Reviews & Testimonials
Paolo Tullio - The Irish Independent 02/11/13
I’ll tell you right at the start – I’m a fan of Marco Pierre White. I’m a fan not only because I like his approach to food and cooking, but also because he happens to be a really nice bloke.
A few years ago, I had a delightful dinner in his company at his first Irish venture – the steak house in Dawson Street. This was a joint venture with the Fitzers group and it’s still going strong. The marriage must be a good one, because they’re still together and they’ve begun a new venture in Donnybrook in The Courtyard.
The Courtyard is a big space with plenty of tables both inside and outside. By all accounts, the official opening was one of the best-attended openings in Dublin for years, with Marco on hand to charm everyone who was there.
The brother-in-law, Chris de Burgh, was there with daughter Rosanna and, the next day, he was on the phone to me saying that we needed to go together.
So that’s what we did. We arranged to meet there on a midweek night and, just as I was arriving, I got a call from Chris telling me two things. First, he was held up for ten minutes or so and, second, that we had a third person joining us.
“A surprise,” said Chris. The surprise turned out to be old friend Murrough Kavanagh and he was already at the table when I arrived.
Being a big space, The Courtyard gives you plenty of room between the tables, so we had a sense of privacy and Murrough and I chatted happily until Chris joined us.
The menu comes on a large sheet of card and it’s divided up into sections: hors d’oeuvres, steaks, grills and roasts, fish and side orders. The hors d’oeuvres, or starters, range in price from €6.95 for soup to €14.95 for a prawn cocktail.
The steaks run from €26 to €34; the grills from €17.95 for a burger to €29.95 for a veal entrecote, and the fish dishes run from €24.95 for a fish pie to €40 for black sole. You can see that in each case the prices are a few euro more than you normally find, so I was curious to see would the meal live up to the price.
Chris picked up the wine list and after a little while said, “How about a Malbec?” I had a few smashers this year and, unhesitatingly, said yes and so did Murrough. I took the wine list and had a look. There are only two wines under €30, one red and one white.
Twelve whites and nine reds are available by the glass, ranging in price from €7.50 to €15. Again, these are higher prices than you’d normally find, but I’d balance that against a good selection of wines from very good suppliers. The Malbec was €40, and we also ordered three glasses of the rosé from Chateau Haut Rian at €9 each. My dining companions, who had the luxury of being driven home later, also managed four gin and tonics between them, while I heroically stuck with the sparkling water.
Both Chris and Murrough chose the same starter, the foie gras with a duck egg served on brioche. I chose something a little lighter, the asparagus served simply with a drizzle of Hollandaise. The foie gras looked well on the plate, a circle of brioche topped with a fried duck egg and the foie gras placed on top of that. Both of these dishes were well prepared and tasted good.
For mains, we’d all ordered something different. Chris had chosen the chicken Kiev, Murrough chose the black sole and I chose the steak tartare.
When I asked how they presented it, I was told, “We bring it already mixed and prepared.” That may well please many people but, for me, half the enjoyment of a steak tartare is mixing it. I asked if they would let me do my own blend and they happily agreed, so I got the minced fillet, egg yolk, capers, chopped onions, mustard, chilli and olive oil and I set about making my perfect tartare.
Meanwhile, Chris said his chicken Kiev was making him nostalgic, while Murrough said his sole was “really fine”. For sides, we ordered creamed spinach, Savoy cabbage and onion rings. Of the three, the onion rings were truly memorable.
We did manage a couple of desserts, the sticky toffee and the Eton mess. I can’t help it, every time I see Eton mess I find myself saying, “Eton mess is soon forgotten”. I took my espresso outside where you’ll find comfy sofas and armchairs set out on carpet, making it feel very cosy.
6/10 value for money
Lucinda O'Sullivan - Sunday Independent 29/10/13
The sometime enfant terrible of the kitchen, Marco Pierre White, breezed into town recently for the opening of his second restaurant in Dublin. Unlike many of the ventures by English celebrity chefs, MPW’s restaurant in Dawson Street, in partnership with the Fitzpatrick ‘Fitzers’ family, has proved a tremendous success. Now they are expanding to the ‘burbs, the posh D4 burbs of course, where the heart of Donnybrook village has seen the opening of a number of new eateries, as well as new shops, but I guess the arrival of MPW seals its status as a dining destination.
The location is the former Courtyard Restaurant, vacant for the past couple of years, which was best described as resembling an aircraft hanger. They have ‘cosied’ it up creating an almost Palm Court feel of a Victorian/Edwardian Brasserie. The ceiling has been lowered and embellished with stained glass panels, the central ‘swimming pool’ floor raised and covered with warm red carpet. Button back banquettes and curved booths surround spacious central tables and antique leather chairs, whilst the mahogany bar, which stood for many years in the Montrose Hotel, adds a focus to the room. Victorian palms and vast arrangements of hydrangeas hint of Downton.
