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Divine: A Star is Born
Another great restaurant bites the dust - and this one sadly lasted a little over a year:-( Such are the signs of the world economy in 2009!!
For a little great food nostalgia, read on....
On a cold day in January 2008 I was firstly taken aback and subsequently impressed by the welcoming and almost imposing proud glass frontage of the newest restaurant in Waterford.
Ciaron O Neill, the long time and very successful proprietor of the Forum theatre and music venu decided to remodel the ground floor of his premises, hitherto used as part of the main venu, and transform it into an upmarket restaurant on a grand and spacious scale. This he has undoubtedly achieved and he has spared no expense in creating a place where people will want to go.
Many say that the location is bad, in that it is situated in an older and oerhaps downmarket area of town, but my opinion is that it's about time someone extended the cachment area for fine dining. I don't care what side of the town it's on as long as the food and ambiance are top notch, and they are at Divine.
I was warmly welcomed at the door by Michael, who used to manage the Wine Vault. I hadn't seen him in years, but he followed his greeting by offering me a glass of Gewurztraminer. Given the length of time since we had last met, I was indeed impressed that he recalled one of my favourite wines.
There's a substantial wine list and a full bar which serves great cocktails. In addition to this, the restaurant welcomes you to purchase your choice of wine at the off license next door and will charge a corkage of €5 per bottle - not bad at all!
Top marks, too, for the great background music and the wide and comfortable toilet cubicles.
Inside, the premises will seat several hundred, but it a layout that makes it all very private. It's elegant and modern and comfortable all at once. There's a stage at one side which leads me to believe that music will be provided from time to time. As the main venu attracts some of Ireland's biggest acts (and indeed international acts) this is likely to be something to look forward to.
Favorite Dish: We went for lunch and the menu was impressive, with a choice from four each of starters, main courses and desserts. I asked for a peek at the evening menu in contemplation of a future visit, and let's say there's enough there to tempt me back.
I started with a goat's cheese and wild mushroom risotto which was cooked in the best tradition of a good Italian rice dish - succulent, tasty, almost (but not quite) gluey. It came garnished with a little pesto oil, rocket, and some parmesan. I would happily have enjoyed it as a main course. The flavours all complimented each other and nothing overpowered.
I followed this with a Sunday Lunch staple - roast beef with Yorkshire pudding. Portions are extremely generous here - what we would call a man's dinner but with good presentation. The beef was served over creamed potatoe and the meat was succulent and juicy to the bite. On the plate with this was the largest Yorkshire pudding I have ever seen, garnished with home made horseradish cream and caramelised onion. There were side dishes of garlic and cheese potatoes and fresh garden vegetables.
I couldn't finish what was on my plate as I wanted to leave room for dessert. I opted for the butterscotch and walnut crepes with vanilla pod ice cream. Although they were delicious, they were entirely cold and I think that crepes should be hot, no matter what the filling.
We finished the meal with the best strong coffee I have had in ages.
As Arnie said - I'll be back!
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