It’s only been open a wet week, literally, but Monkstown’s newest eatery, Bresson already feels like a long-established neighbourhood bistro. There’s absolutely no evidence of teething pain- quite the opposite, in fact. On night six, a weeknight, it was already packed to the rafters with well-heeled couples in search of fine steak frites- but this new restaurant delivers far more than that thanks to the dynamic duo behind it, chef Temple Garner (San Lorenzo, Town Bar and Grill) and Conor Kavanagh (The Old Spot). The same was true a week later.
The former premises of Seapoint have been pretty radically transformed design-wise, too, by O’Donnell O’Neill. The new look is decidedly less vanilla with a strong nod to classic French decor- brass, mosaic tiling, and of course, vintage posters but all the same it manages to avoid looking pastiche or formulaic. This isn’t a standard movie set. It’s got charm and no pretensions.
You enter directly into a well-accoutred bar area that we sense is going to be a hugely popular draw for locals. There are surprisingly few places in this area of SoCoDu where you can go for a proper cocktail- and these, I assure you are proper cocktails. It was hard to choose but bartender Stu Cullen recommended at least one of us try the Basilic Acide- heaven in a coupe or The Lumiere - Dingle gin with lime, chartreuse and elderflower liqueur so we got them both. Equally fresh and downright zesty, they set the tone for the evening beautifully while an excellent whiskey selection kept other members of our party happy.
Like Kavanagh, the bar manager, Graham Teeling, has come over from The Old Spot. There’s stiff restaurant competition on the Crescent (Avoca’s Salt, FX, 8A and soon, it is rumoured, a McKillen project), but this bar is a real point of difference. Don Draper would be happy perched there and you can bet so too will half of suburbia.
The food at Bresson is hearty, delicious and beautifully plated, as you’d expect from Garner- we felt virtuous ordering a light Salmon Tartare and a lovely Pear, Roquefort and Endive salad that perfectly balanced acids and sugars, crunch (endive) and softness (pear). Afterwards, duck a l’orange (with duck fat roasties and candied endive) won the popular vote over a delicate sea bass with calamari (which was a tad overdone) and an excellent Hereford steak, but only by a hair’s breadth. We were, incredibly, too stuffed for dessert but will remedy that next time- ginger creme brûlée beckons.
Word is that the next few weekends are already tightly booked (but remember 6 o’clock is the new 8 in terms of being able to secure a table virtually anywhere)- so head to Open Table ASAP.