Our Philosophy

Pearl Brasserie opened its doors on the 7th of December 2000. Our first objective was to build a team with a hunger to learn and a passion for detail. The same hard work is being asked of our Irish and Continental suppliers, so we are able to get the best Irish and French produce on a daily basis.

Culinary ingenuity and skill from the kitchen combines with warm, welcoming, professional service delivering one of Dublin’s premier fine dining experiences.

Recently awarded Chef of the Year 2017 in the Georgina Campbell Awards.
Travellers Choice Awards 2017 – TripAdvisor’s annual list of the top ten fine dining restaurants in Ireland.  Pearl Brasserie is delighted to be included at No 5.

Pearl Brasserie continues to perform at the top of the game in Dublin. Bon Appetit!

Sebastien

Life Story

I was born on the 16th July 1974. I was brought up in Clermont-Ferrand, central France, by my father, an interior designer. His speciality was restaurants and nightclubs. I spent many hours eating in fine dining restaurants during my father’s contract negotiations. I believe a combination of both my background and my unsuccessful exit from school contributed to the start of my apprenticeship at the early age of 15. Read more...

I began in a small country house – Jean Marc Vindrie, which had one of the biggest wine cellars in the country. The young 33-year-old chef was running the establishment in the old school style, as his father had before him. Here we worked on the old wood cooker making our own cured ham, fishing for lunch in the river and picking mushrooms, rhubarb and apples from his mother’s garden. My first memory of the Irish Culture was when the chef returned from a sporting weekend in Ireland shooting woodcock.

During the second year of my apprenticeship I had the good fortune to work alongside a chef, who had come from the Ritz in Paris. He made me realize that cooking could be a real art with enormous possibilities!

Hungry to push further at the age of 17, I took my knives and went to Paris, where I started to work for the opening of Copthorne Hotel Roissy. Whilst in Paris I also had the opportunity to work on a casual basis in many other kitchens in the city, such as the Meridien Etoile, Hotel Intercontinental, St Claire outside catering with M. Guy Savoie (three-star Michelin) and M. Gerard Besson (two-star Michelin). It was good to see the differences in styles of cooking and organisation – from 30 covers to 800, and from traditional to modern cuisine.
Called by the nation for ten months I spent my time in the kitchen of Saint Augustin cooking for Politicians and Generals. It was here I was further introduced to Irish people and I decided to come to Ireland. It was only in 1994 that I arrived, with my ten words of broken English, Mr Guillaume Lebrun of Patrick Guilbaud’s Restaurant in Dublin (two-star Michelin) gave me the job as Demi Chef de Partie.

Here we were surrounded by Irish produce, which was developed under French talent, and it took me a few weeks to be promoted to Chef de Partie. One year after, I decided to cross the road and to work in one of the most elegant eighteenth-century town houses in Dublin, The Commons Restaurant, Dublin. I started as Sous Chef and a year after was given the reins of the kitchen, which to me was the opportunity of a lifetime.

The idea of opening my own restaurant in Dublin would not go away so with the help of my partner Kirsten, Pearl Brasserie was born on the 7th December 2000.
Since opening Pearl, I have developed my own style and flair while working with fantastic Irish produce. I have a strong, talented and driven team and push for perfection in every dish served. I swear by the motto that “you are only as good as your last meal.” A lot of hard work has led to a list of awards and accolades, but what matters to me most is the pure satisfaction of a job well done. In this profession there are two things which make you smile on the way home, the customer who loved their meal, and the chef you trained who returns to you a few years later and thanks you for making him understand the art of food. To me, that is what it is all about.

Sebastien Masi

Kirsten

Life Story

1974 – I grew up in beautiful Wales very much living the good life. Let’s say it was very, very rural. I loved the countryside – the different seasons and all the bounties that the land offered.
I was definitely more earthy than academic. I started to work in a local hotel and I loved it through and through – the buzz of meeting people from every walk of life… So I decided to look into going to college and to get a thorough knowledge of the Hospitality & Catering world.
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Part of my studies was in Torquay (no I didn’t work at Fawlty Towers)… To help with my studies I worked part-time as a commis waiter in the famous five Star Imperial Hotel owned then by the Rocco Forte group. This was one of the UK’s most iconic of hotels and for me it was love at first sight. The training was meticulous, I decided then and there that this was the career path I wanted and over the years I worked at the hotel and worked my way up the food chain so to speak….. Andrew Selvadurai was the restaurant manager at the Imperial Hotel. He taught me everything I know about restaurant service and was and still is such an inspiration to me in my life.

When I finally finished my studies 5 years later I was offered an opportunity to come to Dublin. It was in the height of the Celtic tiger years – the city was buzzing. I was offered a position at the Herbert Park Hotel. My plan was to stay in Ireland for one year but I met a French Man and he changed my life in many ways.

1996 -Meeting Seb, with his intense passion for and dedication to food, he opened my eyes to a whole new world. He is one of the hardest working and most disciplined person I have had the good fortune to have meet and luckily to share my life with. On our modest salaries we planned our adventures and travelled whenever we had the opportunity, booking fine restaurants and staying in hostels. We loved discovering different cultures and foods… This for me was life’s true education. I discovered the meaning of the phrase “La Vie est belle” Life is beautiful. With time Seb and I started planning a restaurant of our own. We felt there was a gap in the market between run of the mill restaurants and special occasion restaurants. We wanted to create an inviting eatery that every walk of life could afford and hopefully appreciate – well, fingers crossed.

2000 – After lots of planning and dead ends we secured the basement of 20 Merrion Street Upper. It had been empty for a time and it was in bits, but we were like the cats who got the cream. We named our restaurant Pearl because the first gift Seb gave me was a beautiful pair of pearl earrings. We both gave up good jobs and believed our dream would work. We were crazy monkeys for sure. Every hour of the day we spent getting Pearl ready with the help of Mathieu Terzi – a young chef who had worked with Seb previously. Mathieu is still with us 16 years on. We did everything possible ourselves as we had invested every cent we owned. Looking back it was complete madness but we believed it would work. We had our youth, no family commitments and an unbeatable work ethic.

We started proudly as a humble brasserie, and have invested in it again and again, always seeking to improve. We survived the downturn in Ireland, we keep our heads down and keep things as tight as possible without cutting corners or quality of produce. We have had good times, happy times and difficult times, but we have always believed in our core product and made things happen.

Since becoming a mum 2010 when our little William was born, I appreciate even more how much goes into an evening out. It pushes me never to become complacent in what we offer at Pearl.

From the moment our guests walk in we try to anticipate their needs and gauge what they are looking for in that reservation. A lot of that only comes through age and experience. With our talented, energetic team we have created Pearl. Our customers are our life line. Looking after them well is our greatest pleasure and a satisfied customer our greatest reward. I love the buzz of a crazy busy service – if I could bottle it, I would!

Kirsten