The Picky Eater

by Gazette Reporter

MEMBERS clubs were big during the boom but have taken a hit in the past few years, with most clubs now welcoming one and all. One club that has kept it strictly members-only is Residence, at St Stephen’s Green.
I had been invited along to Residence on a number of occasions; Dublin is so small that everyone knows someone with membership.
However, the club’s restaurant – Restaurant 41 – is open to all, so I recently jumped at the chance to have lunch with a friend there, partly to try out chef Graham Neville’s well-lauded food, but also to finally check the place out.
Set in one of St Stephen’s Green’s old Georgian terraced houses, the interior is really inviting and the dining room on the first floor is one of my favourites, with lovely views of the green.
The restaurant was quite busy, with a mixture of business people and couples. The menu is quite short, with three starters and three mains.
I started with roast scallops, truffled garden onions and coral bisque. Two plump scallops came on a bed of onions and were placed decoratively in the centre of the bisque. All ingredients married really well, and I loved the strength of the flavour of the truffle.
My dining partner tried the Clogherhead crab on a bed of pickled seaweed and ponzu, a Japanese citrus-based sauce. This dish had bite and was dispatched quickly. A rich Gewurztrameiner really complemented these fish dishes.
For the second course, I was chuffed to see wild brill on the menu which was stuffed with prawns on a Noilly Prat sauce, which is Martini-based. This elegant and light fish sat tantalisingly in the Noilly Prat and, again, this was a very well accomplished dish.
My companion tried the roast breast of duck on red cabbage and preserved fruit. She prefers her duck cooked a little longer, but that’s purely taste.
After a filling two courses, the waiter recommended the milk jam, vanilla cream cheese and popcorn ice cream. He was spot on – this dish packed in all the flavour but was exceptionally light. My friend tried a cheese board, which did exactly as it said on the tin. They got the temperature of the cheeses just right, something you can never be guaranteed, surprisingly, even in very well run restaurants.
We used the opportunity to gatecrash our way into the bar afterwards, and got a peek at the beautiful people who frequent this place. They were actually all quite ordinary, which in my book, is a reason for going back!

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