Glebe Gardens: A New Year's Eve to remember...
It was dark, cold and wet when we arrived at Glebe Gardens, in Baltimore, County Cork, on December 31st 2018. After seeing the restaurant mentioned in several guides as one of the best in the area, we booked a table for two on New Year’s Eve.
Sadly, our little guy was going through a bad day and we didn’t really get to enjoy our evening, but in no way was it the fault of the staff or the food that we got served. One of us literally had to mind him outside while the other one was eating inside, and vice versa. But even this pretty unfortunate turn of events didn’t manage to completely spoil our dinner.
We sat down at our table (it had started so well…) in a lovely high-ceiled room tastefully decorated with branches and Christmas lights, giving an almost magical feel to the place. We were given the special New Year’s Eve menu, where everything sounded incredibly appealing. For the comfort of reading, I’ll just talk about the food for the rest of this story, and not the conditions in which it was swallowed, or should I say, shoveled into our mouths so we wouldn’t disturb the other guests and leave as soon as possible. This is the reality of parenting a newborn, sometimes it’s all sparkles and love and tears of happiness, and sometimes it is just a bit shit.
We started with a crab and tomato tart with fennel, made of a delicious homemade shortcrust pastry and a generous proportion of crab meat - an absolute delight. My only regret was to see “tomato” mentioned on a menu in the middle of the winter. But the tart was good anyway.
I then enjoyed the vegetarian option of the menu, a meat-free Wellington, served with a large bowl of root vegetables from the garden. Indeed, Glebe Gardens didn’t steal its name, there is an actual garden beside the restaurant, where the owners grow some incredibly tasty vegetables. My Wellington was like a nut roast encased in gorgeous puff pastry. I particularly enjoyed the texture, which of course wasn’t that of meat, but still has a good chew. And again, those vegetables…
Damien ordered the duck confit, which is usually our favourite dishes and that I often make at home. This one didn’t disappoint, as it was incredibly tender, beautifully cooked and not dry at all. Damien seemed to enjoy his vegetables as well, since I couldn’t see anything left in his plate when it was finally my turn to eat.
Although we were in a hurry, we couldn’t skip dessert - it was New Year’s Eve after all. Saying that the staff were nice and helpful about our annoying dinner situation isn’t doing them justice. They were really kind and even said it wasn’t a problem getting the desserts to takeaway, even though at the end we ate them sitting down at the table - one at a time obviously.
The desserts, anyway: I got the poached pears with meringue and praline, which was like a light deconstructed winter pavlova, a real delight. The meringue was beautifully crispy and chewy, and the soft fruits, the cream and the meringue made for a delicious contrast of texture. The chocolate mousse cake was simpler yet delivered on all fronts : rich in chocolate yet light, and served with a generous dollop of whipped cream.
The prices seemed fair to us, especially on a day where a lot of places overcharge you to eat average food. Starters were between 10 and 12 euros, mains between 20 and 26, and desserts 7.50.
Now, we can’t wait to go back and have a proper evening in this brilliant place, without a little munchkin spoiling our fun.