Once in the Tapas bar and once downstairs in the brasserie. I hadn’t eaten there before this and by the time I arrived, there wasn’t a Michelin star in sight.
The tapas offering is superb and really good value. High stools and a buzzing atmosphere fuelled by plenty of young punters lashing back the wine give it an electric feel helped by the dark moody lighting.
Meatballs stuffed with fois gras were a highlight and the only complaint we had was only having the table for two hours on a Saturday night, as the wine was flowing and nobody wanted to leave. It’s the sort of place where the atmosphere is contagious, so when we reluctantly left we went around to Gibney’s
for a few more scoops.
Things are way more formal (and pricey) in the brasserie downstairs. Glancing through the menu, I noticed health-related notes on all dishes, done in a tasteful way. I’m not a fan of that normally, because I think eating out should be a treat, but you can easily ignore it here if you’re so inclined.
The cooking is precise, inventive and pulls in influences as varied as Irish, Asian and French. I’d wager that the menu has changed dramatically since the Michelin blinkers have been taken off and you can tell the chefs are trying to express themselves.
A goat’s cheese starter was as light as a cloud and my tuna was zingy, well-cooked and just as light as a starter should be, wetting the appetite for the main and longing for more.
The desserts were top notch as well, and I’ll be back here many times in the future. The Michelin star is gone and I think that’s a good thing, because it allows chefs to relax and cook their food rather than trying to win an award.
I’d say Bon Appetit will go on to even bigger and better things now, just like Dylan McGrath did when he had his Michelin shackles removed.
You couldn’t cook food this good without the mad Michelin training and long hours to hone the requisite skills, but we now live in a world where social media has become far more important than a snooty guide book printed on paper.