. Restaurants .

Posted: Tuesday, December 06, 2011 at 8:46 PM
Location: Strawberry Tree, BrookLodge Hotel, Wicklow
Dining companions: My man

Following my great day at Wild and Slow 2011 (see Blog post) I was lucky to be able to head up to our beautiful room at The BrookLodge and indulge in a very hot, very long and very deep bath. Ohhhh, yes – feel that body unwind. I appreciate this may seem like a bit of an overreaction, however please bear in mind that I don’t have a bath at home, so it’s always one of my favourite treats!  Anyway, it was then time for a small smattering of glamour (i.e. I applied my Big Beautiful Eyes eye shadow – that’s about as glam as I tend to get!) and off we trotted back downstairs for a meal at The Strawberry Tree.  As it was my birthday meal you can imagine there’s a slight wine-haze to some of the finer details of the evening and I didn’t take my notebook – but even so I can’t resist sharing the details of the individually most fabulous mouthful of food I’ve had for months.

This meal was my first ever experience of a fully organic restaurant – the Strawberry Tree is Ireland’s only certified organic restaurant, and it extends right down to the wine list.  It’s also won a few awards over the years so I really was quite excited.

The restaurant is a set menu affair (with loads of choice) – 4 courses plus tea and coffee for €62.  Well worth the money for such fantastic local produce, prepared and cooked so carefully.

Strawberry Tree
My teal starter

My starter for me really stole the show.  Inspired by the game workshop earlier in the day, I went for teal (small game bird), served with a lentil and carrot salad (pictured).  It was served with a thick rich jus – the flavour from just a small scratch of the sauce was incredible.  It was also this teal dish that provided the most wonderful mouthful of food I mentioned earlier - it was the legs that did it.  Each one was only the size of your little finger but seriously, they were moist and gamey – with a small bit of the jus they were magnificent.

My man had crab fritters served with pink grapefruit.  They weren’t overly crabby as the delicate meat couldn’t really overcome the batter, but a decent dish overall.

The second course was nice and light – my man had a fresh coconut and lemon sorbet, while I went with a feta salad with pomegranate and sunflower seeds.  MMmmm – there was something very wholesome about my second course – I think it was because I could almost taste the earth in the leaves, which went beautifully with the feta.

While I definitely won the battle of the starters, my man won on the mains – his venison wellington was ‘stunning’.  Typically a compliment that it’s ‘grand’ is as much as I get.  It was served with red cabbage and crème fraiche sauce, and another very heavy jus.  We also got a dish of veg – including some roasted beetroot which stopped the veg plate looking too traditional.

I had lemon sole with cous cous and mango.  Two perfectly cooked fillets arrived covered with a delicious sauce.  It was a tasty dish – the mango being the essential element that lifted it – in fact I could have done with just a little bit more of it.

Another very good aspect of my main course was that thankfully it did leave me with room for dessert, like that was ever in question.   A ginger spiced panna cotta with rhubarb was the perfect end to a very romantic birthday meal, thank you my lovely man.