The Buckley family’s fab FXB Steakhouses may not be seating diners but they do have a superb meal kit for two
Perhaps it was because my mother was raised as a farmer’s daughter on the lush green lands of Co Kilkenny that her ethos regarding food was very high. Lamb, beef and poultry were raised on the farm, apples came from their orchard, vegetables were grown in the kitchen garden, geese were raised for Christmas, and so the annual cycle went on.
When she moved to Dublin and married, she was a discerning shopper. I particularly remember her being ultra finicky about where she purchased her meat. She would watch the butcher like a hawk to make sure that it was her piece of chosen beef that went through a mincer or that the sirloin roast had a good piece of fillet attached.
One of her favourite butchers was FX Buckley, then on Chatham Street, combined with a visit to Sawers, the fishmongers just beside it, and then up to the legendary upmarket food store Smyths of the Green, which had a uniformed doorman, and offered exotic things like candied sweet potatoes in tins.
Since 2002, Des Buckley and his sons Stephen and Brian — fifth and sixth generation father-and-son trio — have led the charge at FXB’s with their impressive restaurant portfolio of steakhouses and bars now including branches in Pembroke Street, Monkstown, Crow Street, Parkgate Street, and the Bull & Castle at Christchurch, and a more recently established Victualler and Grocer opened by Stephen beside the flagship Pembroke Street restaurant.
At the Pembroke Street restaurant, starters include oysters, foie gras, scallops, devilled lamb kidneys, ballotine of rabbit, and cocktails galore. Naturally, being masters at meat, you won’t find a wider selection of high-end steaks, with fillets, rib-eye, sirloin and rump, ranging from 8oz up to whopping 22oz rib-eye on the bone.
For two people, you can have a superb Chateaubriand, a 16oz fillet of beef; or a Porterhouse — which is a double-cut T-bone — both options are €80.
Right now, of course, we can’t enjoy these treats at their restaurants but the good news is they’ve recently launched FX Buckley at Home, a two-course meal consisting of their Porterhouse steak for two with sides and a dessert at €75.
On a recent Friday night, I decided to try it out, designating my son Aidan as officer-in-chief to the stove. It says it’s for two but we had it comfortably between three. Very clear instructions are given; I think the most important thing to remember is not to overcook it.
Aidan began by heating up the Le Creuset grill pan until he had to open the front door due to all the smoke that was accumulating, then he lashed on the steak until it was well seared.
He removed the meat, heated up the pan again, and did the same on the other side. He then popped it in the oven for 10 minutes and it came out medium rare. Meanwhile, Bayveen and I had been heating the accompanying pepper sauce; the caramelised onions; sauteed chestnut mushrooms with spiced butter and wilted watercress; the creamed spinach with a Parmesan cream, and the big, chunky oven-baked chips. We also did a few skinny fries ourselves.
Cutting the sirloin and fillet into cross-section strips to share, Bayveen, who normally doesn’t like beef rare, was raving about it and I have to agree: it was delicious. We followed up with the sinful chocolate fondant desserts with honeycomb and clotted cream, which were a decadent delight and a perfect finale.
I’m already thinking of putting in a reorder for Easter Sunday, along with the superb South African Webersburg Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (€45), which is exclusive to FX Buckley restaurants. This was an exceptional year for this wine, which spent 30 months in French oak barrels, and is rich in red plum and dark berry aromas. The production was limited, so get it while you can.
Top-notch, trouble-free, and utterly comforting, pre-order 24 hours in advance. Available for collection from the Pembroke Street or Monkstown restaurants between 1pm-6pm on Friday and Saturday only.
To book, email email@example.com or tel: (01) 568-8087.