James Kavanagh was delighted to see that the tasting menu element of Forest Avenue has filtered into its new sister restaurant Forest & Marcy. But did this menu live up to its sibling’s standards?
For someone who adores eating out, I get terribly stressed in restaurants. If I’m with someone, I’m envious of whatever they order. When my neighbouring tables’ food comes, I’m jealous. I’m never truly happy with what I pick and I always spend about ten minutes quizzing the (probably irritated) waiter on the menu, asking them what they’d order, getting them to compare the different specials available and convince me that I’m ordering the right thing. If it were up to me, it would be acceptable to pay a ‘hall pass’ fee in restaurants where you could go around and have bits of what everyone is eating. I’d like to be able to taste everything. So, when I heard about the ‘Chef’s Choice’ on Forest & Marcy’s menu, I got excited.
Forest & Marcy is the cool younger sibling of Forest Avenue, a place that’s infamously difficult to get a table in because it’s so popular. It’s also famous for its six-course tasting brunches. The element of tasting lots of little dishes, thankfully, has made its way into Forest & Marcy.
The place has the atmosphere and décor of a hip, New York bistro – which isn’t surprising given the owner is from there. We were actually greeted by her at the door – a lovely, involved gal who buzzes around the place telling people all about the various bits and bobs they are eating.
Both William (pictured above, left) and I chose the Chef’s Choice (€39 each), which meant we shared 11 small dishes. We were sat at the bar, which provided a lovely, bird’s-eye view into the theatre of food preparation. I ordered an unusually cloudy glass of Tenute Dettori Blanco Romangia (a fruity white wine with a hint of honey). The waitress told me with glee that it isn’t filtered at the vineyard, hence its cloudiness. It was these little anecdotes about everything we consumed that made the meal special and really interesting.
We started off with a plate of onion bread and homemade whipped butter – delish. Then we ate some Baked Quinoa Bites with Carrot and Truffle – colourful and tasty. Given the fact fish is my favourite food, I enjoyed the Cured Mackerel, Elderflower, Melon and Ponzu.
After these light bites we began to move onto more hearty offerings. Next up was a Fermented Potato Farl, which had an unusually delicious, chewy tartness, with a side of Shredded Cabbage and Bacon Moose. Again, we were served this with a story from the chef – his grandmother regularly cooked bacon and cabbage for him when he was growing up, so he took that nostalgic meal and gave it a contemporary gastronomical makeover.
Next, we were served something of a spectacle. The chef glided over holding an old wine box which had smoke oozing out its cracks. “I’m smoking your salmon in here,” he proclaimed before opening it to reveal our next dish, surrounded by smouldering straw. A perfect Snapchat moment! The salmon tasted rich and almost creamy.
There was a bit of a break between our next few dishes, which worried William. “Is that it?” he asked nervously. Luckily, it wasn’t. We munched on two more main plates, one included Suckling Pig, Pesto Gnocchi and Pistachio – a fantastic combination. At this stage, we were well and truly satisfied, but obviously had room for dessert. We decided to split a White Chocolate, Yoghurt, Almond and Dill jar of deliciousness.
Overall, Forest & Marcy was a stunningly delicious and interesting experience. I’ll be back again for sure. If I had to say something bad, it’s that they don’t serve coffee. I do adore a little espresso after a meal, mainly to rouse me out of the inertia from eating too much.