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Pearl Brasserie, Dublin


Simon_S
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Hi folks,

Myself and Hazel tried to go to L'Gueuleton in Dublin on Saturday night, having only ever been there mid-week in the past. I was, of course, concerned by their no-booking policy, but I thought things had calmed down. However, stepping out of a cab at 5:55 and facing a queue of about 100 people we rapidly decided to abort! I think we'll stick to mid-week from now on.

So, we started that aimless-wander-while-wracking-brains thing that I truly hate. Where we were going to go at the last minute on a Saturday evening? In due course, and after refusals at various locations, we found ourselves outside Pearl Brasserie, and I'm chuffed to say they were able to accommodate us if we agreed to give the table back by 9:00. That gave us a good two and a half hours, so in we went.

A truly excellent meal followed. Hazel started with a beautiful seared foie gras, significantly better than the One Pico attempt we experienced a few weeks ago. I started with a most excellent smoked chicken risotto with ceps, walnuts and shaved parmesan. I wouldn't normally order that kind of starter, but the smokiness wasn't too overpowering and the dish worked well. For mains, Hazel had quail, which came de-boned, stuffed with a little foie gras and wrapped in layers of savoy cabbage and covered in pastry. It was really excellent, although the red wine jus was maybe a little too rich. I had squab pigeon rossini, another lovely piece of foie gras covering pigeon breast on a bed of spinach. Legs and wings were served in a mini "bowl", and some truffle mash finished the dish. The pigeon was notably flavourful, with a decent gamey taste that seems to be unusual on many Dublin menus. We shared a good cheese selection to finish.

Service from the Sommelier was really superb. He had been great anyway, but when he saw we were actually interested in drinking a decent wine he went up another notch. Seriously friendly, and with really good advice on food and wine throughout the meal. Across the board, service seemed friendly and efficient, making for a really pleasant experience.

Our one gripe was that the plates hadn't been heated all that well, so the food cooled a little too quickly. Apart from that, we'd have few complaints. I'd highly recommend it.

Si

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Yes... it's a great little spot. It's good to see the foie gras is still on the menu and I love the way they do the squab pigeon. I felt a bit of up-selling pressure (water, wine, dessert) when I was there last for a fairly quick meal... I'm sure the sommelier loved you!

It's funny, this place is just slightly off the radar and in terms of value for money, it's pretty good. It's also quite popular with large parties, which can be a bit of a pain. Were you in the front room or the back room?

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We were in the front room, albeit in a very secluded spot. Upselling wasn't a problem, we were in the mood for buying everything anyway! :biggrin:

I agree it's off the radar, and we discussed that very fact over dinner. At first I thought it might be the fact that it's a basement restaurant in an ever-so-slightly out of the way location. But then, of course, you could say the same about Chapter One. Certainly by current Dublin prices I didn't think it was bad value.

Si

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Yes, the fact that it's a basement seems to hinder its visibility, but the location is much better than Chapter One... a few doors down from Guilbaud's and better still, just around the corner from Doheny & Nesbitt's!

It's also worth keeping in mind for lunch (although I don't like basements for lunch). They do one course for €16, two for €21.50 and three for €26. The cod baked with parmesan is the thing to have.

Actually I was meant to go there on Thurs, but was out-voted and the Unicorn won out. It's that time of year!

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I agree Pearl Brasserie is an excellent place. Having been there for the first time recently, it lived up to expectations and was one of the finest dinners I've had in Dublin. The food, wine, service and ambience all combined for a wonderful evening.

The only reason I think it might suffer is the basement location combined with just something lacking with the overall decor/layout. I think that basement premises generally need to compensate for their subterranean location with a ground level entrance presence that makes you want to climb down there, and also that something special downstairs when you arrive, which makes you feel like you made the right decision! Pearl doesn't really promise much at ground level and it just feels like you are climbing down to a basement. The arrival is nothing special either. We waited in a non-descript and dimly lighted entrance until something saw us. Hmmm... The decor inside is also just a little bit too comfortable. I just didn't get that sense of anticipation I get when I descend the stairs to Chapter One or Dax, nor when we sat down that extra-special feeling. I'm thinking here of the general pampering/comfort in Chapter One, and that rustic cosy French atmosphere in Dax. I might add Chapter One and Dax also boast service of the highest order. Ok, maybe I'm digressing a bit too much from the food here, but with such excellent food it's a shame this place isn't as popular as it deserves.

