It's always a pleasure to have an excuse to return from London to my homeland, and even better if I get to factor in a great lunch as part of my trip.
If you're looking to impress in Dublin, there's no better place than La Stampa. The 19th-century Georgian townhouse, complete with guildhall ballroom, is also a fantastic place to stay, if your budget allows.
The hotel has three restaurants, but the Brasserie is the place to be. With its sweeping high ceilings, polished mirrors and Victorian decor, it's easy to feel transported back to an era when dining was a pastime and something to take your time over.
With a seating capacity of 200, the hall is perfect for major parties and events that warrant an injection of glamour, but not too big for a one-on-one meeting. The busy staff and furnishings give a cosy feel that puts diners at ease. The menu changes regularly, but sumptuous dishes such as Native Oysters, Duck Margret and Wild Mushroom Torte will get your companion's stomach growling. The Coconut and Licorice Creme Brulee is a pleasant surprise, too.
The icing on the dessert-trolley cake is the aptness of the hotel name - which any Italian-speaking journalist should appreciate.
Where: La Stampa Brasserie, 35 Dawson Street, Dublin
Contact: 00 353 1 677 4444
How much: Around EUR160 per shead