Lunch is often eaten on the go. A quick plastic sandwich in plastic packaging, a bowl of soup, or a salad on the run. Occasionally, with friends and workmates in the pub or cafe.
But anybody who’s ever taken the afternoon off knows that a good long lunch, properly enjoyed, is one of life’s greatest pleasures. If it’s really good, it beats an evening meal hands down. And if it’s boozy, all the better.
A few weeks ago, I went to One Pico with a few friends for a midweek lunch. We were availing of the restaurant’s extraordinary €19.95 two-course/ €25 three-course lunch, which I can’t quite believe are still on offer.
I’m struggling to recall a better meal. The place was full of diners, who must have been here for this extraordinary offer: the atmosphere was electric and – shock horror – fun. The service was as professional and helpful as you’d expect from a restaurant of this calibre.
It’s pretty rare I get the chance to eat in such posh restaurants, although I once regretted an expensive, delicious, and thoroughly stuffy and unpleasant dinner in Dylan McGrath’s Mint, and I’ll eat in the Strawberry Tree whenever I get the chance (I’ve yet to try the pre-theatre in Chapter One or any of the other fancy restaurants our guest blogger Kirstie recommended).
The food at One Pico is impeccably presented, and tastes even more delicious than it looks. Our imaginative starters included a delicate, perfectly cooked smoked haddock brulee and a fish croquette with red pepper escabache and saffron mayonnaise. Both were delicious: a great marriage of textures and flavours.
But it’s the crispy pork belly – part of the €19.95 deal – which blew me away. This fizzes and crackles on your tongue before melting in your mouth and sending little tingles of sweet, savoury joy pulsing through my body. I swear, this dish made me shiver.
Then comes the piece de resistance: warm, gooey, sweet but not oversugared, oozing melting chocolate souffle. Everybody ate this dessert in a stupified, stunned silence.
Cheer yourself up with the best lunch deal in town. All the better if you’re unemployed or on short time: save up just €20 and have a long, lazy, and very happy lunch.
- One Pico, 5-6 Molesworth Place (off Molesworth Street), Schoolhouse Lane, Dublin 2. For reservations, call 01 6760300 or fax 01 6760411.