Recently I was invited to the hot new place in town, Balfes on Balfe Street, (because of the name, you see!).
A happy hybrid of New York and Parisian brasseries, Balfes is garnering rave reviews from foodies, with brunch taking specific glory mentions from reviewers.
I brought my family (a coterie of Balfes?) along for dinner to try it out. First impressions were impressive; the place has a lovely buzzy vibe with very welcoming staff - you know the kind where you'd almost invite them to sit with you they seem so nice!
To start I had Gambas with harissa; they were firm and tasty with the harissa dip adding a gorgeous kick. Other Balfes had the Castletownbere crab cocktail with avocado and granny smith apple, which was polished off so quickly I can only presume it was delicious - they certainly weren't sharing. The grilled chicken salad with guacamole, sweet piquillo peppers, baby gem and coriander was also praised highly (but not shared either!)
We went for a mix of mains; I chose the 10z aged rib of beef with caramelized onions, grilled flat cap mushrooms, home cut chips and b?arnaise sauce, which was simply sublime - the meat had great flavor and texture and the classic combo of steak, mushrooms and onions was most pleasing on a cold wintery night.
The Roast whole sea bream with caper and tomato salsa was a crowd pleaser to say the least, the presentation purely gorgeous but nothing compared to the taste. Comments of nominating this dish to that of ?best meal ever? status were made, and not made lightly.
Another seafood choice was the Seafood skillet with salmon, cod, cockels and mussels in white wine cream sauce which is what I'll be having next time I go back as my efforts to steal forkfuls were denied on each approach.? A bottle of Fortant Merlot, €30, was the perfect accompaniment.
Desserts for our crew consisted of mixed berries with Champagne sabayon, which to you and me is a creamy, sweet, custardy concoction that is not unlike cr'me caramel, but a good bit nicer. I had the chocolate fondant with almond ice cream which was suitably gooey and rich. A cheeseboard and round of espressos sent us off full, warm and happy into rainy night.
Balfes is a great place, which I predict this Balfe (and her relations) will re-visit time and time again.
(in fact, as this post goes live, the whole of IMAGE are on their way there for our Christmas lunch. Cheers! *clink)