For forty euro the Michelin Starred Bon Appetit, in Malahide, recently offered an opportunity for diners to try their new tasting menu and to critique it afterwards. Needless to say, I was on the phone immediately to reserve my table. And last night my pal and I bravely ventured north of the Liffey in expectation of a fine dining experience.
We arrived at a grand old terraced building which was draped in a protective screen behind which building works were in progress. This was Bon Appetit. Once inside the door, however, there was no evidence of builders and we were shown to a lovely table in a very elegant dining room and we were brought the wine menu. As I was the only one for wine I found myself in a predicament but the waiter told me he had a half bottle of Sancerre or he could pour me a pichet of Fleurie. I opted for the Sancerre.
The six course tasting menu commenced with an amuse bouche of white onion and thyme velouté. The texture of the velouté was, ahem, velvety but the flavour was a bit bland and didn’t hit any high notes. The bread selection which we were offered included and onion bread, an olive bread and a brown bread with pumpkin seeds. I tried both the brown bread and the onion bread and they were absolutely delicious and very useful for moppping up the sauces during the course of the meal.
Following the amuse bouche came an amazing offering of foie gras served with poached rhubarb. Blobs of parsnip custard and rhubarb purée decorated the platter. In terms of flavour this dish was quite spectacular. However, I would prefer the length of the rhubarb to be shorter as it was difficulty to cut through it and rather awkward to manage.
Next up was a sliver of hake fillet on top of a bed of chopped soya beans prepared with cirtus oils. There was also a portion of deep fried crab, a type of almond hymmus, chorizo and chorizo oil. It sounds like a very busy plate but it was excellent. I liked the soya beans but my companion couldn’t detect any citrus in hers. I thought the crab was divine and the almond hummus was out of this world. I shall definitely be attempt to make a version of that for myself. There was also a salt grape… yes a salt grape which is rather like a sultana plumped in salt water.
The fish course was followed by the entrée which was described by the server as rack of lamb but I think he may have been wrong as I’m sure we received fillet of lamb. It was served on top of a bed of leeks and there was carrot on the plate too. The dish was finished with the addition of a Madeira jus. The lamb was quite a generous sized piece and was served quite rare. It was easy to cut, beautifully succulent and melted in the mouth. I really liked it.
The next offering was a pre-dessert of a puréed apple and custard with crumbed biscuits on top. It was served in a shot sized glass and, like everything else so far, was a fantastic experience. The dessert proper arrived and was described as ‘peanut parfait with pear sorbet, poached pear and chocolate’. I can tell you that the peanut parfait was sublime and combined with the pear sorbet it was elevated beyond ‘subliminality’ (to coin a word). It was a real winner.
We finished with extras of tea and coffee which were served with petits fours -all chocolate based unfortunately. I’m not a huge fan of chocolate.
While forty euro a head was the base price the bill came to substantially more when we added in two bottles of fizzy San Pelligrino , a half bottle of Sancerre, tea and coffee. Service was added to the bill which I found very surprising. The final account came to approximately €147.00.
This restaurant also features in The Dubliner – 100 Best Restaurants