The Coburg restaurant at the Conrad Hotel is part of a huge renovation. The hotel has completely changed the interior, going away from the open plan of old, and creating separate spaces for the newly minted Lemuels bar and the Coburg restaurant.
The food has always been excellent in the five star Conrad, the only issue was the size of the lobby come bar come restaurant. That has all been rectified now and the new look Coburg is elegant, refined and very intimate.
The room has been divided into separate spaces and when we found ourselves in a circular booth in a corner - there's an oxymoron - we could catch glimpses of other sections around the room, but felt we had our own space.
The decor is fabulous, leather banquettes have Hermes style bridle buckles around the back rests, and cupboards have almost matching handles. The cutlery is beautiful; elegant and functional, the temptation to run off with a set is there, but it’s the ridiculously elegant wine glasses with their impossibly slender stems that Deirdre wants for Christmas. When she sips her glass of Albarinho, she fells the stem should snap; of course it doesn't, but it adds a delicious frissant of anticipation.
Head chef Dmitri Stroykov has been here for several years now, and his new menu for the Coburg emphasises his love of seafood. The menu is now much more of a Brasserie style, albeit one that operates at the higher end of the possibilities. It is bang on trend, and serves all day.
Lobster makes several appearances, and indeed has its own short menu that accompanies the main one. Prawns and lobster cocktails make an appearance, as do varieties of oysters, a selection of meat dishes from the kitchen include a rack of Wicklow lamb, and of course there are a choice of steaks, headed by a classic steak and frites with Béarnaise sauce.
After a bit of advice from Masus our waiter, we decided on a half dozen oysters and the lobster pie for Deirdre, while I had the lobster cocktail, and then turned to the land for the aforementioned rack of lamb.
Drinks wise Deirdre stuck with her wine in its beautiful glass while I was on the sparkling water, ice cold Pellegrino.
When the starters arrived I felt at a bit of a disadvantage; while my lobster cocktail was as pretty as a picture in a copper Champagne glass, Dee's oysters came on a sea of ice in a large round dish, scattered with seaweed and with the oysters ranged around. Tangy vinaigrette with Tabasco on the side and plenty of lemon segments completed the platter, and the oysters were wonderfully fresh and beautifully presented.
The lobster cocktail was a classic prawn cocktail on steroids, and was really very good, with plenty of sweet lobster claw meat with crispy cos lettuce and a tangy Marie Rose sauce.
Main courses brought us the lobster pie and the lamb. Deirdre's decadent take on classic comfort food was deliciously rich, with Parmesan mash on top and was full of lobster meat.
The rack of lamb was cooked perfectly pink, and a lamb jus in a dainty little copper pan was thick and creamy. Creamy mash came in a copper skillet, while a selection of crispy vegetables completed the Meal.
We somehow found room to share a crime brulee which was sitting on its own on a black plate, it had a perfect crispy topping and it was a sign of its perfect texture that it held its shape so perfectly.
We finished with some good coffee and wandered across to the bar for a drink. The new look Conrad has finally found the perfect layout to make this into a real five star experience. Gone is the vacant hall, and in its place stylish and comfortable spaces in which to enjoy the superb food and service for which this five star in Dublin 2 has always been known for. Well worth a trip to reacquaint yourself with a re imagined destination.
** As an aside the afternoon tea here is lovely, my wife and daughter were in last year and are planning another trip now to try it out in the opulent new surroundings. A nice Christmas present for someone perhaps.