When I remember meals, precious meals worth remembering, I see the delicious glow of the candle on the person across from me.
Or the way my father can tell a joke and laugh so hard he uses the posh linen tablecloth to dab his eyes and we are all mortified and delighted at the same time. Or how the waiter would look after the mini people at the table especially well. It’s when you feel loved,and at home. That’s when a restaurant succeeds.
I’m saddened to hear that the wonderful Dublin restaurant Alexis, in Dun Laoghaire, closed its doors. This was a place you felt loved. I first went there last summer when my housemate decided to let me know he was moving out. He was French. He had taste. Alexis was the kind of place you sat down with delicious expectation on what could possibly be presented. Eyes widened and hearts swooned on reading of the menu. It was always a conundrum. The wines always soothing and beautiful, and the food then sublime.
On my last meal there, although I didn’t realise it was then to be my last, I brought my parents and my brother Daniel. It was the day before New Year’s Eve and we were the first to enter the soft and huggingly warm dining room at 6pm. Patrick O’Reilly, who ran Alexis with his brother Alan, greeted us warmly. We had a gorgeous evening with some exquisite dishes. I’ll always remember the smoked cod in its translucent and sweet fleshy glory. And watching my father devour the most perfect chocolate mousse. We left with happy hearts and bellies.
It saddens me that a restaurant which was steadfastedly true to the philosophy of its namesake, Alexis Benoit Soyer, French chef and writer, who believed ‘one could eat well at a modest cost,’ stayed true to this. But did not succeed.
I dearly hope that the Alexis family and their talents flourish elsewhere in a new adventure.
For now, farewell. You shall be missed.