The French Table, Limerick

French influences on the food served here in Ireland are pretty pervasive but it’s actually surprising how few restaurants are actually serving French cuisine as opposed to just using the techniques pioneered there. I can only think of three (L’Gueuleton, Chez Max, Les Frères Jacques) in Dublin so I was looking forward to dining somewhere I could eat some proper Gallic bistro fare.

We arrived at around 1.30pm and had no problem getting a table; the lunch menu seems to be somewhat  aimed at the surrounding offices so we decided to order a la carte as there was a much better range of dishes on offer. For starters, we both chose the same thing: suckling pig with bramley apple purée. This was excellent with a large round of shredded braised pork that had been fried until lovely and crispy with a cold apple sauce; it may have been simple but it was really well executed.

To follow, I ordered the braised veal mustard with white wine cream sauce but only after enquiring as to whether the meat was of Irish origin: veal from the continent is often raised in pretty awful conditions that are illegal in this country. It’s pretty hard to get this sort of braise wrong but, still, the addition of the mustard was a great touch and meant the sauce had some zing preventing it from being too heavy. Pauline had the Toulouse sausage, confit of duck leg and pork belly which was sort of a cassoulet without the beans, the sausage in particular was very good but it could have done with some sauce to tie the whole thing together.

As the main courses were all accompanied by complimentary side orders of potatoes and vegetables (a tad overcooked for my liking) we were quite full and decided to skip dessert but there were some lovely sounding crêpes that we probably would have ordered if we’d had room. For drinks I had two glasses of fantastic petit verdot by the name of Les Hauts de Median (€5.50) and Pauline had an excellent Chablis, Domaine Droin (€8.00), which had enough depth to stand up to her substantial main. Service was very pleasant with the chef even bringing some of the dishes to the table and the total bill, not including tip, was €68.

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