We heard a buzz about Bon Appetit a while back, and with Oliver Dunne's stance on effectively handing back his Michelin star, we were curious as to why someone would do this?! Was it the necessity to cater for it's Northside Dublin clientele? Was the pressure too hard? Or was Dunne not fussed about the hype that surrounds a star and his philosophy was to cook just good food? But the reviews after it's handing back continued to be positive and so we were eager to try it out.
Bon Appetit is located in trendy Malahide, its a multiple storey restaurant that features a tapas bar, a brasserie- they also do Brunch, Lunch, Afternoon Tea and cooking lessons.
Maybe we chose the wrong option on the menu. I don't know. We went for the option titled 'Surprise Tasting menu'- and all we knew was that it was six courses long. As a fan of tasting menu's, I expect good cooking, exciting tastes and a flowing rhythm throughout the courses. The Amuse Bouche was lovely- foie gras in a cone with caramelised onions- the bar was set. Bravo. But it all headed South from there. Up next, was the goats cheese and beetroot starter. I'm a huge fan of goats cheese. I love it, but this was very mild- almost as if there was very little cheese within the panna cotta purée. And it was served on a slate plate. Slate plates do not actually annoy me as much as they do some people, but because the dish was quite purée based, aside from the chunky bits of beetroot, it made it almost impossible to get everything on to a fork. Up next was the black pudding, on a bed of mushy peas topped with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce. I have poached eggs at least three times a week. Poached eggs should never be hard. Ever. I was so disappointed because it meant my food was either sitting to be serviced for ages, even though it wasn't busy at all. Or the chef didn't care. Ugh. Next was a surf and turf served with mashed potatoes, a red wine jus and a stem of broccolini. The meat was actually very good. I just would't normally pair a strong red wine jus with prawns. There were two desserts- a deconstructed vanilla cheesecake- which was ok, but again served on slate mean't the biscuit base crumbs went flying of the plate every time I took a spoonful. The cheesecake itself was quite bland. No punch or tartiness from the fruit purée. The final dessert- a coconut brownie served with coconut ice-cream topped with white chocolate wasn't surpirsing either and was quite large compared to the last dish and just didn't seem to flow from the last few dishes. I even left some which is saying something because I never EVER leave food on my plate. I really wasn't wowed.
Value for money was fine- it was €50 for the menu- but they really couldn't charge any more then that anyway because it wasn't up to scratch with other tasting menus in Ireland. I had a glass of red wine that I asked to be paired with my food, and the waiter failed to introduce what it was. It's little things like this that usually add to a service. I've chosen to eat out instead of eat at home and I expect my meal to be of a certain standard. Our espresso's were good. Overall, it could be so much more. It was very quiet for a Saturday night- max 5 tables in use at 7.45pm, but the tapas bar above was busy. Was that what we should have opted for? The menu itself looked decent with the a la carte options- our table next to us shared a lovely beef cut that smelled divine. There meal came out exactly as I cut into my hard poached egg and I couldn't help but feel cheated...
Did we choose the wrong option? Was it just a miss that day?! I would love to hear about your experience there!