I was delighted to be able to secure a Friday night table, at very short notice, in D’ax Restaurant in Pembroke Street. I’ve dined here a few times and have always found it to be wonderful. When I phoned to make a reservation for 7:30 p.m I was surprised that we could get a table but, it turns out that a cancellation had been made seconds before I phoned. It was no coincidence that this restaurant features in The Dubliner – 100 Best Restaurants! Another case of two birds/one stone!
When we arrived we were offered the choice to go directly to our table or to have a pre-dinner drink at the bar. We declined the aperitif and went straight to the table. The dining room is in the basement of the building and it is well laid out. The tables are dressed in fresh white linen and there is sufficient space between them. We were offered water and given menus. (Memory fails me at this point but we received a delicious amuse bouche of carrot purée/mousse with coconut foam at some point prior to placing our order). It was extremely difficult to choose from this menu full of tantalising temptations but we finally reached a decision. I ordered pan seared sea trout with pea mousse, pea shoots and eucalyptus foam to start. For mains I opted for fish again and had sea bream with spinach, green asparagus, pancetta served with a mussel and tarragon sauce. Himself chose foie gras followed by lamb. We ordered sides of mashed potatoes and green beans.
A selection of freshly made breads arrived along with the bottle of sparkling water that we ordered. We nibbled and sipped for a while until the starters arrived. The flavours in mine were outstanding and the eucalyptus froth was fabulous although a little unusual, (the smell of eucalayptus is permanently linked to cold remedies by my olefactory sensors) . The dish was crowned with the straightest slice of pancetta that I have ever seen. The pea mousse was a delight. I have no love for mushy peas but if they were to be mushed to a mousse as good as this I would be an instant addict. The foie gras hit the high notes too, I am told.
The restaurant wasn’t very busy at this stage and, with nothing to do, the floor staff were a little over attentive. Our wine was regularly topped up a few millimetres at a time by almost every member of staff. Ditto for the water. It happened so often that it was intrusive.
The entrées arrived and they didn’t disappoint. The sea bream was cooked to perfection and it was also decorated with a slice of pancetta. This displayed a lack of artistic/creative skills in the finishing department. Two fish dishes with the same garnish, served to the same person? Tut! But the flavour is the important thing and this dish was full of it. Even now, looking at my poor quality photograph of it, my salivary glands are springing into action and I’m wiping the drool off my keyboard. It was a wonderful dish. Our side orders were very generously proportioned. The green beans were served al dente and there were tons of them. The mash was very soft – a tad too soft for my liking, as it made me think of babyfood and I didn’t particularly like it.
Now himself has a very sweet tooth so he will always have a look at the dessert menu. This was one of the occasions on which I was tempted. I was intrigued by the “Millefeuille of Lemon Chiboust, Raspberry Sorbet” option. I asked the proprietor, Olivier Meisonnave, what chiboust was and he explained it perfectly. However what I imagined and what arrived were totally different things. What I got was even better than was pictured by my mind’s eye! Hubby went for the soufflé which required a short wait (thank goodness!). He told me all about how wonderful it was but I don’t recall tasting any of it!
Dining at Dax isn’t cheap but the food is excellent and I would certainly recommend having a meal there.