Some restaurants exude a profound sense of Restaurantness, and Dax is a defining example of that elusive quality. Everything in this series of elegant basement rooms in the centre of Dublin feels right, feels like the restaurant from the celestial heavens, perfectly pitched to make you feel at home, perfectly pitched to make you feel good: about yourself, about the world, about what is to arrive on the plate.
This essence of restaurant is propelled into the ether by the service of Olivier Meissonave, and the cooking of Graham Neville. There isn’t a better pair of professionals at work in Ireland, their professionalism a beacon of expertise, individuality, and culture. The culture they work in is the culture of la grand cuisine, but Dax’s cuisine is an unpretentious and agrestic style of food: Dax has graces, but no airs about itself. This makes for a great experience, and it makes for great eating: Clogherhead crab with sweetcorn purée; Kilkenny organic chicken en croute with cep sauce; the signature courgette flower stuffed with Dublin Bay prawns that fizzes with lemongrass and ginger. The pommes purée is textbook perfect, the cheeses are always in immaculate condition, desserts such as strawberry tart are restrained and delicious. Dax has it all: the restaurant personified.