Sometimes it’s difficult for a restaurant to live up to expectations. Difficult but not impossible. I’ve wanted to visit Canteen for a long time. I first heard about it in Catherine Cleary’s review in The Irish Times back in July 2014 (read it here) and it’s been on my list of places to go ever since. Blackrock isn’t the easiest place for me to travel to for a meal, so it remained on the list for some time before closing in late 2015 to relocate to Celbridge, Co. Kildare. Now being a little closer, it shot to the top of the list but for one reason or another, it’s taken us until now to visit.
We book in for the early evening menu (Tuesday – Thursday 5.30 pm to 6.50 pm) which consists of 2 courses for €25 or 3 courses for €28. I’m told while booking, they will need the table back after 2 hours which is okay by me – Love Island is on at 9 pm and Ali (ahem, and I) wants to be home for it. We arrive at 5.45 pm and are seated halfway down the restaurant. It’s quite small (although not near as small as their last premises) and stylishly furnished with shades of grey, lots of wood and beautiful light fixtures. The menu is short – just three choices per course but that shouldn’t cause too much trouble as there is something for everyone.
I decide on the Terrine of Rabbit, Pickled Radish, Candied Walnuts to start. The service is exceptionally quick and within a few minutes our starters arrive. The terrine is rich, meaty and is cut perfectly by the pickled radish and candied walnuts. Everything on the plate is expertly seasoned and beautifully presented – a great start. Our plates are cleared soon after we’ve finished and after just another few minutes, our main courses are served. My Braised Lamb Shoulder, Barley, Parsley and Garlic is the star of the evening. The lamb is tender, so tender in fact, I don’t need my knife – the blunt side of my fork does the job perfectly. Perfectly seasoned, it’s matched wonderfully by the barley with just a hint of garlic to compliment. The side dishes of potatoes and vegetables are equally impressive – I’m often frustrated by the lack of effort afforded to vegetable accompaniments but not here.
I’m a little torn on what to order for dessert. I love a cheese board but I’ve been so impressed with the cooking that I don’t want to miss out. I decide on the Lemon Parfait, Hazelnut Dacquoise, Praline Cream. The parfait is just as I was hoping, it’s tangy, sour and contrasts perfectly with the sweet praline cream. We finish with a coffee, Baobab Linda, my favourite!
Midway through our coffee I check the time. Barely an hour since we walked through the door and we are ready to go! This speaks volumes for the service as not once did we feel rushed. The staff are friendly and efficient and although the restaurant wasn’t full, it runs like a well oiled machine. We leave at 7 pm, happy in the knowledge that we’ll be well home and settled for another evening of Chris and Kem’s hilarious Love Island antics.
Very Highly Recommended
Canteen 4 Main Street Celbridge Co. Kildare 01 627 4967 firstname.lastname@example.org www.canteencelbridge.com