A quiet sisterly catch up over Sunday roast in the opulent Seasons Restaurant of the five star Intercontinental hotel in Dublin 4 was just the right balance of traditional fare and sophistication delivered in exquisite surroundings.
Dining out on a Sunday is a treat in more ways than one. For me, it was a rare opportunity to round off an otherwise busy week involving work and evening toddlerhood activities, and to step away from the whizzing sounds of excited, yet exhausting play, and into the tranquil calming environment of what a 5 star establishment exudes in style and ambience. When my sister Denise asked that I join her for a Sunday roast in the Intercontinental, I immediately thought of my mother-in-laws mouth-watering roast dinners and how we regularly pilgrimage to her home in county Wicklow to enjoy such a traditional feast with all the trimmings, including the conversation. Seasons Restaurant artfully captured the simplicity of such traditional fare by allowing the food do all of the talking and diners can expect to be suitably enthralled.
From the warm and friendly greeting of our server Livia, to the soft harmonic tones of the live classical guitarist, the dining experience is stylish and charming with an old-school hotel glamour. Crisp white linens adorn the setting and the tableware is by Villeroy and Boch. The Food and Beverage manager David, explained that the premise for their Sunday Roast is simple, we offer ‘traditional food for family and friends to take the stress out of Sunday cooking so that you feel completely looked after in every way’. If Sunday is a day of rest, then we were afforded the most precious gift of unhurried quality catch-up time and delectable food offerings.
The Sunday roast menu is offered from 1.00pm to 4.00pm with a choice of any two courses for €35 and three for €40. The pricing is very reasonable given the high-end location and 5 star status of the Intercontinental hotel chain. This is a fine showcase of a traditional Sunday roast that respects the Irish palate through its commitment to using locally grown Irish produce and quality ingredients from Irish suppliers.
Do try and reserve a table by the large victorian conservatory window as it fills the space with light and affords a gorgeous view of the inner courtyard and gardens. Incidentally as we sat down, the sun decided to accompany our menu musings by shining a few isolated rays on the lush green planted areas to brighten up an otherwise drizzly and misty day.
Following a run down of the menu and our choices made, we were advised of the wine pairings by the friendly house Sommelier, Stephane, and enjoyed a glass of Chateau Jean Faux Sainte-Radegonde 2016 Sauvignon Blanc.
My starter of ‘lightly pickled and torched’ mackerel and a seaweed salad, tasted fresh and zesty with hints of Irish costal waters attributed to the foraged seaweed from Kilmore Quay in Wexford.The dish beautifully presented on a dark grey plate to enhance the colours of the dill emulsion. Denise ordered the marvellous Andarl Farm crispy pork belly served with an unusual accompaniment of calamari lightly deep fried and deliciously crispy. Other notable starter choices include the Burrata (a semi-soft Italian cows milk cheese), served with tomatoes, shallots, basil oil and grilled focaccia.
For the mains, we satisfied our inner carnivore by selecting the recommended meat courses of roast beef and saddle of lamb. Using premium cuts of striploin from McLoughlin Craft Butchers the roast beef is served with caramelised shallots, roast potatoes ‘crushed’ with horseradish, roasted root vegetables and the expected nod to the British tradition of a deliciously hearty Yorkshire pudding. The serving is plentiful and presented with flair and precision, allowing the flavours to come together and matched only by our enjoyment of an afternoons hearty conversation. The striploin was enjoyed with a Mondot, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2014, from the Bordeaux region.
The roasted saddle of lamb is named for master butcher Pat McLaughlin and served with roasted Rosemary Queen’s potatoes, a generous accompaniment of lush green peas, broad beans and a relish consisting of fresh mint and coriander nestled on each saddle. Order the meat medium rare for a succulent serving that falls away with each mouthful. The wine pairing of Domaine le Sang des Cailloux Vacqueyras 2016, an excellent Grenache and Syrah mix from the Rhône, was a fitting choice.
The service throughout was nicely paced and we rounded off our afternoon sharing each others desserts expertly created by Head Pastry Chef Orna Larkin. From the delightful Summer Berry Eton Mess, arranged with colourful edible flowers, figs and ‘meringue kisses’ served in a stunning vintage-hued china bowl, to the rich chocolate fudge ricotta bar and warm caramel sauce. We followed our desserts with coffee before retiring to the drawing room lounge.
Overheard in the neighbouring table to ours during the meal, an adult daughter suggests to her dad that, ‘it would be nice to do this once a month’. I wholeheartedly agree, as it is a truly relaxed atmosphere of calm and great food that will pique the curiosity of the more traditional customer and invite them away from their own ovens for an afternoon.
Live Classical Guitar by glennkristiansen.com
Executive Chef Alberto Rossi.
To book, see www.intercontinentaldublin.ie or call 01-6654000.
WRITTEN BY ÓRFHLAITH FLYNN