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Review: Chez Max, Palace St, Dublin 2

Mimi et moules

With its candle-lit tables sitting snugly together, French décor and menus like period gazettes, Chez Max would be the perfect place to live out a dream of being a glamourous Resistance spy. Except with 80’s music blaring as you try to wedge your briefcase somewhere for Marcel to collect.

Music aside, it’s a lively and cosy spot to go when you’ve no intention of moving til the last bus. And it’s also interesting to see where the judges and barristers of the Mahon Tribunal racked up a bill of thousands for the taxpayer.

Myself and my friends Mimi and Fifi (indulge me) were starving, so we knew what we wanted immediately. Sticking with the 80’s theme, Fifi went for Orangina.  Mimi and I should have done the same as the House White was surprisingly disappointing for a French restaurant. The food was magic though.  I went for the Halibut Pave (€18.50). The crispy-skinned fish came on fried rice with pancetta, spring onions and roast tomatoes through it. The best part was the amazing butter &vanilla sauce which lit the whole thing up.

Mimi opted for the delicious Moules Frites (€15.50) which came in an absolute mountain top of winey garlic creaminess.  Fifi chose the Sirloin Steak with blue cheese sauce (€19.50).  The chips were great but the steak was a little tough and when she pointed this out, albeit after the fact, the waitress just shrugged and said “This is the chef’s fault, not mine” and flounced off. Zut alors! She also had to be reminded to bring our bread (proper sourdough baguette) and water, but had calmed down a bit by dessert.

I had the beautiful Tarte aux Fraises (€5.50).  As someone who used to wear strawberry perfume (don’t ask), I have high standards for strawberry-based dishes and this didn’t disappoint. The two ladies both went for the crème brulee (€5.50) which were done to perfection.  Halibut, steak, mussels, bread, strawberry tart, two crème brulees, a bottle of wine, orangina and an Earl Grey tea came to €93.80. It wasn’t that cheap, but it’s cheerful, and a nice retreat from the world before you step back out onto rainy Dame St, pulling your beret down over your ears.

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