Temple Garner’s fabulous suburban hotspot has a new chef, writes our critic, who was eager to sample his menu
The rise of the local restaurant has been greatly helped by the pandemic, with so many working from home and socialising locally. The neighbourhood dining scene also had a boost in standards in recent years with aspiring chef-patrons, who, unable to afford city-centre rents, brought their talents to the suburbs instead, offering food more akin to Dublin’s Golden Mile.
In 2018, Temple Garner took over Seapoint Restaurant in Monkstown Village, turning it into Bresson, an upmarket, fashionable French restaurant. Garner is a formidable chef; not a man of many words, but one who knows his own mind and gets on with it. He’s always been involved in the city’s high-end restaurants, from winning Dublin’s first Bib Gourmand at the iconic Mermaid Cafe on Dame Street, to partnering with Ronan Ryan when the duo took over the then Mitchell’s Cellars and set up the restaurant of its time, Town Bar & Grill on Kildare Street. Here, billionaires, politicians and journos rubbed shoulders over Garner and Ryan’s New York-style Italian fare. Ryan now has the terrific Le Comptoir in Donnybrook.
Bresson has gone from strength to strength since opening, with Peter Byrne recently settling in as executive chef and Darren Campbell, ex The GreenHouse, taking his place on the floor as manager.
Byrne trained at Chapter One under Ross Lewis and Garrett Byrne (Byrne is now of Campagne in Kilkenny) before being chosen by Gordon Ramsay for his restaurant at the then Ritz-Carlton at Powerscourt. He also worked with Graham Neville, now of Dax. So, it’s fair to say that Byrne runs with an impressive circle of high-end chefs, known for delivering on top-notch food that’s not necessarily pretentious, it’s more simple sophistication.
Dinner at €59.95 includes three courses, but you can also opt for just one or two.
As we perused our menus, treacle & Guinness brown bread, plus chicken fat & brown butter focaccia, with Cuinneog Farmhouse Butter, arrived, and they were eagerly devoured.
Starters included mushroom consommé, chicken oyster, foie gras parfait & brioche; while seared bluefin tuna was served Asian-style, with sesame, yuzu jelly, Castletownbere crab, avocado and dashi vinegar. Crispy veal sweetbreads featured too, with girolles, wild nettle and sauce vin jaune.
Mary kicked things off with Gortnamona goat’s cheese paired with baby artichoke, heirloom tomato, black olive and tomato essence, while I had superb terrine of Challans duck, rabbit & pistachio en croûte, with apricot and pickles.
Mains included pan-fried Clare Island salmon fillet with baby spinach, baby potato, samphire and langoustine bisque, while a 10oz Hereford prime striploin was offered French style, along with triple-cooked chips, watercress and Béarnaise.
Mary went ‘veggie’ with a fabulous cauliflower and almond tartelette with Roscoff onion, pressed potato and beurre noisette. Having loved it since they opened, I went for their classic Coquilles Saint-Jacques. A trio of gratinated Kilkeel scallops in a rich, tasty chaudrée of smoked haddock, Alsace bacon and brown shrimps, piped with pommes Duchesse, topped with leeks and Gruyère. They’re indulgent and always a winner.
To finish off, Mary had lemon parfait with burnt meringue, chocolate crumb and verbena custard, while I had the superb feuilles de brick-wrapped pear, with Crozier blue cheese and Waldorf salad.
There’s an extensive drinks list, with all angles covered from cocktails to fortified and dessert wines. There are Champagnes and sparkling wines to beat the band, plus half bottles of wine, which I always like to see. In addition, there are two dozen wines by the 150ml glass, plus non-alcoholic wines too. You can drink yourself from Bordeaux to Berlin, Lebanon, Mallorca, and the New World, but, since we were on the terrace on a glorious summer evening, we decided on a bottle of Château Sainte-Croix ‘Magnolia’ Rose Provence 2020 (€38), which brought our bill, with service, to €173.
Bresson, 4a The Crescent, Monkstown, Co Dublin.
Tel: (01) 284-4286, bresson.ie