Tuesday 6 May 2014

Delightfully Irish: Mulberry Garden

Instead of getting Mr. FFID all stressed at the idea of having to choose a restaurant for my birthday, this year I specifically requested we go to Mulberry Garden. I’ve been tempted by pictures of their dishes on Twitter for a while now and knew it would be a good place for a birthday treat.

Mulberry Garden is hidden down a little lane off Donnybrook village. The entrance to the restaurant is inviting with its pink door and the gorgeous garden courtyard, it really feels like you’re entering somewhere special. 

It’s only open from Thursday to Saturday and their ever changing menu is posted weekly on their website (they also have a vegetarian option). Priced at €42 the menu features seasonal Irish produce, you can chose from 2 starters, a fish or meat main course, and dessert or cheese. As simple as that!

There is a separate bar area where we decided to sit in for a pre-dinner drink. The room is small but has some great little touches like the boat-shaped bar and some framed prints by Irish artists.

The drink menu offers a fine choice of wine, champagne, cocktails (including Irish cocktails) and Irish craft beers and ciders. 

I went for The Mulberry Kick, a lovely cocktail made with their house infused vanilla vodka, fresh lemon, Pomegranate and blueberry juice and Bourbon vanilla pod (€10). Mr. FFID went for something stronger which certainly didn’t lack alcohol: an Irish Whiskey Sour (€10). 

The dining room is large, tables are nicely spaced out, there is a stone chimney in the middle and it is decorated with woollen strings hanging from the walls: it’s modern and elegant at the same time.

A wooden basket of 3 different breads was brought to our table, including brown soda, wild garlic and white truffle. They were fresh, still warm and the smell made us dig in straight away: absolutely scrumptious they were. There was also some tasty chive and pink peppercorn butter from Improper Butter as well as Irish Atlantic Sea Salt and Donegal Rapeseed Oil to accompany the breads.

My starter of seared King scallop was top-notch. Not only it was delicately presented but the contrast in textures was brilliant.  The dish featured generous fleshy scallops seared perfectly with crunchy purple sprouting broccoli, a smooth broccoli puree and butter sauce. I loved the smokiness and crunch of the almonds which added great flavor to the dish.

Vegetarian starters can be a bit boring but this wasn’t the case for Mr. FFID’s asparagus starter. The asparagus were crunchy, served with little cubes of Jersey Royals potatoes, a light potato mousse, cheese, pickled onion, wild herbs and fried bread crumbs on top.

My roast Atlantic cod main came with a little round crab cake, pea puree, mussels and small potato gnocchi. I thought the unusual addition of diced cucumber, mint and capers added some stronger flavours which married well with the cod.

Mr. FFID’s main was wholly satisfying: a tender 18hour braised beef short rib served with smoked potato puree, horseradish emulsion, wild garlic, girolles, sherry vinegar and jus.

After that we had an apple and caramel pre-dessert that tasted like Tarte tatin. I had almost gobbled the whole thing up before I thought to take a picture of it.

Of course, all the cheeses were Irish (Hegarty’s cheddar, St Killian, Cashel Blue and Gubbeen) with some mini baguette, honeyed pecans, mustard pickled vegetables and a giant fennel cracker served on a stone. Needless to say we loved the cheese course.

The strawberry parfait came with a candle on top, requested by Mr. FFID as it was my birthday. It was a lovely dessert, not overly sweet, with tiny pieces of lemon thyme meringue, fresh strawberries, small discs of sable biscuit, a great strawberry sorbet and some crushed pistachio.

I was totally charmed by Mulberry Garden, it’s a great celebration of Irish produce and a perfect example of modern Irish cuisine. The food was fresh, delicate and beautifully presented. The portion may be on the smaller side but for me they were just the right size and it was great value for money considering the quality of the food.

I loved the little touches such as the full list of food producers at the back of the menu, the beautiful garden, the Irish designed elements throughout the restaurant and even the Oscar Wilde quotes in the bathroom. 

Mulberry Garden is delightfully Irish: this is the place to treat your other half to for a special occasion, or a great spot to introduce visitors to quality Irish food.

Mulberry Garden
Mulberry Lane
Dublin 4

This is an independent review, I paid for my meal.