In our fair city, it is so rare and so difficult to be surprised by a dining experienced. Its common to be shocked or met with mediocrity, but surprise, particularly pleasant surprise is a rarity.
I dined with a friend last Thursday evening in Scott's on Caroline Street. I have eaten there many times before, so that in itself should indicate the tone and nature of the remaining paragraphs.
We were greeted by a friendly manager, who promptly advised us that there were no tables but one would be available shortly and suggested we have a drink at the bar. I turned to my friend in delight at the provision of actual customer service.
We were off to a good start. Having been served our drinks, we were directed to our table, so the wait was really insignificant. The menus were resting on our table ready for us to browse as was the table neatly set.
Scott's menu is an ease to the customer's mind. Simple, uncomplicated and catering for a broad range of tastes without being over ambitious. Plenty of seasonal fare was on offer, as well as some interesting seafood dishes, coupled well with time honoured classics like Fish and Chips.
We decided to order a main course, due to tight funds, even though Scotts really isn't very expensive. They do seem to cater for a wide budget range. Perhaps our Ministers could take a leaf out of their book.
I chose the braised lamb pie served with rustic roast potatoes, while my friend opted for good old bangers and mash.
We were given some delicious brown bread with butter while we waited for our order to arrive and after a reasonable wait, our dishes arrived. The server kindly informed me to be careful with my dish as it had been iin the oven. I said to my friend, "another good sign, it hasn't been microwaved". Countless times I've sent back nuked pies with flabby pastry sheaths, and to my utter euphoria, I heard that hollow, rough, scraping sound as I ran the back of my knife across the crust of the pie. The aroma that escaped its enclosure when I cut through the crust was one of the most homely, comforting scents I have had the pleasure to inhale. I could smell the lamb, the rich red wine jus and the seasonings. They literally sang in perfect harmony.
I decided I would leave the dish cool for a few minutes. It was after all sent from oven to table in a matter of seconds. Incidentally the timing skills on display by the kitchen and front of house was refreshingly precise.
My friend couldn't wait to dive into his combination of local sausages, champ mashed potato, onion gravy and crispy onion rings, which I thought was a nice clever touch and added a prettiness to the presentation of the dish as well as a new level of texture.
The sausages were perfectly cooked, seasoned and the mash was silky smooth, with little crunches throughout from the cabbage. The gravy was well flavoured and clearly made with a very good stock. Over all a classic dish, well executed with an Irish champ twist and a clever addition of crispy onion rings.
Back to the lamb pie, I took my first bite and the simplicity of the dish just allowed the lamb to really shine through as the star of the show. The red wine enhanced the flavour and the root vegetables in the jus complimented the dish perfectly. The pastry crust on top was crisp, buttery and inviting. The rustic roast potatoes were stunning and flavoured with a well thought out combination of seasonings. The skin was smile inducingly crispy.I could have ordered several helpings of those and would most likely have eaten the lot, but I may have needed a stretcher had I been that greedy.
I drank a glass of Cabernet Merlot from Chile as I recall, which really did lift the dish to a new level, that only a good choice of wine could achieve.
In conclusion the meal was very nearly flawless. The service was excellent, the food was divine and the atmosphere was buzzing. My one single criticism was the garnish on the lamb pie, a dessert spoon approximately, of chopped tomato and fresh herb salad. It was delicious on its own, however I felt it was a minor mistake to place cold salad on top of a piping hot pastry crust. The leaves wilted and lost their fresh flavour unfortunately. This is a very minor issue that really didn't have a negative impact on the dining experience. I do feel though that I need to point out anything I see as a mistake, however minor.
I thoroughly recommend Scott's to anyone looking for a relaxing meal, great atmosphere, friendly, efficient service and of course magnificent food.
Rating: 4/5 Excellent experience, just please dont put cold leaves on hot food. [@};-]
Scott's of Caroline Street - Review
Blog entry posted by ColleenDawnagh, Apr 18, 2009.