Owners Stephen Gibson and Nick Munier describe their new venture as ‘a modern take on the classic bistro,’ which is fair enough. Modern incarnations of classic dishes such as citrus cured organic salmon, avocado, salmon wasabi crème fraîche and soy and mirin dressing (€9.00), and mackerel, brick pastry, horseradish, shaved fennel and
beetroot vinaigrette (€7.00) certainly live up to the reputation.
Having visited last Sunday I think ‘an Irish take on the classic bistro’ is an equally apt description. Despite their complicated sounding titles, it’s clear that quality fresh, produce is the cornerstone of all dishes at Pichet, presented in suitably unfussy fashion so as to allow diners to appreciate them.
Pichet bears the hallmarks of experienced restaurateurs. Although open only three months the operation appears to run like a well-oiled machine; the interior is well thought out and well finished, the service is friendly and professional, the menu is concise and appealing from top to bottom, and the wine list – as the bistro’s name implies – allows plenty of options by the glass, 250ml or 500ml pichet, and bottle. They also have beer and stout on draught behind the bar which serves as a deli counter during the day.
We were impressed before we’d ordered a thing, and even more so when they obligingly brought my fellow eater his required balsamic vinegar and olive oil for dipping the fresh, crusty bread. After long deliberations (always a good sign when the menu is relatively concise) I opted for the Castletown Bere crab, chorizo mayonnaise and sour dough toast, and mussels and clams à la Grèque (€12.00), and cleared my plate. The crabmeat was fresh as a daisy and dotted with the tiniest bits of chorizo, which when combined with the creamy, yellow mayo was melt-in-the-mouth to the last bite. While the mussels and clams in their chilled herby tomato base gave a nice little taste of something else, just for interest.
The salad of crispy hens egg, Serrano ham, baby leeks, and caper vinaigrette (€7.00) also disappeared without a trace, as did the small pichet of rosé we to chose to accompany the first course (La Vie en Rose, VdP des Collines Rhodaniennes, Domaine du Monteillet, France 2007, €10.25).
The mains were equally hard to choose for all the delicious-sounding options, but we did at last decide on the certified Hereford 10oz ribeye, (from Peter Hannon,
Co Armagh), béarnaise sauce, watercress salad, and chips (€26.00), and the confit suckling pig with puy lentils, Toulouse sausage, sauerkraut, and Dalkey mustard (€20.00). Despile my best efforts, I could not stop myself from finishing off the molten suckling pig and trimmings, the meat topped with generous slabs of salty crackling. And the steak was deemed to one of the best we’d seen in a Dublin restaurant – and I must also mention that the chips tasted as though they’d been cooked in a good quality fat, staying delicious to the end of dinner.
To go with the second course, I had chosen a glass of Barbera d’Alba, Prunotto, Italy 2007 (€8.00) which proved to have been so popular that night they’d run out. So I went with a tasty pinot noir instead (Lake Chalice Estate, Marlborough, New Zealand 2007 €9.25), which worked perfectly with my suckling pig. My lad, being his own man, chose Sauvignon Blanc ‘Reserva’, St.Digna, Miguel Torres, Chile 2008 (€5.75) to go with his steak – each to their own!
Seeing as I’d been so bold over dinner already we shared dessert (€6.00); a yummy puff pastry tart filled with caramelised apple and topped with banana ice cream (although it had said vanilla on the menu, the surprise substitution did it for me). And next time I vow to be a beast and try some of their other creations, such as white chocolate cheesecake with passion fruit jelly and raspberries.
Pichet really has it all. By day it’s a nice little deli serving sandwiches, soups and pastries, as well as wine to takeaway. Then by night it serves up exceptionally good food for very reasonable prices, in cosy yet modern bistro ambience with great service. I haven’t a bad word to say about Pichet, it’s a star and one of the food highlights this year. According to Stephen Gibson they’ve been doing very well since they opened, booking out each weekend, so I have every confidence the bistro has what it takes to endure – it’s one of the few places delivering on the name ‘bistro’.
Review, 23rd September 2009
Café, bar/wine shop and restaurant
14 – 15 Trinity Street
T: 01 6771060
Open Monday to Friday from 8am to 10.30pm, Saturday from 10am to 11pm, and Sunday from 12pm to 9pm