Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Alexis Bar and Grill, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin


Recommended Posts

I've been intending to write about Alexis Bar and Grill, recently opened on Patrick St. in Dun Laoghaire, for quite a while, and as I've mentioned it in a couple of other threads I thought it was time it got one of its own. Normally, I wouldn't be inclined to visit (or indeed comment on) a restaurant so soon after its opening, but I made an exception here. What a happy exception it was.

The restaurant itself is big (seats 90 I believe) and comfortable enough, the kitchen open at one end so you can watch the cooking as it happens should you feel so inclined. It really is quite a large space and will probably have a good bistro kind of atmosphere when a little more full. On our visits there numbers were a little small (unsurprising given the newly-opened status) so we had to make our own atmosphere. I stress, it wasn't unpleasant in any way, but this is not the kind of room you would call cosy! The menu is reasonably short and simple, and not arranged in the standard starter-main format. Some dishes are smaller, some are larger, some are available in half portions, basically you can eat whatever you like the sound of.

On my first visit I had the feuilleté of button mushrooms, garlic thyme and white truffle oil, followed by the Cassoulet de Toulouse. Hazel started with the seared scallop risotto with Fresh peas and then moved on to the roast wood pigeon tartlet, braised onion and endive salad. The feuilleté was really delicious, with very light and flaky pastry surrounded by mushrooms in a very rich mushroomy sauce. The truffle oil was (mercifully) served with a very light hand. The scallop risotto was even better, expertly cooked and displaying really good quality ingredients. These were better scallops than I've had in some Michelin-starred restaurants -- excellent stuff. Mains didn't disappoint either, the cassoulet more solid than liquid and all the better for it, and my few tastes of the pigeon tartlet were good, although I didn't try much of it.

Our next visit saw a repeat of the scallop dish (which was as good as we remembered), and some new mains: the pan-fried peppered duck, sautéed spinach, confit potatoes and the braised beef short ribs "reform". Again, this was good hearty food, beautifully prepared and presented and with really good ingredients. My one minor criticism was that I'd prefer the duck taken off the pan a few seconds earlier, but it was a small point. The meal, once again, was very good, and proved that our earlier visit hadn't just been beginner's luck.

The best bit (and how often can you say this?) was the bill!! Given the quality of cooking and ingredients, I wouldn't have been surprised to see that first meal creeping up towards 3 figures for 2 of us. Granted we'd skipped dessert, but for two starters, two mains, two or three glasses of wine and some coffees we got in and out for 60 quid. That doesn't happen often these days!

So, in short, if you're in Dun Laoghaire looking for hearty food at a good price you should definitely pop in. If you're not you should make the trip. Given that I live nearby and have long despaired of the culinary desert that is Dun Laoghaire, Alexis is now the proverbial oasis. I really hope this restaurant takes off, since I imagine they're going to have to do a lot of business to keep quality high for the prices they're charging. We'll certainly be doing our best to support! In fact, we like it enough that Hazel and I are having our engagement celebration there with our families on Friday night. Let's see if they're any good at pouring champagne!

Website is under construction, but menus can be downloaded here.

Si

PS Off-topic, but I must stop writing reviews only of places that I like...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the review Simon. It certainly deserves its own thread. Anyone who sets out to serve good food at the right price deserves support. I just wish it was in my neck of the woods. I've intended getting there with the kids for quite some time now.

:biggrin:Big congratulations to you and Hazel :biggrin:

... and enjoy your engagement dinner with the rellies.

PS Off-topic, but I must stop writing reviews only of places that I like...

I can't wait! Sharpen that pen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Corinna. The venture is co-owned by my brother and I. Alan is cooking and I manage the business..we're still talking to each other after 5 weeks so that's something!!

What was the most difficult part of the process? Opening the restaurant, that is?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Corinna,

The experience overall was stressful but enjoyable. The biggest challenge was to deliver the project on time and on budget. We just about managed to make it on budget but ran over by two weeks from our planned start date.

We found the smaller day to day issues the most stressful such as tradesmen or suppliers letting us down and many tardy bureaucrats we encountered when setting up the business side.

