. Restaurants .

Posted: Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 8:53 PM
Location: Mulberry Garden, Mulberry Lane, Donnybrook
Dining companions: Double dating with my friend

It was nearly a year ago that someone first mentioned the Mulberry Garden to me.  Indeed it was the first restaurant I wrote down as a recommendation in a snazzy new little notepad that I bought for myself at the start of my new life as a food blogger.  Ahhhh.  It was also from the Mulberry Garden that I bought my favourite ‘bite’ at last year’s Taste of Dublin. So it was with great excitement that I finally got myself down there on Friday night on a bit of a double date type thing with a friend.

The restaurant is tucked away in a lane near Kiely’s pub in Donnybrook.  You walk in through a gate and the garden inside is just magical.  Lots of fairy lights, candles and water.  Just gorgeous – nearly enough to make we wish I was a smoker again so I could spend some more time out there.  Nearly, but luckily not quite.

Once in the restaurant, it’s just as welcoming and inviting.  When we arrived it was maybe only half full – but it still had a warm atmosphere.  Lighting is perfectly dim, tables well-spaced and background noise loud enough so you don’t have to whisper but quiet enough that you can hear everyone.  They really have nailed it.

Mulberry Garden
Braised lamb shoulder

Mulberry Garden is only open only three evenings a week, and the menu changes every week. Each week you have choice of just two starters, two mains and then a dessert of a cheese.  It’s a flat charge of €40 for three courses, an absolute steal for the quality of food that is served.
We settled into our tables and I instantly tried to see if myself and the man could manage to pick opposite courses to make sure we got to taste everything – I succeeded on two out of three courses – go me! While we deliberated we were served with warm bread and butter – a bacon and onion slice, black olive twist and white roll were all delicious.

The only downside to the evening was the speed of service.  We can’t have been seated for much more than 10 minutes and we already had our starters!  Bit bonkers. Starter choices had a boy girl divide with the girls going for the confit chicken wings served with liver parfait on toast, lentils, celeriac, landcress and crispy garlic.  The chicken was so full of flavour, and instantly you realise that the produce is a real focus here.  Indeed, they print the names of all of their producers on the back of their menu, so proud they are of using quality local produce.  And rightly so.  The boys had the ragout of oxtail with homemade ricotta, gnocci and salsa verde.  The ragout was very rich and combined perfectly with the zingy ricotta which cut right through it.

Another relatively short break (boo) and mains were on the table.  I’d gone with the boys on the main and we had a slow braised shoulder of lamb served with smoked onions, pressed potato, lamb tongue, jerusalem artichoke, savoy cabbage and capers.  How’s that for a list of ingredients!  One of the biggest surprises on this dish was the capers – the lamb had a delicious layer of fat on the top (was that related to the tongue!?) and the capers were great with it – again a rich dish with something on the plate to cut through and prevent it being too overwhelming.

My friend had a roast fillet of john dory, served with oysters, roasted and pickled cauliflower, horseradish and purslane.  Another very happy customer – not typically a fan of oysters, but really enjoyed the cooked ones here which was interesting.

As we sat back to digest we were told there was a sneaky third option as far as desserts go – the restaurant’s signature dish chocolate pave.  A very welcome addition as far as we were concerned. Another welcome addition was the arrival of a shot glass of lemon granite and elderflower foam.  Lovely, now bring that dessert over to my freshly cleansed palate.

Between us we covered all bases with the dessert – us girls had the artisan cheeses, served with some small slices of bread and crackers.  It was a selection of Corleggy Goat’s cheese, ardrahan, Coleeny Mature and Crozier blue – all lovely, although I probably had room for a little more of each.

The boys went sweet – my man having a white chocolate mousse with coffee ice cream and walnut sable and the other chocolate pave.  Time for a little bit of honestly – it would be wrong to say toooo much about these dishes and they are just a little blurry, I can confirm however that we devoured them.  This is the problem with taking along friends on a Friday night to a restaurant that you want to review – it’s just all a bit too much fun! ;o)

I had a great night at the Mulberry Garden.  Ok, the service really was a bit too quick which was a shame – glad to say though that there was no rush at the end and we happily sat and had an extra bottle of wine, not that we needed it.  I thought the food was top notch and I love that I could go next week and experience something very different. I also loved the setting, the atmosphere and the price.  No doubt on this one, I will be back.