One of the main reasons I love Dublin so much is that it is a small city. When something new comes along, be it a clothing shop, restaurant, or stall in the Temple Bar Market, I am pretty quick to know about it. Sometimes there are happy surprises when I discover (or am told about, in this case) a place that has been around for a while, but has remained a mystery to me. Terra Madre is my most recent example of such a delight.
We had dinner there last night with friends who raved about it. They were surprised C and I didn’t know about it as we love food and eating out, so we joined for a pilgrimage together.
Terra Madre is run and owned by Italians. Not the kind of Italians you find in Little Italy, NY (third or fourth generation) but Italians who were born and raised in Italy and want nothing more than to make you their grandmother and mother’s favorite recipes. Far be it for me to tell them not to.
Stepping down off of Bachelor’s Walk into the small low-ceilinged restaurant is like being in someone’s home. Especially if that someone is a first time home buyer and they have quickly furnished with random objects. The tables and chairs are mis-matched tag-sale finds and the place mats are well used. It’s homey. It’s not fancy, but it is CUTE.
The menu is simple. It’s printed on a single A4 sheet of paper. Our waiter had to tell us that two of the items were not available but were replaced with just as delicious sounding options. Usually it’s down to what meat is available on any given day.
The show stopper last night was the special starter: fresh mozzarella creme wrapped in buffalo mozzarella, served with an anchovy, a piece of roast pumpkin, some pesto balls, a sundried tomato and a preserved slice of artichoke. It was decadent and delectable.
C and I each had the same main, which was another special of the day: pappardelle with pork sausage and tomato sauce. It was obviously perfectly cooked. I ate the whole bowl. All the pasta came in miss-matched delft bowls. All the pasta is made fresh in the kitchen.
The wine list is extensive and there are bottles displayed on counter tops around the room. So if, like me, you do like to choose your win by the label, you are able.
The prices are reasonable and the amount of food you get is almost reaching American standards, so you won’t go hungry. It’s good value.
I will certainly be back. It’s great to know there’s another classic, cozy spot to share with friends!