We start the evening with a glass of prosecco for the drinkers and a mocktail for me with an amuse bouche of foie gras mousse with Armagh cider jelly cubes, truffle foam and pain d'epices. Foie and truffle are such rich decadent flavours and they balance perfectly in this little cup. The crunchy pain d'epices adds great texture to something almost ethereal.
To the table where our first course arrives: Kilmore crab with apple, avocado, watermelon gazpacho with fine herbs. The crab lies in a puddle of gazpacho with batons of apple and avocado on top. More gazpacho sits on the side in a jug, for those who want more of the fresh and zingy liquid. The dish is light with enough crunch from the apple to counteract the soft sweetness of the crab. Our wine is one of my favourites : a Picpoul de Pinet from Le Caveau in Kilkenny, perfect with shellfish.
The second course is fish. John Dory with samphire, young leeks and sauce vierge. This is sublime : a tranche of perfectly cooked fish with crisp skin surrounded by lots of healthy greens and a very well made sauce vierge. Accompanied by a glass of Marlborough Pear Tree Sauvignon Blanc which has enough weight to complement the fish, I could happily eat this all day.
Rump of Wexford lamb is next. Perfectly pink and sliced thinly with baby courgettes, basil puree, dauphinoise potato and red pepper stuffed with Fivemiletown goats cheese. The lamb was perfectly cooked and was meltingly tender. As a non-lover of olives and peppers, I gave the tapenade and the red pepper a miss, but I did scoop out the goats cheese which was zingy and sweet thanks to a touch of honey. The wine was a Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Cote Chalonnaise from La Cave des Vignerons de Buxy, light enough for summer but robust enough for lamb.
Our final course was dessert : Iona Farm cherries poached in red wine with mascarpone, shortbread and white chocolate. What a pretty plate with juicy local cherries, silky mascarpone, crunch from the shortbread and just enough white chocolate to sweeten the deal. The wine was Alain Brumont Pays de Gascogne IGP Gros Manseng and was sublime with the butteriness of the shortbread.
This was an exceptional meal, showcasing Stephen and his team's talent and the great front of house staff. Remember, it's just minutes from Dundrum and Rathgar and I definitely think it's worth the detour.
The Arch Bistro, Landscape Road, Dublin 14, Ireland
Tel : +353 1 2966340
I was a guest of Stephen McArdle and The Restaurant Doctor at the launch of their summer menu. All opinions remain firmly my own.