Last year the food was quite good - some dishes excellent, but some were forgettable. On this visit the food was more consistent, more polished and generally of a higher quality. The restaurant has a French bistro style. The dining room is busy and noisy with tables very close together. But the food, which is rooted in classic French, has moved on to be more than bistro food.
Chef Gavin Mcdonagh's dishes show balance and a good palate with some clever combinations of flavours. Celeriac soup was warming and was a good start to the meal on a cold end of winter evening. The apple and orange relish with a Pedro Jimenez reduction elevating it to a bit more than a just nice celeriac soup. A house cured salmon was enhanced with a bit of soya and wasabi. The best dish of the night was that of scallops - perfectly cooked and the slightly spiced cauliflower and orange worked excellently. The little touches that were added to all these dishes improved them and gave them a lift, but did not overtake the main ingredient and the classical heart of these dishes is still very much preserved. The meat main of beef with foie gras was about indulgent, big, decadent flavours. The airy chocolate mousse dessert was also of high quality and lighter than expected, served with very nice macaroons and a quality pistachio ice cream.
The service is still a bit of a let down though. Despite being mostly friendly and hospitable the servers don't seem to know the food very well. Also, if matching tasting wines are offered the waiting staff should be able to at least know the basics of the wines being served, like the grape variety. Value wise it is quite good for the five course €49 tasting menu, but the €35 for the matching wines probably wasn't worth it.
Brioche is a very nice neighbourhood restaurant and it is great to see a restaurant on the rise. Hopefully there is still some improvement to come.