Tucked into lush St. Stephen’s Green, Restaurant FortyOne uses locally sourced ingredients to create award winning Irish cuisine with French influence
As our taxi pulled up to Restaurant FortyOne, I wasn’t sure we had actually arrived. What I saw in front of us, was a Georgian style row home, laced with plants and flowers on it’s facade. But no we were in fact here. At the edge of St. Stephen’s Green, one of Dublin’s best and oldest parks that opened back in 1880, sat the private Residence members only club, where we would be dining at their Restaurant FortyOne. I was absolutely charmed by its modest elegance and the building’s personality..we couldn’t wait to see what this Irish gourmet venue had to offer.
The building that stood before us was full of character. Restaurant FortyOne is in a little Georgian townhouse that models a dashing blend of period style and modern detail. Vines wandered freely over the seasoned brick and planters with delicate flowers lined the windows. I was convinced that the building was someone’s residence, but it was actually a private residence members’ club – we felt instantly fanciful and Chris wished he were wearing a tweed jacket to feel the part.
We met a kind hostess in the foyer, who took our coats and umbrellas and led us up red-carpeted stairs to the dining room. While we followed her we admired the bits of modern art that garnished the walls. The design of the Georgian-style dining room was almost entirely embellished in shades of gold, save for the large, striped fuchsia pillows on the chairs. We settled into our table, which was cornered cozily beside large windows that flooded the space with natural light. Although Restaurant FortyOne is a fine dining spot, white pressed tablecloths and all, the team make you feel instantly at home, while completely avoiding pretension and arrogance.
An Award-Winning Team
Head Chef Graham Neville received his formal culinary education at DIT Cahthal Brugha Street and furthered his studies in Chicago, where he shifted his focus to progressive French cuisine. Chef Neville fused his knowledge to create the inventive menu at Restaurant FortyOne, which he describes as modern Irish with classical French influence. Chef Neville’s dishes focus on locally sourced Irish ingredients, many of which come from his own garden in the coastal town of Killiney, South Dublin. We watched his bright blue eyes light up as he told us about his close relationships with the local farmers and suppliers. After hearing about the restaurant’s commitment to organic and quality ingredients, we understood that there was so much more to Restaurant FortyOne than just talent. The restaurant is fueled by passion, too!
Chef Neville’s team balances an expert yet laid back demeanor that institutes a noticeably comfortable environment. It’s no surprise that the passion and skill behind Restaurant FortyOne has lead to handfuls of awards, almost on a monthly basis! Restaurant FortyOne has won Best Restaurant of the Year and Best Chef in multiple publications, amongst many other awards.
The Local Cuisine
We decided to leave our culinary fate in the hands of Chef Neville, and we’re so glad we did! He started us with perfectly seared scallops and firm, flavorful heirloom tomatoes paired with dry champagne. The garden freshness was obvious in the delicate texture and taste of the tomatoes. Our next dish was pan-fried turbot with asparagus in a cream sauce, which was like upgraded comfort food as it complimented the rainy day. Our tastebuds were definitely doing the happy dance. Afterwards, we indulged in a modern spin on Irish chicken potpie. The medley of flakey crust, creamy mashed potatoes, and savory gravy was utter heaven, and the richness was balanced nicely by a light pinot noir. We completed our meal with an Irish cheese plate, which had a wide variety of flavor intensities and textures.
The remarkable thing about Chef Neville’s cooking style is that it doesn’t rely too heavily on butter or cream. Instead, he hones in on the natural juices and textures of vegetables and fruits to satisfy guests in a healthy manner. We even realized that by the end of our nearly four-hour meal, we still felt light and energized! Every minute of our dining experience at Restaurant FortyOne was a total flavor journey. We gained some insight on the nature of Irish food, while enjoying the artistic variations of a chef who really cares about quality.
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