By Charlotte Okonji

Platform 61, Dublin’s best kept secret, is ready to welcome the city’s revellers this festive season with a menu that will have you believing that Christmas has indeed come early.

Located below street level on Dublin’s restaurant-laden South William Street, Platform 61 is a paragon of understated chic. Named after the now defunct railway track beneath New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel, where luminaries such as Andy Warhol as well as a number of US Presidents popped many a champagne bottle, Platform 61 has created quite a buzz since appearing on the dining scene two years ago. So, in the interests of research I took it upon myself to find out more….

Hoping to avoid the Saturday night hustle and bustle of Dublin’s city centre, we found ourselves sitting down to dinner at the relatively early hour of 5pm. Upon being seated in the warm front room, we were immediately treated to a chilled glass of Yuletide Punch, made from Sangria and Prosecco, reminiscent of a chilled mulled wine.

Moments after our charming host handed us the menu, our minds were made up: Goat cheese Parfait for me, while me lovely companion for the evening, a.k.a “Mum”, chose the Pear and Blue Cheese Salad with prosciutto and toasted walnuts. The parfait was incredibly light, and the distinctive taste of the goat cheese was balanced by the accompanying orange jelly which added a hint of sweetness. The pear and blue cheese salad also successfully combined the strong flavour of blue cheese with the natural sweetness of the pear, while the crisp, toasted walnuts added a pleasing texture to the dish.

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Once our host whisked away our empty plates, we turned our attention to the two Christmas Cocktails which had just appeared in front of us. The Slow Snow was a fabulously frothy gin, elderflower and cucumber concoction, topped with champagne foam, while Warhol’s Wicked Christmas consisted of ginger ale, apple and a liberal dose of Whiskey. We just had to time to drain our glasses when it was time for the main event: a very generously sized Venison Shank on a bed of mashed potato, with honey glazed parsnips for me, while tradition called to my mother, who chose the Turkey with Stuffing, Brussels sprouts and gravy. The Chef had timed the cooking of the venison to perfection: it literally fell off the bone the moment I picked up my knife. Not being a fan of root vegetables, I was pleasantly surprised by the roasted parsnips. Rather than tasting like an underdone potato, as they usually do, they were beautifully caramelised on the outside and creamy on the inside. The Turkey, stuffing, and sprouts received the highest accolade that an Irish mother could bestow: “It’s almost as good as mine”. High praise indeed! The Brussels sprouts were livened up with pancetta and gravy, transforming them from “Humdrum” to “Yum Yum”!

Close to bursting at the seams, nevertheless, we couldn’t resist dessert: Marbled Raspberry Cheesecake, and a Javanais. The cheesecake was a delicious, creamy mini-sphere, accompanied by a dollop of raspberry cream, while the Javanais was a mouth-watering chocolate and coffee infused treat, which tasted even better than it looked.

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The Platform 61 family

Warm and welcoming, with staff who are attentive and genuinely friendly, a first-class menu, fresh ingredients, and a stylish yet unpretentious interior: it’s no wonder that Platform 61’s reputation has been built on the word-of-mouth advertising from the satisfied customers who have passed through their doors over the last two years.

Platform 61’s Christmas menu will be available until 24th December 2016, with two sittings per night.

For more information, see http://www.platform61.ie/ or http://www.menupages.ie/Dublin/city_centre/south-william-street/platform_61

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