Vermilion Indian restaurant in Terenure is one of the best in Dublin. Now there's a bold statement in the first line, but it's simply true. This is contemporary Indian food served as well as you would expect modern European food to be served in a top restaurant.
Vermilion is also powdered red lead, applied as a dot on the forehead, like the regular 'bindi'. It is worn by married women, as a visible expression of their desire for their husbands' longevity. The name seems to be having an effect, as Vermilion restaurant has been in the same spot for well over a decade, but new owners, and mostly the same staff, have re-invigorated it, and it is back to its best.
Vermilion is one of the new breed of Indian restaurants, combining good food in smart surroundings. Indian restaurants like Jaipur and Rasam sprang to mind at once on entering the dining room, which is elegantly decorated with comfortable sofas in the reception area and good-sized tables with comfortable chairs in the dining room itself.
I like the fact that they make a distinction on the menu between 'fusion' dishes, which are modified to suit the Irish palate, and the more authentic ethnic dishes. For the wary, all the dishes on the menu are marked with a chilli rating from one to three, so you can select your preferred level of heat easily.
I can recommend to you what we ended up doing: placing ourselves entirely in our waiters hands both for the choice of dishes and for the choice of wines. For the wines he chose for us a safe white - a Chablis - but for the red her choice was inspired, a Primitivo di Salento, which was one of the cheaper wines on the wine list at just over €20, and was remarkably smooth and velvety for such a big wine.
Between the three of us we went through a wide sample of the menu; duck rolls, prawns and peppered beef and then for main courses another spread across the menu; beef, lamb and chicken with side orders of dahl, Pulao rice and Naan bread to mop up the sauces with.
What becomes clear as you eat in Vermilion is that you're getting sophisticated food - I don't know what the Indian for 'haute cuisine' is, but that's what you get. The service is impeccable, the spicing is carefully judged, the room is pleasing to the eye. And if you like American music crooners the forties and fifties, that's what you'll hear as background music. Check their web site www.vermilion.ie for special events and offers.