Just before the Christmas madness set in around Dublin city, I had a lovely meal in Dax on Pembroke Street with my Mam. Her birthday is at the end of November so the past few years it’s been tradition to go into town, have a look around the shops, a glass of wine in the Westbury and then go somewhere nice for dinner. We had been to the Café Bar in Dax many times before – they had a cheeseboard to die for! Unfortunately though, just a few months ago, this part of the establishment closed down. On our previous visits we’d always looked down into the basement to the restaurant and said we must go sometime. So Dax was the decision for the birthday dinner this year!
The restaurant is on Pembroke Street. I have to say I really love the area of town from Stephen’s Green, along Merrion Row and down towards Pembroke Street….. and if you are searching for a decent place to eat you need look no further. There are masses of options here! It’s also nice to be in a slightly quieter area of town away from the hustle and bustle once in a while.
The interior reminded me of Town on Kildare Street . I do love the basement or cellar restaurants that are around this area of town. It was all crisp, fresh white table clothes and sparkling wine glasses and cutlery on each table.
Waiting staff greeted us and sat us down with some bread to keep us going while we looked over the menu.
As it was so close to Christmas we were only offered a set menu, €59.50 for 3 courses or €49.50 for 2. There was a nice mix on the starters section, Tartar of Sea Trout, Scallops, Wood Pigeon, Goats Cheese Salad or Duck Foie Gras. Mains also had a good varied selection including Rib Eye Beef, Venison, Sea Bass, Cod and Mushroom Risotto.
Mam went for the Goats Cheese Salad and I had the Scallops. While waiting for our starters we were given a little amuse bouche of Date puree and cauliflower mouse. I wasn’t crazy on the date part but the mouse on top was lovely.
If scallops are an option on a menu it’s very rare that I don’t get them. As much as I love food and I can bake, I am rubbish at cooking an actual dinner and have never even tried doing scallops at home so it’s always a treat to have them when I’m out to dinner. They were served with a coconut puree, some small slices of apple and a chilli dressing. They were perfectly cooked and were absolutely fabulous to eat.
The Goats Cheese salad came with beetroot and macadamia nuts with a sherry dressing for a bit of a kick. The cheese was unbelievably creamy and Mam polished it off.
For main course we went for the cod and venison. Mam wanted the venison well done so it wasn’t to my taste – I like my red meat really rare! It came with poached quince and shallots and a butternut squash puree. While not cooked how I like it, the venison was exactly how it was ordered and was lean and tasty.
My cod came with a chickpea fritter, tomato fondue, spinach and a langoustine foam. It was beautifully cooked, I can’t bear getting a dried out piece of fish. Everything it was served with went perfectly together and the langoustine foam didn’t fall flat and only melted away one it was in my mouth. Sometimes portion size in really nice restaurants like this can leave you still hungry but this was a really generous portion of fish – I was stuffed after it!
We decided to share a dessert and went for the apple and pear crumble with vanilla ice cream. Presentation was simple but attractive – I’m a sucker for the swipe of coulis across the plate! The crumble had a lovely crunch to the top as it should do and the vanilla ice cream was creamy and sweet without being sickly.
Finally we were given some petit fours to finish off our meal.
Along with 2 glasses of white and 2 glasses of red, the bill was €140 – I have to say the wine was quite reasonably priced for such a high quality restaurant at €7.50 and €8 a glass.
So after many glances through the windows in Dax, my experience eating there lived up to its reputation. Great food in lovely surrounds – well worth a visit for a special occasion!
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