My girlfriend and I didn't get the chance to spend Valentine's Day together this year. The fact we both work in two different counties in jobs that aren't quite 9-5 meant that there were about two texts sent to each other that day, so it just felt like any other Wednesday.
We knew we'd both be working. We didn't really care that much about the day to begin with and just decided that we'd celebrate it the following Friday when she travelled up to the capital.
Book a fancy restaurant, job done.
One slight problem though... It was one week before payday and I had just blown about half of my wages on a weekend away with the lads.
I asked around and a good few people pointed me in the direction of Pichet, a small but extremely busy bistro on Trinity Street. I would have hated to see what it looked on Valentine's Day itself because we booked a table for 6pm on a Friday and it was WEDGED.
Being the idiot that I am, I didn't even have a glance at the restaurant's menu online before I went in but surprisingly there was no sweating at the table and reaching for the emergency fund in the bank account. For such a deluxe restaurant, the prices were so reasonable. We've often forked out more in the west of Ireland.
I luckily booked a table earlier that week and because we were in the door for 6pm, we were just in time to order from the early bird menu. It was great value, two courses for €22 each was contemplated by both parties but we thought fuck it, we don't get the chance to do this very often so we scrapped the original idea and just went full hog on the a la carte. I ordered the steak for mains while herself - after much deliberation and consideration - decided to go for the duck.
You can't rush these decisions and the three times that the waitress had to come back to us to see if were 'ready' will testify that fact.
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It's that time of the season where romance is in the air. It's time to spoil that special someone and indulge in some delicious food. Pictured above is our Cherry Valley Duck, with salt-baked beetroots, red cabbage purée and black pudding which is available on our Valentine's set menu. #Foodie #DublinFoodie #LovinDublin #FoodGuide
Wine drinkers will absolutely adore this spot too. Put me on any high stool in Ireland and I'll give it my best shot to remain there for the day but give me two glasses of wine and it's sleepy time.
Herself was very impressed with the list. Red wines, white wines, maybe it's because I don't pay enough attention to that type of drink myself but I can honestly say that it felt like they had catered for every sort of wine drinker and their particular tastes.
— Pichet Restaurant (@PichetDublin) November 10, 2017
We dug in and gave each other the nod of approval straight away. Then, without asking, we cut off a tiny piece of each other's dish and have a sample and immediately we are both filled with jealousy. It's at that moment that I wished it was possible for me to have ordered half steak and half duck. I couldn't steal another piece from her but I didn't want to give up anymore of my steak either for negotiation, so a deal for the second bite of the duck fell through.
The duck was heaven sent. It was tender and juicy and was added to by all the surplus flavors. You can see why I was wishing for half and half.
But, I was happy with my choice. I love my steaks and this is one of the best in Dublin. I was leaned back in my chair half way through admitting defeat although I knew there was enough space in the belly to fit it all in. I soldiered on and wasn't content until the last mouthful had gone down the hatch.
The Béarnaise that fell on top of the Striploin was just that extra kick needed everytime I was considering throwing in the towel. I'm strange in that I like to leave my chips until the end of any meal I have. So, I put them in the middle of the table and herself and I shared them and chatted about how for two immature adults, we actually looked the business for once.
I ordered dessert on the assumption that some sort of stretching or growing would happen in my stomach in between orders but in the back of my mind I knew I'd get maybe three spoonfuls max out of it. The cheesecake was delish but I'd sacrifice the steak for it every day of the week.
I had a little taster of the chocolate fondant and it was funky. It was very rich and the popcorn gave it an interesting texture. You might not leave thinking it was the best fondant you ever had but the popcorn addition will definitely give it a lasting memory in your brain.
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Not only do we have a kitchen you can see right into, sometimes the chefs venture out to garnish dishes by the tables! @sebbe835 putting the finishing touches on our Cured Salmon dish ???? . . . . . #pichet #kitchen #open #chefsofinstagram #service #salmon #cured #garnish #entertainment
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Introducing the new Lunch Time Menu, for our guests on the go daily! Available Monday to Friday 12-3. ???? . . . . #tenner #lunch #lunchinspo #lunchour #dublin #ireland #dublincity #foodgasm #igersdublin #lovindublin #lovedublin #discoverdublin #foodphotography #foodpics #foodpic #foodlover #foodblogger #yum #thedublinbible #igersireland #instaireland #picturethisdublin #eat #visitdublin #dinner #hungry #feedfeed #tasty #irish #nomnom
The service in here was excellent. They were quick, they were friendly, they asked three or four times if everything was okay with our food.
The waiting staff could not do enough for us. We skipped starters but they still came down to us with sesame bread to nibble on while we waited for our mains. Little things like that go a long way when you're picking out your favourite restaurants in Dublin.
In total, the bill was in the region of €70+ for two courses. We could have gone early bird and got it for much cheaper and it's quite possible that when we go back again we will do that. But, for the night that was in it, we pushed the boat out and it still didn't break the bank for us.
Everything about Pichet gave the impression that it was a swanky, high class restaurant that was way out of our league, everything except the price.