Brasserie 15 in Carlow Town Centre is new, serving a NY style steak menu with some contemporary European influences. Recently Carlow has experienced a bit of a foodie revival and Brasserie 15 is one of the new kids on the block. Brasserie 15 is located next door to the famous Med Bar and directly opposite AIB in the centre of Tullow Street. It is easily recognized by the large picture windows and the orange banners draping from the top of the building
Brasserie 15 inside is a large open restaurant split over two levels with a wrought iron balcony looking down from the upper level. The theme is contemporary with foliage perfectly placed to give it an open feel. On a Thursday evening they have introduced live music, and when we visited the restaurant was packed and the atmosphere was buzzing.
We sipped on pre-dinner drinks - a vodka and slimline for me a Guinness for himself – and nibbled from a basket of warm, homemade breads and perfectly soft butter as we browsed over the menu. It was short and very user with a choice of 8 starters ranging from €5.50 for the soup of the evening to €10.95 for the seared tuna. There were also old favourites such as a classic Caesar, chicken liver parfait or crispy pork belly and black pudding.
I ordered the seared tuna, which came thinly sliced and served on a slate with wasabi mayonnaise. It was perfectly cooked and delicious. Fred enjoyed the chilli prawns that were pan fried and served with a rocket and oven dried tomato salad. We could also have chosen a selection of appetisers for the table which included the seared tuna, crispy pork belly, tiger prawn skewers, pate and risotto cakes, which is a great way of sampling everything, but we were leaving room for later.
Onto the main courses, all steaks were 21 day dry-aged steaks with a choice of the 8oz beef fillet for €25.95, the 10oz rib eye for €23.95 or the 10oz NY strip for €22.95, cooked just as you like it and with your choice of sauce. Grill choices started at €15.50 for the brasserie burger and went to €24.95 for the seared scallops, and there is a fish of the day, and a classic fish and chips.
I chose the peppered venison rump which was served with braised red cabbage, glazed vegetables and a port wine sauce. It was very tender and full of flavor, and is one of my favourite dishes at present, and the version here was very good indeed. Fred enjoyed the confit duck; it was a generous serving, crispy outside, moist inside and served with herb potato and carrot and star anis puree. The star anise was a nice touch and worked well with the sweet duck meat to create and interesting contrast.
The wine list offered you a choice of seven white and the same of red, divided by region and priced between €18.95 for an Argentinean Sauvignon Blanc or a Merlot up to €49 for the Chateaunauf du Pape. We picked the New Zealand Blackfern Sauv. Blanc at €22.50, which is a typical Marlborough with a crisp fresh flavor and we enjoyed it thoroughly. It is also the best price I have seen for this bottle, which appears on other wine menus at up to €29.
Desserts are all homemade, and even though we were full we managed to share the vanilla crème brulee with shortbread and a small pot of winter rhubarb, and is was a fitting end to a fine meal.
Brasserie 15 is a great spot to try in Carlow. The atmosphere is as good as the food, and service is friendly and professional. This is good modern food done well, and with an early bird menu each evening until 7.30, there’s no excuse not to go along.