Salon des Saveurs

Joanna Schaffalitzky — 

I'm finally getting around to writing about my lovely evening in Salon des Saveurs with a group of food bloggers that happened back in November. Apart from the delicious food, my abiding memory of the evening was just how cold it was, there was a bitter wind blowing as I hurried from the Luas on Stephen's Green to the restaurant on Aungier's Street.

I was one of the first to arrive and was greeted by the girls from Simply Zesty, who were organising the evening. Soon we were joined by the other bloggers including Aoife from I Can Has Cook, Sarah from Cake in the Country and George from Not Junk Food.

We got a brief overview of our menu for the evening from the head chef; Matthew and we were also informed that we would be getting a matched glass of wine with each course. So began what became an evening of epic eating.

Our first course was a parsnip soup that had been flavoured with vanilla and was served with a langoustine. The soup was incredibly delicate in flavour and the amount that we had been given was just right, as I could imagine being irritated by the slight sweetness from the vanilla in a bigger serving. The langoustine was perfectly cooked and had been flavoured with truffle, which, to me, was a lovely finish to the first dish of the evening. Our matching wine for this course was a 2009 Lugana from Lake Gardia.

The second course of the evening was an incredibly rich, cured terrine of foie gras stuffed with oxtail. This came with all sorts of different things on the plate, apricot, grape, fried baby spinach and hazelnut aioli. The terrine melted in the mouth and really came to life when you added some of the accoutrements. I happily admit that I am a foie gras fiend and this dish was one of the best foie gras dishes I have ever had. The matching wine with this course was a 2007 Sauvignon Gewürztraminer from Alsace.

Our third course was a little hit and miss in my opinion. It was an asparagus risotto that was served with a confit of duck and arbafura broth. The risotto was delicious; it was everything you want a risotto to be, creamy and delicately flavoured with asparagus. The duck confit was also lovely, on its own, however, I felt that the confit overpowered the risotto so that the asparagus flavour was lost. The wine with this course was a 2009 Viognier from Vin de Pays.

The fourth course arrived and by now my eyes were starting to glaze over with all the food being put in front of me. This course consisted of a daube of beef, which melted in my mouth, and was served with a celeriac mousseline, little pearl onions, carrots, a parsley hollandaise and the most delicious reduction. This piece of meat looked like it was going to be hard work to cut but then I put my fork to it and it all just fell away. It was delicious. It was just a pity that this was the fourth dish we'd had, as I just couldn't finish it. The wine for this course was a Syrah Monastrell from Jumilla, Spain.

The final course of the evening was tasting of desserts and consisted of five different dishes: a chocolate brûlée, a spoon of lemon ice cream, a mini strawberry and rhubarb crumble, a square of ice lemon soufflé and a piece of spiced lemon cake. I'm afraid my picture is missing the ice lemon soufflé as I ate it before I remembered to photograph it! Personally I didn't like the chocolate brûlée or the lemon ice cream, as they were a bit too sweet for me, in fact the ice cream tasted just like lemon bonbons. I liked the strawberry and rhubarb crumble and the spiced lemon cake, but my favourite dessert was definitely the ice lemon soufflé and I could have eaten a lot more of that. On the whole I found the desserts a little disappointing when compared to the other courses, they were definitely the weakest part of the evening, which was a pity. There was a choice of two wines to go with dessert, a Coteaux du Layon from the Loire Valley and a Prosecco di Valdobbiadene from Italy. I choose the Coteaux du Layon but also got to taste the Prosecco of one of the other diners.

All in all it was a great evening and the food was delicious. I would definitely recommend it to people to visit. The only caveat that I would make would be that as Salon des Saveurs works with a series of set tasting menus, the whole table must order the same thing. This is fine if you are dining out as a couple or a small group, but I think it might be a little annoying if you were a group of six, if only in terms of coming to an agreement on what to have!

On the other hand the prices are very reasonable for a five course meal ranging from €29 to €59 a head. You can also add a glass of matched wine with each course for an additional charge. If you're feeling very extravagant or hungry there's an eight course menu for €79 available too along with an à la carte menu.

I will probably be back with the Beau in tow, if only to have another go at that daube of beef.


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