I’m afraid that when it comes to food & drinks, a lot of the clichés about Ireland and Dublin are really rather true.
So yes, there’s a pub on (almost litteraly) every corner, and the vast majority of your meals will include the holy meat-stew-potato-and-cabbage trinity. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
But if you’re after a more modern take on local, seasonal ingredients, booking a table at very popular Forest Avenue is a must.
Run by passionate husband and wife team John and Sandy Wyer, Forest Avenue is the sort of place both hipsters’ and foodies’ dreams are made of.
The restaurant itself has a very shabby-chic, Shoreditch-meets-the-rural-world sort of vibe.
There are deer skulls and dried flowers, wooden tables, chairs and a big wooden staircase…
And a stunning marble bar to grab a drink at while you wait.
The cocktail list is short but perfectly formed, as demonstrated by this combination of vermouth, bay leaf and orange.
Sherry & tonic with lemon & mint.
Both so much more that the sum of their parts. But that, as we were soon to find out, is a theme running deep into Forest Avenue DNA…
For dinner, the deal is really quite simple. You can choose between two tasting menus. One is 3 courses long, one is 5, with the possibility to extend the latter to 6 should you be especially peckish.
But before you decide, they bring you a series of nibbles.
Homemade sourdough bread with beef fat whipped butter.
Yes, this IS a thing and a very heavenly one indeed!
Herb ricotta and breadsticks
Potato doughnuts, served atop the most incredible, umami mushroom cream.
Next up on the pre-menu nibble snack extravaganza, small but mighty spiced lamb cigars with smoked yoghurt green chutney.
Basically the very best of Indian food in a mouthful.
Seaweed sablé biscuit, smoked cod roe and elderflower vinegar.
And last but not least, dashi with seaweed and potato foam. A truly spud-tacular little number, that one.
Now it’s finally time to choose your menu.
All in with the 5-course tasting menu for us please!
Starting with a delicate veal tartar with white beetroot, Cratloe Hills cheese, pickled radish and shiitake mushrooms.
Next up, parmesan agnoletti with swede, whey butter and kale pesto.
Plaice with potato puree, cabbage leaf and smoked cod roe.
Beautifully cooked, with the saline flavour reinforced by the salty cod roe.
All in all a dish sure to make me happy as a clam.
That said, it was also love at first sight for the venison dish…
All topped up by the most creative dessert I’ve had since our trip to Copenhagen.
Warm Chocolate Mousse, Jerusalem Artichoke, Miso Butterscotch, and Salted Walnut Ice Cream.
Might not be an obvious winner on paper, but much like everything else about Forest Avenue it’ll have you rooting for it in no time!
Forest Avenue, 8-9 Sussex Terrace, Dublin 4, Ireland