The French restaurant Vie de Chateau is the 2012 winner of the ‘Best restaurant in Co Kildare’ by the restaurants association of Ireland. With that in mind, it’s Saturday night and we are lucky to grab a last minute reservation, we can’t be seated untill 9:15 because of the high demand which can only be a good thing.
We arrived promptly at 9:15 and were seated immediately, the restaurant was packed, the atmosphere was jovial, full of punters enjoying their Saturday night. Service was slow because the restaurant was so busy but we were eventually served baskets of crusty raisin bread which was delicious and hit the spot.
My starter was an incredibly tasty French fish soup with side dishes of grated gruyère, a rouille mayonnaise and small toasts. There was drama in the eating with picking and assembling from the various dishes to concoct the perfect bite. The taste was rich with a deep fish flavour - mayonnaise in soup you say? Apparently its a French thing, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it, its great! Other starters in the group included a confit duck tarte tatin that was dark with caramelised red onions and the crisp pastry brought another texture into play which enhanced the taste.
Mains were also French classics (obviously!) with 3 of our party opting for the Irish venison which was herb crusted and cooked rare. It was accompanied by a polenta cake and seasonal vegetables, the meat was tender and our whole party agreed it melted in your mouth. I had the pan fried fillet of sea bream with a leek fondue. The leeks were creamy and buttery no doubt lashed with the French magic trick to make food taste amazing: butter! The fish was well cooked and tasty. Other mains included a slow cooked Moroccan lamb and steak frites both of which were faultless. The food is actually quite reasonably priced for such a high class restaurant but I do have a problem with the price of the wines, they offer a carafe of 50cl for €20 which is only two thirds of a bottle, some better value on the wines would be agreeable.
The chocolate fondant was the star of the desserts, intense chocolate flavour accompanied by home made caramel ice cream which complemented it beautifully. Mixed seasonal fruit crumble and a cheese plate were also satisfying. Overall it was a very positive experience and I will be back, dinner for 6 people including service charge was €314.