Pielow's is a discreetly located, new, smallish restaurant in a first-floor premises, which formerly housed a Chinese restaurant, in Cabinteely village. Even though it hasn't advertised its presence, it appears word has spread, and devotees of new owners Colin and Teresa Pielow's classic cuisine have filled the tables.
Best, perhaps, to start at the beginning of the Pielow story. Twenty years ago, the Pielows had a very popular restaurant, Curtlestown House -- in what we might call the outback of Enniskerry, out the road -- and a wine shop in Enniskerry itself.
They then upped sticks and headed for the outbacks of Cobh -- or Rushbrooke, to be precise, with a very nice restaurant and guest house.
Having stayed there for six years, they took off in search of further adventure, this time to South Africa, with a little restaurant and a small vineyard in the Tulbagh Valley of the Cape winelands.
While they loved South Africa, and they retain the vineyard, their restaurant lease was up. So they came back to visit Enniskerry, where they still had a home, spotted the vacant premises in Cabinteely where Colin's uncle also has a gardening shop -- so now we have Pielow's Restaurant, 2011 style.
The Pielows have a knack of adding a comfortable, welcoming ambiance to any of their enterprises, and this first-floor room is no different. There is a certain feel of almost being in someone's home -- food and wine books, decanters and other vinous artefacts on the shelves -- walls lined with paintings, and Colin and Teresa drifting in and out. It's all very relaxed.
At one stage, Colin was talking so long to one group that I said to my pal, Rena, "Who's cooking our dinner?"
I needn't have worried -- it was delicious.
The menu is very well priced, with starters generally at €6.95. They included chicken liver pate with Cumberland sauce, while a tomato, basil and mozzarella tart was served with mixed leaves and olives. I had very good tiger prawns (€6.95) deliciously sauteed in garlic butter with Thai spices, and lots of lovely lemongrass surrounding a central fluff of greenery. Rena had an excellent layered tian of avocado and tandoori chicken topped off with an 'icing' of dill and lemon mayonnaise.
Now, if they can produce nice starters like that at €6.95, why can't others?
Mains, €16.95-€21.95, included boeuf bourguignon; roast pork belly with apple and cinnamon compote; red salmon en croute with a dill cream sauce; confit duck legs with red onion marmalade; sirloin steak; pan-fried pigeon breast and pheasant -- game in season will always feature with Colin Pielow.
We both went for specials of the day. Rena had delicious pan-fried sea bass (€19.95) with a dash of black olive tapenade and surrounded by a drizzle of basil pesto, while I had a perfectly cooked wild mallard (€21.95) served with red cabbage.
A lovely, big homely dish of green beans and dauphinoise potatoes accompanied the mains.
Puddings (€5.95/€6.95), included classic blueberry and almond clafoutis; chocolate pots with boudoir biscuits; and strawberry pavlova, over which a group of Foxrock ladies were oohing and aahing.
Rena had rumtopf (€6.95), a whacking great sundae dish of marinated berries in Jamaica rum, while I had a cheese plate (€8.95), which had five Irish and French cheeses including Camembert, Brie, Milleens, Gubbeen and Dubliner, and mixed olives -- excellent.
With a bottle of their own Pielow's Shiraz 2008 from the Tulbagh Valley at €21.95, our total bill with optional service, which was charming, came to €103.
"I'm going to work my way through this menu," came a voice from a neighbouring table of Enniskerry folk -- Pielow's is the perfect neighbourhood restaurant.
4 Village Centre, Cabinteely,
Tel: (01) 284-0914
Sunday Indo Life Magazine