Pearl Brasserie, a Dublin fine-dining restaurant for over 20 years, has uncovered the secret to its enduring appeal
When Pearl Brasserie opened in 2000, there was no social media to promote it. Its owners, French chef, Sébastien Masi, and his wife, Kirsten Masi, relied on word of mouth to let the Dublin public know about the brasserie, the first to open in Ireland’s capital. They named it Pearl after the first gift Sébastien bought his wife: pearl earrings. And the personal touch is one of the reasons the couple believe it is such a resounding success.
“When you choose to spend money in a restaurant instead of eating at home, it is the whole ensemble that matters,” says Sébastien. “The food is important, of course, but so is everything else – even the glassware.”
The brasserie is now more of a fine-dining experience than it was back in the early days. Yet its enduring popularity speaks for itself, even thriving during the economic downturn and surviving the pandemic. “We have a lot of recommendations and return visits,” explains Kirsten. “One of the nice things about being open for so many years is that people who used to come with their parents when they were children are now bringing their own children.”
Nestled between five-star hotels in the Georgian part of Dublin, the multiple-award-winning brasserie, which has been in the Michelin Guide since 2001, serves modern French cuisine with a Japanese twist. Its proximity to the business centre and government buildings means it is perfectly placed for work lunches as well as family celebrations, with a menu that ranges from à la carte to surprise tastings and vegetarian. The basement location, full of nooks and crannies, offers discretion to business clients and celebrities alike. “It’s luxurious, comfortable and spacious,” says Sébastien. “People get a bespoke service, and from the moment they enter they are cocooned.”
Since the brasserie opened the team has grown from just four staff to around 40, and it has also undergone refurbishment. Times may have changed but the approach, however, remains the same, from the attention to detail to the use of the best produce. “Any restaurant is only as good as its last meal,” says Kirsten. And this one is firmly embedded in Dublin life.