Second course - Cauliflower soup
area that had been set up with three long tables. It just didn’t seem to have the glamour of downstairs - ‘bet Pierce won’t be sitting up here’ I muttered to the Man.
We were carefully seated side by side at table of ten – and we waited. Who on earth was going to join us? As the tables around us filled up we were still waiting, I was starting to feel a bit uneasy. Not much longer and thankfully I saw the manager, Mark, leading a few more bods over our way – hurrah. Amusingly Pierce was leading the pack - shows you what I know! Introductions were made and we all settled in. Soon enough the final four diners were brought to our table and we were complete. A few minutes of awkwardness followed (possibly only in my head), but it didn’t last and inquisitiveness took over. My fellow diners were a varied bunch – from us (a couple of accountants), to PR gurus, Masterchef contestants and Westlife’s biggest fan with three of his friends.
There was a pretty long wait for food – as the entire restaurant were on the same menu, they had to wait until everyone had arrived. The first course was a goats’ cheese and potato terrine, served with baby beetroot and rocket – I thought it was fabulous and my only complaint was the size. It arrived at 8.45pm, and with a half a bottle of wine already under my belt I really needed something to start soaking it up before I embarrassed myself with my new supper club friends. A portion twice the size would have been ok with me.
The second course was cauliflower soup with langoustine, almond and curry oil. Interestingly the Man who claims to not like cauliflower absolutely loved this and the kick from the curry oil. The lads opposite me enjoyed it but they weren’t sold on the curry oil. I found it slightly under seasoned, and wasn’t a fan of the whole parsley leaves – but in saying that, the large langoustine plopped in the middle of the soup was super.
There was another longish wait for us for the main – but this one really was worth wait, and on this we were all agreed. Beef cheeks that had been cooked for 10 hours and fell apart with the merest prod were spot on. They had a bone marrow crumb and were served with colcannon, burnt onion mayonnaise and winter vegetables. Definitely the course of the night. We all sat back bloated and content.
One of the revelations on the night for me was sitting and discussing the merits of Twitter, Facebook and any other social networking websites that you can think of. I am such a novice – despite three people around me tweeting every course we had over the evening I couldn’t pull myself together and I was the only one claiming to be a ‘food blogger’. Rubbish. Anyway, loved the chat and have again committed to try and be a more active and open tweeter.
Dessert landed – a steamed orange pudding with custard orange syrup and white chocolate mousse. All very tasty, the sponge really was a bit dense but the orange syrup was delicious – all just needed more custard.
By the end of dessert I was fit to burst, but there was one more course to come – petit fours. They were well worth the wait and I ended up eating far more than I had intended – I have a feeling I baited one of my fellow diners into to a bit of a petit fours challenge that might have contributed to that. Clear favourite for me was the passion fruit marshmallow, just fabulous – and also the bite size slice of tiramisu.
Overall it was a brilliant evening. The food was good, the price fantastic (€35 a head) and the company – brilliant. It was the communal seating aspect that really made the night – the one thing that had worried me turned out to be the making of the night. Mark had obviously put a lot of time and effort into the seating plan, which I think had had to evolve over the day as people had pulled out, and I know that as far as our table went he got it spot on – 10/10 for atmosphere and fun.