Forget preconceptions of private members’ clubs as either stuffy and dull, or glossy and pretentious; The Stack is relaxed, welcoming and full of colour and light, its newly renovated premises at historic Leinster Hall, a home from home for members to escape the corporate world. The good news for the rest of us is that the downstairs Brasserie restaurant, cocktail bar, and shady outdoors terrace is open to everyone for lunch, dinner and after work cocktails.
Owners Nigel Pace and Sarah Ord re-opened The Stack in June (their first opening last year was cut short by a devastating fire after just one week of business). Sarah’s interior design inspiration combines jewel colours and funky prints with beautiful photographic artworks, a joyous riot of colour in the upstairs members’ lounge, more restrained, light and airy in the downstairs Brasserie. Their food philosophy stems from a shared love of simple, authentic French brasserie food “We wanted real food without all the frou-frous of fine-dining,” explains Nigel, “and we wanted it to be affordable for locals, keeping mark-ups to the minimum.”
A tasty introduction
My starter of Salade aux Lardons with chunky cubes of bacon and a perfectly poached egg kick-starts the French mood, as does the deeply satisfying, thick onion soup. The Brasserie’s Steak Frites are already the talk of the town – excellent sirloin cut in thick chunks, the crispiest French fries and an indulgent pan of béarnaise sauce – plain, simple and very good. The Beef Bourguignon, takes a rustic turn, slow braised with lentils, whole carrots, onions and two sorts of mushrooms, plus bacon lardons on the side.
The main courses are served in generous hearty portions; one dish would be satisfying enough for a quick lunch, and the menu also includes oysters, sandwiches, and even Le Hamburger. But we’re game for the whole experience and the dessert menu tempts us to stretch our appetites. The crème brûlée goes above and beyond, a shallow wide copper pan maximising the crackling caramel crunch with the right amount of creaminess underneath. And if you’ve only room for something wafer thin, the petits fours are the perfect sweet finale to share over coffee. With off-street parking and a tranquil location just behind the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, it’s a refreshing lunch time escape.
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Words: Kit Heathcock | Images: Kit Heathcock and Supplied