I am not an avid clothes shopper; I avoid it as much as I can, buying online or bulk buying in one or two expensive trips a year. However, recently, necessity called; An important, week-long meeting in Chicago and I with not a stitch to wear.
This meeting is the reason there will be no blog post next week; but despair not, for the weekend after, there will be a special Consumation does Chicago post. I’ve spent longer planning the food hotspots I’ll hit than I have preparing for the meeting, I’m very excited about the pounds I am going to put on, and I look forward to walking you through every delicious morsel.
I digress from the point of this blog post; Clodagh’s Kitchen, the oasis of calm that called to us after four long hours of Saturday morning shopping in Dublin city centre, the day of the Notre Dame/Navy American football game. In retrospect, with the usual 20/20 vision, not the most sensible of ideas.
Laden like pack mules, the last quotient of energy sapped, we arrived at Arnotts to Clodagh McKenna’s venture, a café focused on homemade, locally produced food. More than a little excited to be off the packed streets, I selected the Italian summer salad, with the pate to accompany, as my brother opted for pesto, chicken and sun-blush tomato tagliatelle, and my mother the lamb kofta. Many dishes are marked as gluten free on the menu, but approach with care, as the size of the open kitchen didn’t inspire me with confidence that ingredients could be kept completely segregated.
The place had an odd look to it, as if we were sitting in someone’s front room, but I’m presuming that’s the point. Unfortunately, this homeliness did not extend to the bathrooms – these, a trek downstairs and back through the shop, were dank, dirty and dark, an underground train station feel to them. Arnotts really need to put some effort into renovating these; literally any effort at all would be appreciated.
When I returned, lunch had arrived. The advertised “goat’s cheese toasts” on my salad were two tiny pieces of bread, with a measly scrape of cheese – absolutely pointless – but the rest of the salad was relatively nice; fresh, crisp rocket with a generous serving of parmesan, prosciutto, and pine nuts, with a bright citrus dressing.
The pate, topped with peppercorns, was fantastic – velvet smooth and rich, the sharp apple chutney a delight by itself. Par for course, the amount of bread served was inadequate for the slab of pate, but this was resolved when I asked for more, and was absolutely overwhelmed with the three additional pieces I received. The lamb koftas, although nice, looked like a starter – only five mini meatballs, the bulk of the meal being made up by soggy cumin roast potatoes, and a watery, flavourless tzatziki. A complete disappointment.
Thankfully, the brother fared better, in my opinion. Generally, I avoid pesto, having had too many experiences with the half rancid muck that is sometimes passed off in restaurants, but I couldn’t stop myself stealing strand after strand of the perfectly al dente tagliatelle, smothered in creamy sauce. I was extremely grateful for his dislike of sun blush tomatoes, and hoovered them up, but unfortunately wasn’t able to find a piece of the chicken to try, as so few had been supplied.
Tea for two, served in what appeared to be my grandmother’s best china, and a strong coffee to finish, with a fluffy lemon drizzle cake shared between three; nice, and most definitely lemony being the only words I can think to describe it.
Too long, didn’t read?
Expensive and trying too hard, the meal was unsatisfying, and left a painfully large hole in my (read: my mother’s) purse. The pate was almost, but not quite, justified in costing €7.50, and at the other end of the scale, €6 for the cake was in all respects, risible.
The only acceptable explanation would be that she’s raising money for a new toilet but, unfortunately, I’ve a feeling it’s being pumped back into vintage bone china.
1 starter, 3 mains, 1 dessert, 2 teas, 1 coffee €59
Clodagh’s Kitchen, Floor 2, Arnotts, 12 Henry Street, Dublin 1