James Kavanagh went to the re-launch of Ranelagh restaurant Brioche, but does their new menu live up to it’s new reputation as your ‘friendly neighbourhood restaurant’?
Brioche in Ranelagh has undergone a make-over that kicks its fine-dining reputation to the curb, but the new menu its far from casual, says James Kavanagh.
You might have noticed giant white plates painted on walls all around Dublin city over the past few weeks. As days rolled on, ingredients were added to the plates, forming a very swish-looking advertising campaign.
It was created by Brioche, a new/old restaurant in Ranelagh. I say ‘old’ because it has actually been there a couple of years (although I’d never heard of it),
and ‘new’ because Brioche just went through a rebrand. The massive artworks were created in a bid to inject new life into the place and put the restaurant’s food front and centre. I RSVP’d ‘yes’ to the launch night to taste what the fuss was all about.
It’s not just the artwork that injects newness. Patron chef Gavin McDonagh has an admirable aim of choosing local produce where possible and, in his own words, wants to “shake off the formal dining” frills (old) Brioche had.
So, you won’t find a dress code or a waiting list – it’s all trés casual with a ‘neighbourhood restaurant’ vibe.
The place is situated down an avenue off the main street in Ranelagh. As a northsider, I always find visiting Ranelagh akin to going on a little holiday – it’s such a gorgeous, buzzy, little place.
Throughout our sitting, we were served three courses – which were actually the ones featured on the giant plates painted around the city.
The bread board at the beginning featured mini brioche loaves, which is something they’ve kept from their old menu. I’m glad they kept it; I adore brioche bread.
For starters, we had Beetroot with a Parmesan Custard. It also featured pickled cucumber which thumped the creaminess of the cheese. Dishes with ingredients that playfully fight against each-other is something Gavin wants to bring out in his new menus.
For the main show it was a Fillet of Beef with seasonal vegetables. Gavin told the room that if anyone wanted it cooked above medium, they could leave.
He also told us the beef came from the mysterious Lambay Island. It was lean, buttery in texture and flavoursome.
When Gavin popped back out and described the forthcoming dessert, I got nervous.
He said it was inspired by the Jaffa Cake, which, in my opinion, is the worst biscuit of all time.
However, the desert may have been inspired by one, but it thankfully didn’t taste like one. It was a neat, rectangular piece of chocolate cake with crunchy orange bits at the bottom.
It had murmurings of Terry’s Chocolate Orange, which is one of my favourite combinations of orange and chocolate flavours.
With each dish, we were poured a complimenting glass of wine and told a story about it.
I think all waiters should tell little stories about the food as wine as you receive it – it makes the experience so much more special.
The new/old Brioche is open for business and is a lovely update of Ranelagh’s gastronomical map.
Also, someone Snapped me a photo of their brunch recently, saying it was delish. So there you go, it’s not just somewhere for dinner.