There is nothing that gets me more excited or tells me more about a chef's ability that a menu. Seems like an obivious thing to say but the art of writing a great menu is not a simple one and many great chefs have fallen at this first hurdle. In my humble opinion the key is simplicity and any understating on a menu is good thing as there is nothing worse than reading a menu with 100s of ingredients per dish. There is nothing worse than becoming dizzy as you stare at a billboard size piece of card with the chef's life story spread out in front of you. All I want is 5 starters, 5 mains and a few desserts thrown in to keep everybody happy but you will find that it is only chefs with the utmost confidence in their ability that can pull this off!
It was business that brought me to Town bar and Grill on Kildare street this week and not being a huge fan of basement restaurants I wasn't expecting much. Turns out my doubts were misplaced as the atmosphere and ambience in the room were excellent and i suppose one shouldn't expect anything less from a premises that used to house Mitchell's wine merchants.
After walking through the door four things happened in succession which are remarkably simple but are often neglected by restaurants thus setting a bad precendent for the rest of the meal; First my jacket was removed and taken for safekeeping in the cloak room, we were then swiftly brought to the table, offered drinks, brought a menu and served warm bread. Now you can leave me sitting for 20 minutes after you have done that without even looking in my direction and I would be perfectly happy but as it happens the efficient staff were back topping up water and taking orders as soon as we looked ready.
The menu was faultless with simple choices at at 22.95 excellent value for lunch. The chef had kept everything simple and without creating any fuss had designed an apetizing and elegant menu. I went for the Carpaccio of Tuna to start which was perfectly acceptable without being outstanding and followed it with a "10oz Ribe eye steak with mash, greens and herb butter" which did exaclty what it said on the tin.
The only other blemish on an otherwise enjoyable lunch was one waitress pouring me flat water followed by fizzy water, followed by flat water into my fizzy water! That just took the service level from a 10/10 to a still (or fizzy) respectable 8/10.
All in all a decent meal
Town Bar and Grill
Friday, February 1, 2008