Brioche in Ranelagh describes itself as a modern Irish tasting plate restaurant and its in the hands of Chef Gavin McDonagh. His impressive CV before Brioche includes stints in L’Ecrivan and Patrick Guilbaud. The menu offers Irish produce prepared with classic French techniques.
The interior of Brioche has all the classic French appearances while being comfortable and local and inviting at the same time. My only gripe in terms of surrounds is the fact that the tables are a little too close for comfort. I’d hate to be sharing anything too intimate over dinner because my fellow diners would be part of the conversation whether they liked it or not. Brioche it appears also has another French string to its bow, that of being ‘Compact and Bijou’. That said, they are a business and dinner table real estate is no doubt at a premium in Ranelagh.
We were lucky enough to have a €70 voucher compliments of the kind folks over at Zomato We chose to go for the seasonal set menu with a view to trying out as much of the menu as we could during our visit. Of course dinner is not dinner without wine so the first priority was to choose a bottle of white from the menu. Crisp with citrus flavors it was the perfect start to dinner, having already had a glass across the road in the Taphouse.
To kick start proceedings we had an amuse bouche of spiced mackerel which was so delicately presented it was almost a shame to eat it. But of course we did and it was a masterpiece in itself. Part of the service (which was excellent by the way) was to offer diners a beautifully presented mini Brioche in a glass platter. A lovely touch I thought.
The first starter was a broccoli soup with blue cheese ravioli, broccoli and cous cous. To add a touch of drama the soup comes in a small jug which the waiter pours around the ravioli on presentation. While it was full of flavour and tasty it could have been a bit hotter. A bit of feedback we neglected to pass on at the time, so they didn’t get a chance to rectify it. For the price I would also expect more than one portion of ravioli.
The second starter was chicken thigh terrine confit, egg yolk, fennel onion and Summer truffle. This I loved. It was beautifully presented, delicate and smooth and a wonderfully different take on a terrine.
For mains I went for pan-roasted cod, cherry tomato consume, fennel, ruby grapefruit and a herb salad. There is no denying that the food in Brioche is cooked to perfection, presented with the eye in mind and wonderfully creative; the only draw back is the portion size. The portion of cod, if so small that you can’t quite see it amid its other culinary friends, is then perhaps a little on the small side. It tasted great I have to say but I’d like some more.
All mains come served with a side of potato puree with chives and olive oil which I was very glad to have.
The other main course was scallop, prawn, mussel, hake, sea vegetables and scallop cream. I didn’t get a chance to try it myself but my seafood loving fellow diner declared it a success and finished it all. It was of course only gorgeous to look at too.
Still with some space in our bellies we ordered some desserts. Mine was the deliciously sounding apple parfait with candied macadamia nuts and granny smith apple granita. I cannot recommend this dessert highly enough. It was pure pleasure from start to finish with such a wonderfully fresh apple taste from the granita. It was simply perfect.
The other dessert was basically a chocolate heart attack disguised as a decadent and delicate sinfully chocolaty masterpiece. A 72% chocolate torte with coffee jelly and buttermilk sorbet and a macaroon. Far too rich for my taste but my God if you like your chocolate then I suggest you head straight to Brioche and indulge your cocoa senses.
So overall whats the verdict? The service was sublime, the food was fantastic and the desserts were delectable. Brioche is giving you quality food with fine dining portions and while 3 courses for €39 in theory is good value its still just shy of €80 for dinner for two. I did enjoy the dining experience but I’d like to see just a little more on my plate to ensure I keep coming back.
Brioche, 51 Elmwood Avenue, Ranelagh, Dublin 6. Ph: 01 497 9163