It’s been a while since I reviewed anywhere really nice and very much a “treat meal” place… we’ve been trying to save a few quid for our trip to NYC and this has meant when eating out we’ve been going for Early Birds, using deals or just generally going to cheaper places.
Two weeks ago though, we went for full on treat mode and had some lovely drinks in town before going to Saison on Kildare Street for dinner. You may be more familiar with the name Town Bar and Grill which closed a while back… it re opened a few months ago as Saison and as I was a fan of Town (even though it had an awful yuppy reputation in the boom) I was interested to see what they had done with the basement space – and more importantly, how the food was with Graeme Dodrill as the chef.
We arrived slightly rushed and late but were greeted with open arms. Never one to say no, we jumped at the offer to take a seat at their bar and try a cocktail.
We went for the Cocktail of the Day and left it up to the bar tender to decide for us and he came up with this Peach Martini which we sipped and chatted over before taking a seat at our table.
I absolutely love these basement style restaurants. I do love that they’ve put down some carpet though and added some splashes of turquoise throughout. I am a fan of a minimalist look but where it did feel a little bare before, it’s now comfortable and cosy.
Along with having no willpower to say no to cocktails, I’m also a sucker for a bread basket! So I tucked in to the delicious Guinness and Treacle bread .. I must give this a shot myself some time, it was fab.
Whilst waiting for our starters we were served a delicious amuse-bouche of raw tuna with avocado. They may look tiny and insignificant but whatever those little shoots on top were – they packed a lot of taste!
The menu offers something for everyone in the starters section, a great mix with choices of Butternut Squash Velouté, Slow Cooked Veal Breast, Roast Wicklow Pigeon, Whipped Goats Cheese, Scallops and Foie Gras. I will almost always go for the scallops and when they are paired with black pudding it’s a no brainer for me. In all my years I’ve never tried endive and found the orange endive here paired very well with the perfectly cooked scallops and soft black pudding. Again, those little shoots – anyone know what they are? I should have asked!
Now is where I will apologise for the photography skills – or lack of! A mix of black plates, an intimate (dark) restaurant and crappy Iphone camera have left a lot to be desired on some shots, namely the below! E went for the veal, served with roast cepp and butter poached langoustine. He doesn’t like mushrooms so I gladly cleared his plate of any trace 🙂 Both the prawns and the veal were beautifully cooked.
Again the mains had plenty of choice such as Monkfish, Duck, Turbot, Beef, Pork and a veggie option of spaetzel – having never heard of that before, a quick google told me it is a kind of soft egg noodle or dumpling! I wasn’t brave enough to try something new and stuck to the fish theme, choosing the butter spiced monkfish, served with potato, sweetcorn, pork croquette & chicken juices. Believe me when I say this was delicious, the best fish I’ve had for quite a while.
E chose the Charred Beef Sirloin with watercress puree, pomme anna and ox cheek relish. I won’t even put a pic up of this because the darkness of the meat just gets lost against the black plate. E absolutely loves his beef and this was no exception, he raved about it.
Moving on to dessert… after a brief break to let our mains digest and make some room for treats! E is as much of a chocolate lover as I am so the obvious choice was the Chocolate Fondant with pistachio flavours and milk ice-cream. With 70% chocolate this hit the spot right away! Check out that oozing chocolate centre!
I was torn between the Coffee Parfait Mille feuille with Espresso cream and warm yeast doughnut – how amazing does that sound!? But in the end my love for all things cheese won out and I went for the Selection of Irish and French Cheese with rye crackers, grapes and quince. Quince just isn’t for me but every other morsel on the slate was enjoyed and devoured.
As if all that wasn’t enough, these petit fours just finished it all off for us!
I was very impressed by our meal in Saison, perfectly executed dishes in lovely relaxed surrounds. I have only one very small complaint that does not actually even relate to the food – the cocktails were priced at €10 which is pretty average “town” price, however they were in essence half a glass as you will see from the picture, I felt this was slightly overpriced.
It was otherwise a flawless meal – you couldn’t ask for more in a treat and should you want to try them out at a cheaper option than the A la Carte menu they also offer a great Lunch and Pre-Theatre menu at €21 and €25 – get yourself down there and check it out!