I’ve been looking forward to trying Terre Madre having heard so many good things about it but it’s taken me far too long to actually get around to eating there. Luckily, I’d a day off work after the Bank Holiday in August so I took my chance and it was worth the wait. The restaurant itself is tiny, I’d say twenty covers at most but thankfully it was very quiet and there was room for us and our buggy. Also tiny is the menu comprising just two starters and three mains (normally four but the gricia wasn’t on this day).
We shared a starter of bruschetta topped with Lardo di Colonnata, a fabulous ingredient that deserves to be more widely used; cured lard might not sound particularly appetising but when it’s sliced so thin as to be translucent it melts instantly in your mouth leaving a finish of lovely earthy herbs.
Next up I had the gnocchi with a ragu of shredded rabbit that was fabulous, the sort of sauce you normally only get in Italy and yet the dumplings weren’t drowned in it as is often the case in Irish-Italian restaurants. My son had the gnocchi as well (although a half portion with plain tomato instead) and even though he can’t talk yet the empty plate said it all. Pauline ordered the linguine which had a Sardinian sausage laced with pungent wild fennel mixed through the sauce; the pasta was very al dente, again like you would get in Italy, and all the better for it. A glass of the house red (a Montepulciano) was excellent too.
Initially, we weren’t going to get dessert but decided to share the fruit salad (the other choice was a layered chocolate cake) of peaches and these beautiful apricots the waiter informed us they import especially and that are only in season for about month. It was a really refreshing way to end the meal.
Service throughout was exceptional, when we got the bill we told my son’s food was on the house and he was also given one of the apricots to have all to himself as well when he’d finished his gnocchi: a really nice touch, I thought. I would go as far to say that this is some of the best Italian food I’ve ever had in Ireland and at very reasonable prices too: our whole meal came in at under €40 including two glasses of wine.