TABLETALK

A tri­umph in the mar­ket

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - CONTENT -

‘A re you ad­ven­tur­ous with food?” the voice at the end of the phone asked. “I’d have to be, in this job,” I thought smartly. “If there’s any­thing you don’t like, we can work around it.” This is a very agree­able and wise ap­proach, with a no-choice menu. I was speak­ing to An­drew Heron, the front-of-house half of the new Heron & Grey duo, who have taken over James Sheri­dan and Soizic Hum­bert’s for­mer Can­[email protected] the Mar­ket in Black­rock — James and Soizic will shortly be open­ing Can­teen Cel­bridge.

It’s bril­liant now that finely ex­e­cuted food doesn’t just fall into starchy ‘white table­cloth’ ter­ri­tory. So many ex­cit­ing young chefs are push­ing them­selves with chal­leng­ing food in the sim­plest and some­times odd­est of set­tings, but with over­heads that make their op­er­a­tions fea­si­ble. It proves that if the food is good enough, the cus­tomers will come.

Damien Grey, an Aus­tralian-born chef, has been here a dozen-plus years, work­ing in top restau­rants, the most re­cent be­ing Chap­ter One; while An­drew Heron has also been in the restau­rant in­dus­try, most re­cently at Luna. On re­view­ing Can­teen two years ago, I said it felt a lit­tle like be­ing in­vited into TV chef Rachel Khoo’s Lit­tle Paris Kitchen, and it still has that great in­ti­mate feel. This is added to by the fact that they only do one sit­ting on Thurs­day, Fri­day and Satur­day nights, with a five-course menu cost­ing €48, which they serve at 7.30pm. They also do a 2/3-course lunch on Fri­day and Satur­day at €23/€26. Heron & Grey, how­ever, have re­vamped the in­te­rior for the bet­ter, putting in a long, com­fort­able ban­quette and a slightly screened-off nook, which is per­fect for six to eight peo­ple.

The menu is writ­ten in the cur­rent stac­cato style, so while you know the in­gre­di­ents, you have no idea how they are be­ing pre­sented. “Bread, gar­lic & chive but­ter”, was straight­for­ward, but “hare, pheas­ant, guinea fowl” — to what seemed like unan­i­mous de­light — was a fat, fab­u­lous, f lavour­ful boudin with richly braised leeks, shreds of soft, greeny-white leeks, and a quenelle of cool, creamy de­li­cious­ness, all com­bin­ing the sweet, sour, salty and umami f lavours. A rasp­berry and de­hy­drated-milk palate cleanser was fol­lowed by a stun­ning dish of cod, cock­les and oys­ter: one of the best things I’ve tasted this year. It was served in a Ja­pane­ses­tyle black bowl — the pearly white­ness of the fish, and the dual tones of the cock­les, were set off by vi­brant sea­weeds, with a creamy soup added at the ta­ble. “Duck, old berries, green cab­bage”, was equally stun­ning, de­liv­er­ing on the sweet, sour, bit­ter, umami f lavours, in a palate of ruby-richreds, set around two, al­most fear­some, blood-red tranches of duck breast, the skin of which had a deep Ja­panese-lacquer fin­ish. It was topped with de­hy­drated rasp­ber­ries, nestling be­side clus­ters of rich cher­ries and cran­ber­ries and star anise sauce, all sit­ting on a car­pet of green Savoy cab­bage, on a bronze plate.

The fi­nal plate was per­fectly mea­sured to cut through the pre­vi­ous rich­ness, be­ing a crisp ap­ple ar­range­ment; con­trast­ing ap­ple tex­tures with nuts. That was it, we thought, un­til the most amaz­ingly in­dul­gent choco­late pe­tit fours plate ar­rived.

We were very ab­stemious when it came to vino, and our bill, with two glasses of Ribero del Duero Proyecto Gar­nachas de Es­pana Mon­cayo 2012 (€8.50 each), two bot­tles of wa­ter (€4 each) and op­tional ser­vice, came to €135.

Damien Grey’s food shines, not only with his pair­ings and pre­sen­ta­tions, but his depth of f lavour — some­thing that is not al­ways a given. This is one of Dublin’s ab­so­lute hid­den gems. Heron & Grey Black­rock Mar­ket, 19A Main Street, Black­rock, Co. Dublin. Tel: (01) 212-3676/(087) 608-3140 hero­nand­grey.com

lu­cin­dao­sul­li­van.com

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