Bon Appetit in Malahide has been on my list of fancy-schmancy places to try out ever since Peter wrote a glowing review of his lunch there. So when they emailed us to invite us to try their family Sunday lunch on the house, I was very chuffed indeed. It’s a rare treat to be invited to a free lunch (when it does happen, we always disclose it in our review, and always write honestly about our experience). Having heard so many great things about Bon Appetit, I had a good feeling about this one.
I was accompanied on the day by our writer Julie, and we each brought a small girl/guinea pig to try out the kid’s menu. We all really, really enjoyed the lunch. Bon Appetit is a high quality, Michelin-starred restaurant, but the lunch was exceptionally good value - €24 for three courses for each grown-up, and children under 12 eat for free (to avail of this promotion you need to purchase two adult meals).
The children also get three courses, from a menu that is full of kid-pleasing fare like chicken nuggets, fish fingers and tomato pasta – but with an assurance that all food has been prepared from scratch in house. I generally discourage my small lady from choosing chicken nuggets as they’re usually so grotty, but these ones were clearly freshly homemade from quality meat, and were delicious.
The kids were happy out, and the adults were even happier with our slightly more sophisticated grown-up fare. Julie had a Caramelised Pear and Croissant Tart with Blue Cheese and Walnuts, and said it was absolutely delicious. I was tempted, but walnuts are my enemies, so went for the Chicken Liver Parfait with Brioche and Spiced Pear Chutney. It was really excellent and beautifully presented. I would have preferred slightly thinner and crisper bread myself, but really enjoyed the combination.
For our mains, we had Confit Duck Leg, Fondant Potato with Braised Red Cabbage (Julie) and Pork Belly with Glazed Carrots and Fondant Potato (me). We were also treated to a side of unbelievably creamy mash, and a dish of the fantastic Glazed Carrots which are clearly a speciality. Everything was wonderful, extremely rich and filling.
We were stuffed by the end of the main course but felt we should sample some desserts in the interest of Science. I’ve forgotten the exact name of Julie’s dessert, but it was spectacular: chocolate crumble with berries and a Frangelico foam. I nibbled at my beautifully light Lemon Cake with Lemon Curd and Vanilla Ice-Cream and kicked myself for not doing a 24 hour fast in preparation for the meal.
Our meal would have cost €48 for the food, which I think is fantastic value for a huge meal for four people that left me (at least) stuffed till bedtime. I dined that evening on a tiny bowl of pasta, feeling very delicate (conveniently overlooking the giant feast from earlier). The service was really good, attentive and friendly throughout (the waiter made the little ones giggle) but nicely informal; this is not a stuffy or uptight place where you would feel like it’s a risk to bring the kids.
And Malahide of course, is absolutely gorgeous. After lunch, we strolled down to the beach where the girls ran around, paddled, squealed at jellyfish and had funerals for dead crabs. It was a delightful afternoon. I think the family lunch at Bon Appetit is one of the best value treats out there: try it out, and tell us what you think.
Bon Appetit is on James’ Terrace, Malahide. They have quite a few good deals on: a six course Surprise Tasting Menu for €45 on Wednesdays and Thursdays; a three course early bird for €30 and an interesting-sounding series of evenings reproducing courses from El Bulli, Noma and The Fat Duck. Full details are on the Bon Appetit website.