Why wait till Mother's Day in March? Lizzie Gore-Grimes picks five fab spots to make a fuss of your mamma.
From the minute you walk in the door at Brioche, into the little snug bar with its pot-bellied stove in the corner, small selection of high stools and cosily lit atmosphere - you know you've made a good choice. Chef/owner Gavin McDonagh's impressive culinary CV lists stints in Michelin-starred l?Ecrivain and Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud as well as other highly regarded kitchens across the UK, France and Germany. His cooking style is fine dining but without the pomp and ceremony. His ingredient sourcing is impeccable and presentation on the plate even more impressive. Dishes such as Crab ravioli, lemon gel, cucumber, samphire and dashi and Pickled Jerusalem artichoke, root vegetables and black olive crumb with violet potatoes - give you a flavour for his inventive use of seasonal produce and imaginative flavour combinations. The extra bonus here too, is the dining room, which is cosy and intimate without forcing you to sit on your neighbour's knee. The staff are friendly and it manages to feel special without the self-conscious fuss.
51 Elmwood Avenue Lower, Dublin. 01 497 9163; Brioche.ie.
The Marker Hotel
If you're looking for a light bite - chef Gareth Mullins Nutrimenu at The Marker Bar might be just the one for you and your mum. Sitting in the sunlight-washed lobby, you can polish your halo while you enjoy one of his attractively presented Nutriboxes ??a bentobox that comes with clear soup, a salad, 100 grams of protein (maybe a beef stir fry or turkey and cashew dish) and a raw juice. You also get a little dark chocolate paleo ball for after too. For something more substantial, but still sin-free (ish), there's the Nutri Burger - to include a top quality Irish beef burger, gluten-free boule, red cabbage slaw, guacamole and baked sweet potato fries. Guilt-free gourmet in a glam setting - we love it.
Grand Canal Square, Docklands, Dublin 2. 01 687 5100; themarkerhoteldublin.com.
Everything about Avalon exudes grown up comfort and ease ??from the warm welcome of owner Sheeran Wilde (former Maitre d? of the Wild Goose Grill in Ranelagh) to the finely crafted food on the plate. Chef Eamonn Connors has serious culinary kudos (having head cheffed at Dillingers, The Butcher Grill, 777, The Old Spot and more) and at Avalon, he's taking things up another notch. Dishes such as Heritage carrots with Avocado, preserved lemon Chermoula, Cashews, Cumin, Glenillen yoghurt come out looking like an artist's Turner prize-winner. The dining room, above Donnybrook Fair, is plush with starched linen and gleaming glassware, the music is low-key and the staff are attentive - making it a top spot for a bit of mum spoiling.
Avalon, 89 Morehampton Road, Donnybrook, Dublin. 01 614 4849; avalonrestaurant.ie
Having attended a recent Irish Food Writers? Guild meeting and dinner in The Fitzwilliam Hotel, I was reminded what a great venue it is. Central, stylish and incredibly inviting, this is a top spot to spoil your mum. If you're going all out - you've got to treat her to dinner in Kevin Thornton's. He may have lost his (Michelin) star last year, but Kevin remains one of Ireland's most creative and talented chefs, regardless of what the French tyre-folk say. But if your budget doesn't stretch that far, chances are she'll get a kick out of the ?Nostalgic Dining? menu at Citron. Here chef Philip Mahon, has created an ode to the 70s and 80s with a menu that boasts stacks of familiar dinner party favourites. Get ready for a new take on crispy pancakes (braised beef pancake with almond mayo and?cress) prawn cocktail (tiger prawns served with?tomato jelly,?charred lettuce, and Marie Rose) and chicken vol au vents (my secret guilty pleasure!).
128 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2. 01 478 7000; fitzwilliamhoteldublin.com.
The Seafood Bar by Wrights of Howth, Dawson Street
It's had more new looks than Madonna but the former La Stampa space on Dawson Street still has to be one of the most impressive dining rooms in Dublin. The impressive, almost Versailles-inspired room, has played host to many well-known chefs over the years including Paul Flynn, Jean Christophe Novelli and Conrad Gallagher to name but a few. Since November of last year, the place has been taken over by fish-loving family Wrights of Howth - and now boasts an impressive Seafood Bar with oyster counter, complemented by high marble topped tables and bar seats. The opulent mirrors, chandeliers and intimate booths of yore remain and continue to make this a brilliant spot to watch and be watched, while sharing a Seafood Assiette perhaps (Giga Sligo oysters, smoked salmon, dressed Kilmore Quay crab, Dublin Bay prawns). Yum. The Funky Fish cocktail lounge to the rear, with its velvet-draped entrance, adds an extra layer of Hollywood glam to the evening.
35 Dawson Street, Opposite The Mansion House, Dublin 2, Ireland. 01 531 2260;