Italian seems to be the cuisine of choice when I’m in Dublin, I don’t blame the Irish, more so my sister who seems to find the most exquisite restaurants.
On my last visit, our restaurant of choice was Taste of Emilia, which unfortunately is now closed as the owner has moved back to Italy. Although hearing the terrible news, she has now found a new Italian haunt; Terra Madre cafe, located not too far from where Taste of Emilia used to reside.
Walking down a flight of stairs to a basement restaurant is where you’ll find one of Dublin’s hidden gems; a quaint, cosy yet intimate restaurant that feels miles away from Ireland. It’s a perfect place to get away from the city without ever having to leave.
To start we shared the buffalo mozzarella which was packed full of flavour but sharing between three was a little optimistic. It’s not a dish you want to share, trust me. Scattered with salty anchovies, olives and then drizzled with an aromatic olive oil, it was a great start to what was yet to come.
For our second shared starter we chose a meaty option; involtini de bresaola or salted beef wrapped around celery and scattered with parmesan.
The salted beef was thin, full of flavour but I would have preferred the beef served by itself rather than celery as the celery seemed a little redundant.
On the night of dining, the original dish of papperdella with wild boar was unavailable so instead the waiter informed us we could have papperdella with rabbit ragout instead.
Meaty, full of flavour and enough parmesan to keep everyone happy it was more than I could have asked for with each ribbon of pasta beautifully cooked and the rabbit tender and rich.
Now the dish that seemed to have stolen everyone’s heart was the dish I wouldn’t have ordered for myself. I have nothing against vegetarian dishes but I personally tend to go for a more meaty option (damn the carnivore in me). Instead my sister ordered the ravioli del plin with black truffle and cheese fondue for my main course. My hands were tied.
I seemed to have learnt many things that evening; firstly that vegetarian dishes can just be as good as their meat counterpart and secondly, but most importantly, that food should be cherished. Now I for one have a terrible habit of wolfing things down. My father is continuously telling me off when I go back t’north (even at the grand old age of 26) and yet with each morsel of ravioli, there isn’t any other way it could be eaten. To truly appreciate the beautiful black truffle, perfectly cooked pasta and the strong, slightly fruity cheese each moment had to be savoured. It was a delightful dish that with it’s simplicy, speaks volumes about Italian cuisine.
My excitement on visiting Dublin is always met with great food thanks to my sister who is apt with a great knowledge and appreciation of food and Terra Madre Cafe was no different. The waiters feel like old friends, the foods intense flavours dance on your palate for the rest of the evening but most of all, the restaurant itself has an air of love surrounding it. There’s not many places that can win you over so quickly but Terra Madre, I’m all yours.
– Terra Madre Cafe, Dublin