“Affordable glamour” is Marco Pierre White’s motto for modern day dining and, with bustling immaculately attired waiters in attendance, it certainly adds to the atmosphere and occasion. There is no nonsense either when it comes to food – no twiddly bits or pointless poncey too clever twists on your plate. This is classical Franco British time immemorial food – Hors d’Oeuvre, Irish Hereford steaks, Grills & Roasts and Fish Mainboards – served in a traditional style.
Hors d’Oeuvre (€6.95 – €14.50) include fresh asparagus with Hollandaise; Baltimore mussels; smoked mackerel Branadade; Steak Tartare a L’Americaine; Foie Gras and duck egg en brioche; Carlingford Oysters et al. I went for the daddy of them all with the timeless irresistible Fanny Craddock creation of Dublin Bay Prawn cocktail (€14.50) which, whilst expensive, proves there is absolutely nothing to touch a chunky divine Dublin Bay prawn! Like a good Bond movie, age has not dimmed the prawn cocktail’s aura. In a tall Martini glass with shredded crispy Romaine, the chunky divine whoppers were bathed in Marie Rose sauce. Brendan’s chicken liver pate (€9.95), on the other hand was almost simple peasant style. It came in a little white dish topped with tiny soaked raisins in a Madeira jelly and two big slices of toasted rustic bread – no fuss – but confident and elegant in its simplicity.
Ribeye, Sirloin and fillet steaks, (€26-€34) can be had with Béarnaise, Bordelaise or Escargot sauces and are a big part of the scene here. However, you can also have a beefburger or honey glazed pork belly both under €20, as well as a classic fish pie, grilled tuna Italian style, chicken paillard. Roast rack of Wicklow lamb Dijonaise (€29.95) proved a guard of honour brace of perfectly pink double chops set between a dome of gratin Dauphinoise and a little copper pot of mint juices. Brendan’s beautiful tranch of grilled halibut (€27.95) reflected summer days in Provençe with herbs, cherry tomatoes, Balsamic and olive oil; it was topped with baby fennel, and served with a side order of delicious crispy frites (€4.95).
Puds (€8.95) again are classics including Apple Tarte Fine or rice pudding and raspberry. Again a Crème Brulee was a totally simple delicious classic. There are lots of cocktails to lead you astray and an extensive wine list from €28 – €250 but, with our more basic choice of three glasses of Sunbury Shiraz 2010 ( €9 each) and bottled water (€4.50), our bill with optional service came to €139.75.
Marco Pierre White returned his 3 Michelin Stars many years ago and got on with providing good food that the customers really like – is there a message here?
Reviewed by Justine (Ref: BH7F6W4) on Tuesday, 9 August 2016 at 07:33
Very impressed, food was excellent quality and so so tasty, professional staff and great service. Very comfortable seating and trendy but relaxing music. Excellent value for the standard of food. My new favourite restaurant, could not recommend highly enough!
Reviewed by David (Ref: BJ7GYPT) on Sunday, 7 August 2016 at 08:18
Ciara, Christavo and of course the wonderful piano player all deserve special mention. You offer a completely unique and wonderful experience to the customer. All take a bow we will definitely be back – again and again…..Thank you David.
Reviewed by (Ref: BW6ZWMH) on Friday, 5 August 2016 at 07:42
Fantastic service, very attentive staff. Lovely ambience. Will visit again.
Reviewed by Liz O’Sullivan (Ref: BVXAFQM) on Sunday, 31 July 2016 at 08:29
Jenny and Emile , are exceptional . They make us feel like family there . We have made Marcos home from home . We bring our family friends and business meetings to donnybrook very regularly, due these two wonderful staff we and our friends are wowed every time . Thanks to all . Liz and Suzi x
Reviewed by Aisling (Ref: BTG6GWH) on Sunday, 31 July 2016 at 10:01
Beautiful restaurant, great cocktails!
Reviewed by Ms. Moira McGuirk (Ref: BFKK92L) on Saturday, 30 July 2016 at 10:09
Our party had a wonderful evening, great food, attentive yet discreet service and very comfortable surroundings, we’ll be back!
Reviewed by Eimear (Ref: BVFGXQM) on Saturday, 23 July 2016 at 21:25
Fabulous night, we had had to cancel our booking for our anniversary a few weeks before. Our voucher was therefore out of date but it was still honoured. The food was so delicious, and the service was impeccable. I also really liked the way we had our own space, the tables weren’t squished together. Sometimes I feel when eating out that I’m dining with the people at the next table! We will definitely be back!
Reviewed by Gillian (Ref: BCGG6FH) on Saturday, 23 July 2016 at 23:46
Absolutely fabulous food, atmosphere and service, second time here and it certainly did not disappoint either time!!
Reviewed by Lorraine Heffernan (Ref: BKNG7QX) on Monday, 18 July 2016 at 15:41
Beautiful environment fantastic food and Robert our waiter was so professional ,and courteous and we will return for some jazz nights !!!! Overall a big hit, the courtyard is magic .Lorraine.