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Fine dining is just Pichet perfect at pop-up project

WITH so many new openings this year there has been less time to cover the pop-up restaurant scene in Dublin which is small but thriving.

On the slim possibility that you are unfamiliar with the concept, the clue is in the name. Pop-up restaurants "pop-up" for just one or two nights and generally serve a set menu in an unfamiliar location such as a run-down warehouse (eg Sett Food Club) or even a home (I hosted one for Sabores de Mexico earlier this year).

Not everyone likes the concept as there is rarely any choice of food, the venue is rarely comfortable, and you are liable to end up with mismatched cutlery. But if you are looking for a break from the norm, then it can be a beautiful fleeting foodie adventure.

My guest last Saturday was a restaurant-fiend friend, who we shall call M, for she has as little patience with shoddily prepared food as the other M has with shoddily prepared secret agents.

UpDn Events is the brainchild of Stephen Gibson and his team at Pichet on Trinity Street, which we reviewed favourably here last July.

Their first pop-up event was upstairs in a building on Drury Street near the junction of Fade Street and was billed as a "homage to the season". There was no sign of Nick Meunier (Gibson's partner in Pichet) but it was clear this was going to be a high-end event with an attractive room and decent wine glasses.

Dressing

The meal began with an amuse bouche of deep-fried arancini risotto balls filled with butternut squash, followed by an immaculately conceived consomme containing baby girolle mushrooms and a slice of (rather disappointing) sourdough bread smeared with foie gras.

Delicate seabass sashimi with a soy and lime ponzu dressing and wafer-thin slices of pickled radish followed, and the second fish course was a perfectly caramelised scallop with melting oxtail, (cold) pureed potatoes and a horseradish foam.

It wouldn't be a pop-up restaurant without a little theatre and the highlight was venison and beetroot burgers on 10ft-long silver planks with bowls of crispy allumettes pommes frites (which M hated and I liked). The final meat course was a ham-hock terrine with a slice of guinea fowl, Jerusalem artichoke curls, lardons and a scotch quail's egg.

DELIGHTFUL

Dessert of lemon mousse cannelloni with blackberry sorbet, lemon curd and blackberry jelly was followed by a second dessert of milk chocolate pannacotta.

This was a delightful evening with lovely autumnal flavours and a sparkling atmosphere and although the food was not perfect, it very nearly was.

The next UpDn Event is 'Homage to the Pig' on November 25 in the Ormond Wine Bar on Ormond Quay, when both lunch and dinner will be served with tickets at €60 per head.

Parlour Games Pop-Up Restaurant in aid of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland, Saturday, November 3. Location: Portobello, Dublin 6. €50 per head. Email: portobelloparlourgames@gmail.com


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