Review of 1826 Adare, Co. Limerick – Published Food & Wine Magazine February 2014

18261826 Adare

Main Street, Adare, Co. Limerick

Tel: +353(0)61 396004

www.restaurant1826.ie

 

The clue is in the name with restaurant 1826.  The cottage it calls home is old – one hundred and eighty eight years old to be exact – and the offering, like its name, is simple.

A relatively new arrival to the tiny town of Adare, Co. Limerick, the interior of this restaurant is labyrinth-like, with narrow hallways giving way to low-ceilinged rooms.  Small windows are recessed into thick whitewashed walls, overhung with rustic burlap drapes. Traditional Irish elements are added with a restrained hand; a cast iron kettle here, an old spinning wheel there.

Ushered in by a smiling hostess – one half of the husband and wife owners – we found ourselves seated in a warm, inviting room scattered with a few  wooden tables, indulging us with ample room for quiet conversation.

Nibbling on a selection of traditional breads, we perused the extensive menu and list of local suppliers before deciding on the delicious-sounding specials.

My dining partner’s choice of brown bread baked scallops (€12.50) proved to be a very refined dish, the plump shellfish and beautiful presentation cocking a snook at my altogether more simple but abundantly flavoured wild mushroom soup (€5.50).

The wintery night led us both to game, beginning with a spellbinding loin of Sika Venison (€25.95).  Expertly prepared and cooked, the peppery exterior gave way to delicate but firm pink flesh inside.   The colourful arrangement of roast squash purée and crisp sprout leaves lent a playful twist to this serious dish, while a tangy elderberry vinegar cut beautifully through the earthy, meaty flavours.

My choice of breast of wild pheasant was an interesting one – the taste was mild, but the texture a little rough and ready.  The struggle with this meat is its tendency to dry out, but the wise addition of coco beans, leeks, shredded leg, Ballyhoura mushrooms and a robust walnut cream bolstered the dish, developing an almost stew-like consistency. My glass of Chilean Merlot (Lontue Valley, €6.50) held its own admirably against these rich flavours.

Continuing in the traditional vein, I rounded off my meal with generous wedges of farmhouse cheeses (€9.00), encompassing Milleen, Cratloe Hills, Gubbeen and Crozier Blue paired with chutney and a few slices of achingly tart granny smith apples.

Much needed sweetness came with my companion’s brulée and mixed berry sorbet (€6.95).  The use of crème fraîche imbued this tried and tested dish with a refreshingly light texture, the crisp topping providing the perfect sugary contrast.

The unpretentious décor and warm hospitality of 1826 serves to lull the diner into a false expectation of simple home cooking.  Do not be fooled though; with carefully sourced ingredients, an experienced, dexterous hand in the kitchen and real, tangible connection with the food, 1826 is a class act with a bright future ahead.

 

1826 lambOpen: Wed – Sat: 17:30 – 21:00, Sun: 15:00 – 21:00

 

We loved the gentle hospitality, local provenance and expertly prepared dishes

We spent €97.85 on three courses and two glasses of wine

 

 

Photographs mine and from 1826 Facebook page

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