Clanbrassil House: delightful plates with a casual vibe
Located on the eponymous street, Clanbrassil House is a small 25 seater eatery across the street from Bastible, one of our favourite restaurants in Dublin. When we heard about the opening, we were really excited to give it a try.
This casual restaurant is the brainchild of the Bastible team, who were keen to use the same ingredients which made the huge success of their first-born, an ingredient-led cuisine served in a relaxed atmosphere. CH comprises of two rooms, high tables and chairs at the front and normal bistro-style tables at the back, creating a more intimate atmosphere than Bastible.
When we sat down at the back, it was barely 5.30pm as the early bird advertised on the website runs between 5 and 6 pm. Eating so early is completely counter-intuitive for me but the value for this menu made me want to give it a go - that was a mistake, sitting down for dinner before 6 pm feels really weird!
We both got a glass of Douro wine from the short and fairly-priced wine list, making the choice easy. While Damien got the early bird - a set menu without options, I decided to go for the normal à la carte.
The first part offers small "plates", a combination of appetisers and entrees easy to share, while the main section focuses on a charcoal grill. Everything feels very seasonal, elaborate but in no way fancy.
We started with a couple of pieces of grilled sourdough, perfectly smoked trout and pickled cabbage, and some deliciously roasted leeks served with chopped egg, chicken skin, and a herb sauce.
Chicken, leeks and tarragon are an easy association of flavours yet the textures made it a truly interesting and tasty dish. A more rustic plate, the trout felt very fresh, almost raw, with a strong smokiness.
The early bird main was a middlewhite pig cheek sausage, serve on a lentil and mustard broth, right down his alley. I loved the homey taste of the broth, which reminded me of a pot-au-feu.
My butternut squash and goat’s curd ravioli, served with crispy sage leaves and pine nuts, didn't disappoint. The homemade pasta was perfectly cooked and didn't overcome the strong flavours of the creamy filling. I could have it every day of the week.
There is nothing as simple and delicious as a good chocolate mousse. My recipe only includes chocolate and eggs - no cream, butter or sugar - vanilla extract or a pinch of espresso powder if I feel like it.
Clanbrassil's chocolate mousse is rich, dark yet light and absolutely not sickening, nicely complemented by crunchy honeycomb and marmalade ice cream.
The carrot and hazelnut cake comes as a simple slice, spread with a creamy frosting. Good, with a lovely nutty addition, yet not out of the ordinary.
For one early bird menu, two plates, one dessert, three glasses of wine and coffee, the bill came to 73 euros, including unlimited filtered water - 80 euros with tip. While the plates and wine were affordable, the mains were on the higher part of the scale, mostly over 20 euros, which I find a bit excessive for a casual venue. I've complained about this before, but I guess I should get used to it if I ever want to go to a nice restaurant in Ireland again. After all, when the food is worth it, you have to pay for it.