Potager located in the coastal village of Skerries is, in our view, one of the best restaurants in North County Dublin. Potager Restaurant is the creation of former Chapter One Head Chef Cathal Leonard and partner Sarah Ryan. The restaurant which opened in 2019, wasn’t long trading before being hit with the challenges of the pandemic but, perfectly pivoted to ‘at home boxes’ which we tried ourselves in early 2021. The ‘at home box’ from Potager was so good that we couldn’t wait to try the in-restaurant dining experience. Potager is housed in a charming old building, a former bank, but has a slick contemporary interior. A very cool feature is how they kept the former bank vault with its impressive cast iron door and turned into the wine cellar.
Potager Skerries is deservedly listed on the Michelin Guide and when it comes to the food, this is fine dining Michelin Star standard food without Michelin Star price tag. What really makes potager a treat for foodies is that the set tasting menu changes regularly. The menu is designed by Cathal and the kitchen team based on the freshest ingredients available to them form the best of north county Dublin suppliers, all of whom are listed on the menu.
On arrival we sat in the cosy lounge area and enjoyed a Bellini (€12.50) and an Elderflower & Prosecco Spritz (€11.50) while waiting for our table. When you are seated in the restaurant you are presented with the evening’s menu showing you the delights they have in store for you, but you don’t get a choice, you get it all. The menu is priced at €69 per head and there is an option to add expertly paired wine to the different courses for an additional €54 per head. An advantage of this kind of dining is you can sit back, relax, switch your brain off and prepare to be wowed. All you need to decide on is what you would like to drink and if you want to order petite fours at the end!
The wine list is very impressive and upon the recommendation from our server we ordered a bottle of Roberta Fugatti Pinot Grigio from Trentino, Italy (€38.00).
The portions appear small but remember this is a tasting menu made up of nine separate dishes so you will not leave Potager hungry. A brown bread with homemade cuinneog butter and a pumpkin bread with ricotta and pumpkin seeds arrives when you first sit, then follows two appetisers, two starters, a soup, two mains and a dessert. You get all of this per person! The best part of this type of dining experience is that you are put totally in the hands of chefs. You get to try several incredible flavor combinations, some that you may not order ordinarily, a true feast for the senses.
The first appetiser to arrive from the tasting menu was pork with apple and horseradish. This was served as a small croquette ball and the flavour of the pork inside complimented with the dash of apple was divine. The second appetiser was delicate Crab mix with dill emulsion, topped with pickled lemon served on a crunchy tapioca cracker that resembled a bed of pearls. This appetiser was an amazing combination of textures and flavours.
The soup course was a ‘Hope Brewery’ IPA beer, ‘Hegarty’ cheese soup with thyme. What seemed like an unusual combination for a soup turned out to be a creamy delight, full of lush flavours and was certainly a highlight of our meal.
Our first starter course was beetroot with walnut and sheep’s yogurt. This intriguing starter was delicious with earthy flavors of beetroot in a smooth sorbet, a creamy white beetroot moose topped with crisp tapioca and balanced with the sharpness of the pickled beetroot. This was once again an excellent example of well-balanced textures and flavors of this tasting menu. Next, was an elegant starter of duck and foie gras terrine with poached quince, radish relish and dressed with fresh leaves from ‘McNally Family Farm’. The poached quince made a perfectly sweet accompaniment to the duck and buttery foie gras.
Our first main course was a cod, with purple baked potato, poached spring onions and crispy shallot rings. Our server joked that this dish was essentially fancy fish and chips! The lightly smoked cod, which is warmed under the grill just before serving, is served with a gribiche sauce and is a feast for the tastebuds. Guinea fowl, parsley root, sprouts was served as our second main course. The dish comprised of a succulent and rich flavored guinea fowl breast and a guinea fowl leg which was stuffed with a parsley remoulade and wrapped in bacon. The brussels sprouts served with the dish had been confit cooked in bacon fat which totally intensified the flavor. This whole dish was a full of winter flavours, perfect for the cold December evening when we dinned in Potager.
For dessert we enjoyed a sheep’s yogurt panna cotta with a clementine jelly layer. Gently placed on top was a clementine and coriander compote and a clementine sorbet. The panna cotta was accompanied by two smooth buttery homemade shortbread biscuits.
At €69 per head the price may be higher than most suburban eateries, but it is in fact excellent value for money for the fine-dining standard and creative menu from Cathal. The front of house team led by Sarah provided excellent service in a professional, confident yet friendly manner. Altogether, the Potager team bring an exquisite culinary experience to this neighborhood restaurant. We are already looking forward to returning for the changing season menu to see what Spring and Summer offers.
By Abigail Fox Carroll & Clyde Carroll
Potager, 7 Church St, Townparks, Skerries, Co. Dublin, K34 V585
Phone: (01) 802 9486
Check out more reviews on The Taste right HERE.