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Welcome to the Forum Max Frank. There's a thread on Chapter One here if you want to update it and there's no thread on Dax (just a few mentions on the Eating in Ireland thread) so feel free to start one.

And I agree... Chapter One and Dax both get over the basement hurdle more successfully than Pearl.

BTW, OT I know, but since I mentioned it upthread, the food in the Unicorn was worse than usual when we were there on Thurs, with two of our party sending food back to the kitchen. Top marks for how they handled it though. It was immediately taken off the bill, replacement dishes were offered etc, etc. The girl working our table was exceptional. Unfortunately the music wasn't. There was some dreadful hairdresser stuff playing, which emphasised the muddy sound system. Advice: stick to lunch in the Unicorn.

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hello all!

just wanted to say thanks to simon for the review and to add my voice to the crowd of us bigging up the sommelier in pearl - he's a... erm.. gem (ahem, scuse the pun!).. used to bump into him when he worked in one pico and was glad to see hes as attentive and knowledgable as ever. we had a really lovely meal in pearl a couple of months back, and as an annoying veggie, i was really chuffed to see they have a separate veggie menu with really inventive dishes on it, not just the standard goats cheese salad malarky.

max, you're spot on about the decor - theres just something a little flat and uninspiring about it.. many basement restaurants in dublin make a feature of this, Dax being a prime example (and while we're singing praises of sommeliers, you can't get better than Olivier). but pearl is just a wee bit dowdy when compared with other places nearby. its funny, when its a basement premises, its so important to get it right - IMHO, town bar and grill is another place that has the decor nailed, compared to somewhere like Venu where the decor makes you feel like you're eating in a nightclub toilet.. ick..

all that saidl, it may not be a great thing if they revamp the dining room - there'll be much less chance of a cheeky table for two on a saturday night (a la the meteor ad!)

ta ra

bee

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It looks like you're a serious lurker bronniebee, what with averaging less than one post a year!! :biggrin:

I didn't know the sommelier was ex-One Pico. That's interesting, since I was a huge One Pico fan for a long time but felt the service on a recent visit really let it down.

I *really* have to go to Town Bar & Grill sometime. I can't believe I haven't been.

Si

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Hello all,

I'm being mentioned so much now that I really feel that I must finally step up to the plate and type my first post. While I regret bitterly that it isn't a review of Le Meurice (!), I hope that throwing my two cent in here will be acceptable.

Both Simon and myself felt that the décor in Pearl was indeed a little dowdy and could do with some updating – it’s a little late 90’s for me. However, I love the bar area for pre/post dinner drinks. I have always felt that while basement restaurants are cosy and warm for autumn and winter dining, a little something extra is needed to make up for the lack of view/natural light in the spring and summer (or, like Corinna mentioned - Hi Corinna! - lunch time.)

Nonetheless, having had some pretty mediocre meals in Dublin lately, I felt that Pearl Brasserie was a highly satisfying experience – in terms of the welcome we received – friendly and welcoming, the service – prompt and well informed, and the food – of superb quality, and perfectly cooked.

Again, the only two quibbles I could raise were the aforementioned cold plates – presumably an oversight, and the early arrival of the cheese plate – which we had asked to be delayed (given slightly over-extended bellies).

H

PS - We’re off to Thorntons for lunch this Saturday…..wonder how we’ll get on given our last experience…..watch this space!

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Hi HannaBanana...

Welcome to the Forum!!!

I'd be very interested to hear how you get on in Thornton's. I was there a few weeks ago (yes, must post on the thread) and had the surprise menu... very good, a well considered sequence of dishes.. There's also a white truffle menu on at the moment, but you'll get some on the surprise menu too.

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