Geisha Asian Restaurant is in Ashtown, quite close to the Phoenix Park. This upmarket restaurant impresses with fabulous décor and very good service. Paolo went along with Kevin Flanagan, a fellow foodie.
It's been a while since I met up with Kevin Flanagan for a restaurant review. He always makes a good dining companion because he's a confirmed foodie. He's got proper credentials as well, having been the publisher of a magazine called 'Good Food and Fine Wine '.
The last time we ate together he'd suggested that we go to a Japanese restaurant in Parnell Street called Mitsuba, where he promised me we'd eat well. Turned out he was right, so when he told me this time he'd found another good Asian restaurant, I was happy to take his recommendation.
This one was called Geisha and was in Ashtown, a little to the north of the Phoenix Park. Geisha is in a very attractive modern building with some striking architectural features. Downstairs there's a pub, and the restaurant is upstairs.
When we walked into the dining room, I was reminded of another Asian restaurant called Eatzen, which is in Ashbourne, Co Meath. What they have in common is that evidently a great deal of money has been spent on the interior decoration. Good lighting makes a big difference to a restaurant's ambience, but it's not always a priority. In both Geisha and Eatzen, it's been well-designed.
The dining room also has plenty of glass, which offers views that include a great deal of greenery -- not something you'd expect in a built-up area. The tables had marble tops and were surrounded by well padded benches. We got a table by the window and settled into reading the menus.
I started on the wine list and was happy to see that the house wines, both red and white, were priced at €16.99. That's unusual; most restaurant lists seem to have agreed that house wines should be priced anywhere between €20 and €24, so it's good to see a price well below €20. There are fewer than two dozen wines listed, and they're mostly in the €20 to €30 range. We ordered a beer each -- a Thai beer called Chang.
We decided that we would try to explore the menu between us as much as possible, so we started with a mixed sushi platter and a seafood salad.
Nearly all the starters were around €6, but we managed to pick the expensive ones -- €9 for the salad and €16 for the sushi platter.
When the starters arrived, we realised that perhaps the giant sushi platter wasn't such a good idea. There were 15 sushi pieces, far too much even sharing, so in the end most of it went into a doggy bag for taking home. We fared rather better with salad, by the simple expedient of picking out the goodies -- squid, prawns and mussels -- and leaving most of the vegetable matter on the plate.
For his main course, Kevin wanted something spicy, so he chose choo-chee duck, which is roasted duck with a hot sauce made with red curry paste and creamed coconut.
I chose pattaya noodles, which was also a duck dish, but with stir-fried egg noodles, Asian greens and flavoured with hoisin sauce. My dish came with noodles but Kevin's didn't, so we also had a side dish of fried noodles, priced at €4.
Despite the fact our starters had left us pretty well filled, we did make headway into our main courses. The duck in both dishes was well done and tasty, Kevin's rather more fiery than I'm used to, and the accompanying vegetables done nicely al dente.