I had been hearing great things about The Green Hen for ages. A friend had raved about it, but he is a vegetarian so I’m always a little suspicious of non meat eaters. Can you really trust someone who is part of the Quron movement (I joke). It was however on my list of places to try. As luck would have it a buddy had organised lunch there for me as an early birthday treat.
I’ll do my very best to be balanced in my review but quite frankly I was under its spell the second I walked up to it. It has that wonderful charm of a Parisian Cafe and makes you feel like you are stepping back in time. Just inside the door is a small bar area, perfect for a glass of wine or cup of coffee and some window watching.
The bar is followed by a narrow section which opens wider towards the back. Upstairs there is another dining space which is filled with light and in constrast to downstairs which is darker. Personally I prefer the look and feel of downstairs.
Every inch of the walls are adorned with framed movie posters from an era long gone by.
It was lunch time on a busy Saturday when we visited so we decided to try out the set lunch menu, which let me tell you is amazing value at 1 course for €14, 2 courses for €17 or 3 courses for €19.
While salivating over the menu we got a couple of glasses of prosecco to kick start. Light refreshing and crips with an underlying hint of fruits. There is just never enough in one glass though! Although if I do have more than one I start that really awkward flirting with the wait staff where they roll their eyes and say to themselves ‘great another tipsy fool thinking he is hilarious’. I do genuinely feel sorry for staff sometimes, having been on the receiving end of it myself!
For starters I went for the Braised Pork Cheek with a Pigs Head Croquette, Chicory, Pear and Calvadas Jus. The Pigs Head bit kinda threw me a little and I was a bit aprehensive about what would appear on the plate. It was bloody gorgeous. The Pork Cheek was tender and fell apart and the Croquette was crisp on the outside with soft and creamy potato and bacon on the inside. I literally licked the Jus off the plate, classy guy that I am.
My buddy had the Hot and Cold Goats Cheese and Beetroot Salad. A plentiful helping it was too. I’m not a big fan of goats cheese but I’m told it was quite tasty and he ate it all despite the fact he is usally a ‘salad dodger’.
For mains the following culinary successes were served up. Mine was the catch of the day which was pan fried Seabass on a bed of creamed potato with fried samphire. It also came with a delightfully tasty garlic sauce which was really mild and not overpowering with such a delicate fish. When I first looked at the plate I thought to myself, well this won’t fill me. Coming from a farming background I like spuds with me spuds so was thinking a little bit of creamed mash ain’t going to cut it. Happy to be proved wrong, it was suprisingly filling. The fish was perfectly cooked and only lightly seasoned. It was my first time trying fried samphire and I can safely say I’d eat a whole plate of it. Gorgeous!
The other dish was traditional fish and chips which is a fairly safe option. It was beer battered to perfection and served with chips, pea puree, rocket and a basil aioli on the side. Cooked and presented correctly a dish as simple as fish and chips can hit all the right spots and this one did. Let’s just say the ‘salad dodger’ cleared the plate.
Completely stuffed after two fantastic courses we needed a pre dessert breather which was filled nicely by a bottle of Domaine Mont Auriol which is a Viognier. A delicious French white with hints of apricot and lemon.
I also had a wander around the restaurant looking at all the framed posters of which there are many. Even the gents have their walls covered in classic black and white photographs of leading men. I can only assume the ladies is similar. Yes I took a picture. Yes it might seem odd to many but I thought it was quite stylish and am contemplating recreating this look (minus urinals) in my own bathroom at home.
I don’t usually have dessert unless it really appeals to me. However when the description reads Hazelenut and Caramel Cheesecake, Toffee Popcorn and Caramel Sauce my first thoughts are GET IN ME. The picture doesn’t do it justice at all. The presentation was perfect and had I not taken the picture before tasting it, lets just say there would be no picture because I pretty much inhaled the dessert it went that fast.
The other dessert equally appealing to the eye was also a treat for the palette. Creme Brulee with shortbread biscuit. There were also three dark chocolate truffles on a somewhat odd and flavourless bit of jelly accompanying it. Might be a case of style over taste on that choice. While I didn’t get to taste the Creme Brulee I’m assured it was delicious. I did however manage to grab a truffle and wasn’t disappointed.
For my first visit to The Green Hen, I have to admit, it was a pure feast for the senses in every meaning of the words. The staff were friendly and efficient. The good was tasty and plentiful and I’m still amazed that they were only charging €19 for three courses. It was incredible value. They even sent us on our way with a complimentary shot which left a nice warm feeling in our bellies as we rolled ourselves out of the restaurant.http://www.greenhen.ie