We also found that we had to come up with solutions to lots of small problems which we hadn't anticipated.

Alan had been through the process many times before but I found the whole experience to be hugely educational.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Congrats to all at Alexis on the most excellent review from Tom Doorley in today's Irish Times. Thorougly deserved of course, but that doesn't always mean it works out that way.

Well done!

Si

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, congratulations! Reviews don’t get much better that this:

But keen prices are no use unless the grub is good. At Alexis it is excellent. It's just as well this is a big restaurant, because as news spreads an awful lot of people will become regulars.

And emphatic endorsement!

Alexis Bar and Grill is doing something radical. I just hope O'Reilly can sustain the value for money. If enough of us eat there, I reckon he can. I strongly suggest we beat a path to Dún Laoghaire. This is one seriously exciting restaurant.

Looks like you made his day. I hope you’re geared up for the stampede that is sure to follow!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for support guys. Very kind words from Mr. Doorley. The response to the review has been overwhelming.

We're still at the development satge of the business and we're trying to improve all the time but a review like that is certainly a major shot in the arm.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...Followed by a top review from Lucinda O'Sullivan in the Sunday Independent! One weekend, two amazing reviews.....

Prepare for the stampede......We're just glad we got to you before the madness starts!

Heartfelt congrats!!!!

H

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

So last Friday found my partner Mary and I in the wonderful company of Simon and Hazel and assorted others in Alexis, eagerly awaiting the promise of some very good food as indicated by the reviews above and verbal endorsements by "the gastronomes" :wink: . Let me say all that is said about this restaurant is thoroughly deserved. Alexis is producing wonderful dishes with top class ingredients, and is getting very busy without letting the resulting increase in foot flow affect its quality, it seems. Not an easy task for a new business.

The dishes I sampled on the night were the pigeon tartlet, which contained probably the tastiest pigeon I have eaten in a long time, it was cooked rare and had a wonderful gamey taste that is all too frequently missing from all types of wildfowl these days. The pastry was good and light. Mary had the scallops as mentioned above, and they are as good as indicated. Perfectly cooked scallops served on a wonderful pea risotto (personally I like a risotto to be very well cooked and this is what you get here). For mains we both ended up having the duck. Perfectly cooked, medium rare, with a very moorish pepper sauce that really complimented the gamey duck. Deserts were an almond and pear tart, and a rhubarb crumble, both excellent.

There are a few restaurants serving better food than Alexis at the moment but none at the price that Alexis is charging. On the night in question we certainly did not stint on the wine, including a bottle of the excellent 2001 Chateau Courts Les Muts saussignac, the bill came to 58.00 euro a head. I honestly can't think of anywhere you can eat this well for this money. Long may it last.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

We had a really enjoyable meal in Alexis just over a week ago. Actually, it was especially good because we were with the gastronomes (Simon_S and Hannabanana), who seem to be gastro royalty around town, so we helped them through their comped bottle of champagne... what a lovely start! The room is much nicer than I expected, it’s buzzy and breezy, tables are well spaced apart and the bar area used for dispensing drinks and coffee is a nice focal point.

The gnocchi starter was lovely, not gluey and with a nice cheesy sauce; the potted prawns and crab was extremely good, really simple and fresh tasting, this should be a signature dish. I had a simple main course of roast quail salad and Steve really enjoyed the lamb’s liver with mash. Steak here is particularly good value btw, I stole a bit of Hazel’s which had a great flavour and was cooked perfectly. So, an excellent neighbourhood spot with prices (about €50 a head) and quality that would shame similar establishments.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If only I could guarantee the company!

Well by the look of the reports on this page, we're never out of the place!!

The new summer menu seemed (to me at least) quite successful, with a nice mix of lighter options, and the occasional rib-sticker still there for the hard-core carnivores. Incidentally, my earlier comment about the duck has been well and truly addressed. The duck I was served on a our last visit was quite definitely pink, and the confit that accompanied it was totally delicious.

It's still hard to get in, too, so I assume I'm not the only one who thinks that standards are staying high at Alexis.

