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Leslie Williams has lunch in The Greenhouse Restaurant

All the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. A local guide to local places.

So what would you do if you found out you had cycled into Dublin City Centre on a Friday lunchtime for an event that was actually on Saturday? Well perhaps you are not as disorganised as I am so this wouldn't happen but I decided to not waste the journey and have lunch in The Greenhouse.

Now I realise this sounds like extravagance in the extreme but having done it I strongly suspect this is the best way to eat in Greenhouse and fully focus all your attention on the rather profound nature of Mickael Viljanen's cooking.

The meal began with a tiny foie gras parfait tartlet which sang on the palate like a little silky soprano and matched beautifully with my glass of Alsace Pinot Gris.

Charred mackerel with avocado, beetroot slices, herbs, wakame seaweed and a kind of horseradish snow was immaculately cooked with the focus subtly changing and developing as the fish made contact on the palate with the different forces around it, all of which were there to push forward its flavour rather than compete.

Butter-poached Plaice came next with perfect sweet scallops, trompette-de-mort mushrooms, some perfect braised fennel and a lightly foamed seafood velouté. The texture of the plaice was perhaps a little soft for my taste but the other elements again lifted and focused the dish perfectly.

Dessert was probably the most perfectly shaped passion-fruit soufflé I have ever seen topped with an intense creamy passion-fruit sorbet. The top was broken by my waiter and the immaculate fluffy interior filled with warm white chocolate sauce. I almost scraped away the porcelain in my enthusiasm.

Lunch in Greenhouse is €29 for two courses, €35 for three, and my two glasses of wine plus coffee and petits-fours brought the bill to €56 – extravagance perhaps, but more memorable than many a concert ticket that cost considerably more.

Leslie Williams

The Greenhouse Restaurant, Dawson Street, Tel: 01-676 7015 www.thegreenhouserestaurant.ie

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