foccacia and the onion bread. And himself tried a brown bread with pistachio and also tomato bread. These were the best restaurant breads we’ve had in ages. Our starters were served and mine looked very pretty on the plate. The pastry was crisp and the cheese was warm all the way through. Someone was a bit too heavy-handed with the salt – most probably the cheese-maker. However, the relishes that were served with it successfully counterbalanced the salinity. Himself enjoyed his pasta and I didn’t try it although it was offered.
The main courses were absolutely superb. I received a generous portion of cod and there wasn’t a bone in sight. The champ potato was smooth and nicely punctuated with onion. My other half’s chicken was equally delightful, I’m told. We were also able to mop up our sauce with the bread. In fact our waiter encouraged this by telling us that he would leave our plates of bread specifically for this purpose! Bonus points for that.
I chose cheddar cheese for afters and hubby had rhubarb and strawberry crumble. The cheddar was strong and flavoursome. It was served with crackers and a type of fruit bread which resembled barm brack. I was not quick enough to secure a taste of the crumble. By the time I was finished with my cheese the crumble plate was licked clean.
Apart from a shaky reception everything we experienced at Peploes was brilliant. It was a pleasure to dine there and I would recommend it highly. The pre-theatre menu is amazing value at €25.00 for three courses. The quality of the food here is very high.