Si

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The new summer menu seemed (to me at least) quite successful, with a nice mix of lighter options, and the occasional rib-sticker still there for the hard-core carnivores. .....

Alan (head chef) mentioned that the new menu wasn't working out though, and it's due for a change - probably this week I'd say.

We'll have to go back. I'm still annoyed I didn't get to try the veal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a great place. I had been planning to go there after all of your wonderful reviews and so went out there for Sunday lunch. Felt slight groggy after a long night at Dax so mana from heaven was that potato puree. We tried about four of the main courses and nearly all the deserts. The sausage was perfectly cooked, the gravy like marmite, the chasseur was indeed classic and the beef pie could have done endorsements for the Board of CRH it was so rich. The deserts were things of great loveliness. It is a place that is as generous with detail and intelligence as it is with it's prices. I am going Saturday night and promise a full review.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a great place. I had been planning to go there after all of your wonderful reviews and so went out there for Sunday lunch. Felt slight groggy after a long night at Dax so mana from heaven was that potato puree.  We tried about four of the main courses and nearly all the deserts. The sausage was perfectly cooked, the gravy like marmite, the chasseur was indeed classic and the beef pie could have done endorsements for the Board of CRH it was so rich. The deserts were  things of great loveliness. It is a place that is as generous with detail and intelligence as it is with it's prices. I am going Saturday night and promise a full review.

The what? The What?!?!? They've totally changed the menu! Ex-hexcellent. Simon, when are we going?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see Alexis' website is up and running, here, although the menu on the site seems to be the previous incarnation. By the sound of Augustine's post, the Sunday lunch menu has changed as well.

Simon, when are we going?

I'm free tonight!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a great reaction!! Sorry to disappoint but the beef pie and chasseur were specials on the Sunday lunch menu just gone. The evening menu is due to change on Thursday. It won't be a radical change - just four or five dishes that we're not entirely happy with. By way Hanna, apologies about the veal - I'll stick my hands in the air for that one!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a great reaction!! Sorry to disappoint but the beef pie and chasseur were specials on the Sunday lunch menu just gone. The evening menu is due to change on Thursday. It won't be a radical change - just four or five dishes that we're not entirely happy with. By way Hanna, apologies about the veal - I'll stick my hands in the air for that one!

Well, I'll be in tonight, so get that baby cow ready for me! :wink:

Mmm. Baby cow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 9 months later...

We realised recently that we hadn't eaten at Alexis in quite some time (mainly because we were trying to eat at home more for weightloss reasons -- thusfar ineffective!). We popped in yesterday for Sunday lunch, and I'm glad to report that, as usual, everything was top drawer.

My starter of chicken liver parfait had a beautiful home-made feel to it, accompanied by excellent brioche. Hazel's fig and blue cheese tart was summarily demolished and I can report that the morsel I was granted was very good indeed! My main of pork loin was probably the star of the show. Lean but moist, with a subtle apple sauce and decidedly more-ish gravy, not to mention excellent mash and perfectly-cooked veg, it was exactly what a Sunday lunch should be. Hazel continued her pastry theme with a rich steak and mushroom pie, served with the aforementioned mash and carrots. The flavour and texture of the meat was fabulous, this was really feel-good food. Presentation was very pretty as well, showing perhaps a touch more elegance than before? In any case, very tasty.

Despite my protestations that I couldn't possibly eat any more, I managed to squeeze in an apple crumble, and even though I had to be rolled to the car, I regret nothing! The light caramel sauce and proper vanilla ice-cream set it off beautifully.

So, all-in-all, it's my usual rave review for Alexis. There are very few restaurants at any level in Dublin where I prefer to eat. Bill for 2 starters, 2 mains, 1 dessert, 2 coffees and 1 large bottle of sparkling water was 60 Euro. You can't say fairer than that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

Congratulations to Alexis Bar and Grill and Patrick_O on winning the Food & Wine Leinster Best Restaurant Award 2008. Well deserved. And I reckon it has to be odds-on favourite for a Michelin Bib Gourmand in the New Year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...