Hidden down Mulberry Lane in the grounds of a cottage dating back to 1911 you will find the unassuming but brightly coloured doorway to Mullberry Garden.
The restaurant opened in 2011 and is only open to the public Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 6p.m. for dinner. It is also available for private hire outside of these times. I was invited as a guest to try out the Tasting Menu on a Thursday evening. The chef, a very talented Tom Doyle changes the menu every week. Tom emails the new menu out to customers in advance (subscriber list), and it’s not just a five line email either. He takes the time to describe each dish, the inspiration behind them and where the ingredients are sourced, all locally I might add. I don’t know of any other restaurant which has a chef going to that level of detail. Having met him during my visit, his passion for his menu’s comes across very clearly, not to mention his friendly and engaging nature. He loves food and every dish is laced with that love.
On arrival we were greeted by Claudio who settled us in the outdoor area of Mulberry Garden. It happened to be a lovely evening out and garden area which is courtyard style with the restaurant wrapping around it was the perfect place to sit back relax and unwind before dinner.
They have an extensive cocktail menu, so if you do visit, go early so you can enjoy a few before dinner in the alfresco surrounds.
I opted for the Green Pear which is made with Chartreuse, fresh basil, lemon juice and fresh pear. H opted for the Mulberry Kick which is their signature cocktail, made of infused vanilla vodka, fresh lemon, pomegrante and blueberry juice served in their glass within a glass. Both were refreshing and a great way to start off the evening.
Something quite nice about how they welcome guests is the fact that you are not rushed in and out. You can visit early and relax with drinks and then be shown to your table for dinner and you are also welcome to retire back to the courtyard after dinner to continue your evening. It didn’t have that feel of just filling a time slot for two hours before you are sent on your way. It’s leisurely dining.
After cocktails we were shown to our table to begin the indulgence that would be our culinary journey for the evening. We kicked off with some fresh baked bread with herb butter which was excellent.
Then came an off menu extra of baked potato skins with piped chicken liver parfait which was delivered to the table on a stone. Bite sized crips skins with rich creamy parfait.
The first dish on the official tasting menu was described as Local Cabbage. I’m not sure the name done it justice. The Art of Cabbage may have been more suitable. The dish was a variety of types of cabbage coupled with Oysters. I have to admit I’m not an oyster fan and having a farming background I’m quite familliar with a few varieties of cabbage. Let me tell you, this was not cabbage boiled to within an inch of its life. It was fresh, tasty and the differant textures worked very well. The roughness of the savoy was offset nicely by the sweetness of the Kohlrabi. Who knew cabbage existed without being accommpanied by a lump of salty bacon.
This was followed by Glazed Ox Cheek with local beetroot, tarragon, spiced bread crumbs and beet leaves. The Ox cheek, if I remember correctly was slow cooked for hours to make it melt in the mouth tender. I know it was a tasting menu but I absolutely wanted more of this. It was delicious.
Not to be out done by those on land, representing the sea we tucked into Roast Cod Loin with potato, brown shrimp, trompettes (mushrooms), chard leaf, baked potato and bacon foam with a citrus herb oil. Again some great textures. Soft flaked cod with the more chewy nature of the brown shrimp. I actually could taste the bacon off the foam, but I’m not a big fan of the whole foam movement I have to say. At this point it was one all between the land and the sea. Both great dishes.
Next came Free Range Chicken with smoked potato mouse, tarragon oil, confit wing, grilled leek and roasting jus. In fairness chicken sounded a little dull against the ox and cod but I’m happy to report it was not the case at all. Perfectly cooked. Extremely tasty. That wirey looking creation in the middle was actually fried leek root and quite nice. Never thought I’d be saying that. The smoked potato mouse was soft, creamy and not overly filling (in a good way).
Moving onto the dessert section of the menu we were presented with Poached Plums, plum jelly, vanilla cream, biscuit crumb and star anise ice-cream. You can from the picture below it was presented beautifully. I’ve never had a poached plum before and while I did absolutely enjoy them, I probably wouldn’t count them among my must have again desserts, but that is a personal choice. The star anise ice-cream I’m happy to say was not too overpowering and the smooth cream vanilla with the biscuit crumb worked exceptionally well.
While working our way through the menu we shared a bottle of Chilean Sav Blanc (€24). By share I mean I drank most of it as H was designated driver. I’m no wine connoisseur and tend to stick to white wine myself but the wine list appears to have been chosen carefully and has a red and white selection to suit every taste and wallet.
To finish off the evening we chose from the selection of hand crafted Irish cheeses. They were served on a large wooden board with honeyed walnuts, mustard pickled vegetables, caraway crackers and the biggest pot of honey I’ve ever seen.
To sum it up I would describe Mulberry Garden as fine dining without the rigidness that often accompanies it. We spent three and half hours in the surrounds of this restaurant. That is leisurely, enjoyable dining without question. The service was impeccable. Anna described every dish to us as she delivered it to the table. Claudio was an excellent host and Tom who took the time to visit around the various tables and have a chat with the diners. The tasting menu is priced at €60 per person, and I consider that great value considering the range of food on offer, the service and the enjoyable atmosphere. I will be returning again without question. This is probably one of my most positive reviews (and I am a newbie blogger) to date and well deserved.
*As we were guests for the evening food was complimentary, the drinks we covered ourselves. The review is fair and honest of the experience I had*