Back in 1817 the Iveagh Gardens were known as the Coburg Gardens. Two hundred years later the name has returned as the revamped brasserie The Coburg in the Conrad hotel. An intimate group of us were invited along for a ‘taste of The Coburg’ evening which was a tailored food and drink led experience. All dishes are however available on the menu.
To start the evening we had a masterclass in champagne and glassware around the marble-topped champagne table. Henriot is the house champagne at The Coburg, served in large wine style glasses as opposed to the more usual champagne flutes. To accompany it there were of course some exquisite oysters.
After our warm welcome we were seated in the sun drenched surrounds of the glass ceiling brasserie, a comfortable and inviting space where every detail has been meticulously chosen. Our menu was six courses giving us a culinary adventure in what the brasserie has to offer.
The first course was seared beef carpaccio with truffle vinaigrette and aged parmesan. Considering just ten years ago I ordered carpaccio well done in a restaurant, I was more than ready to test my new level of sophistication with some beautifully prepared carpaccio. Extremely satisfying I must admit.
To follow we had, what for me was a stand out dish. Castletownbere crab cocktail presented in a glistening copper Martini glass. A mix of baby gem lettuce and Coburg spicy cocktail sauce it was a lesson in exceptional flavour and stylish execution with the freshest of crab meat.
Course three was another winner for me. A fried duck egg with a sweet potato rosti, wilted spinach and tomato cilantro sauce. I’d be very open to someone serving this up to me for breakfast on a lazy Sunday morning. Cooked perfectly and bursting with flavour sometimes its the simplest of dishes that resonate the most.
Next we sampled from the fish selection with a lobster and prawn ravioli which came with a bisque foam and lobster oil. While beautifully cooked and presented it was the only dish which didn’t quite appeal to me. That I suspect is down to personal taste as the rest of the guests plates were clean.
Before moving to dessert we tried a dish from the meat selection. A schnitzel of Wexford rose veal served with a simple and elegant watercress salad. A dish which surprised me somewhat but was very enjoyable. I can’t remember the last time (or if ever) I seen schnitzel on a menu that wasn’t attached to a beer festival. I’d be happy to see more of it gracing plates in restaurants.
Who doesn’t love a well made apple tarte tatin served with vanilla ice-cream and brandy cream. Just look at the outrageously delicious looking caramelisation on it. It was also just the perfect size to allow you indulge without being too indulgent.
The Coburg is carefully fined tuned with an exciting and varied menu. The price points are also structured to allow for multiple dining budgets. When I’m invited to a unique dining experience such as this I always try to take a look at how the tables around me are looked after. It would be easy for an establishment to be more attentive to an invited guest but I’m sincere when I say The Coburg has one level of service to suit all, and that is service of the highest standard. The hotel is in the midst of an impressive upgrade and I’m told their new bar Lemuels will be open soon. We did get a sneak peak of the menu which is Gulliver’s Travels inspired so I’ll be returning to try that out.