There’s no shortage of places to eat out out in Terenure, with Indian, Chinese, Thai, Mediterranean and Italian cuisines all on offer. But there’s always room for quality and Paul Breen’s aptly named Lovely Food Company proves the point well.
Situated on the main Terenure Road West, its smart modern frontage is appealing and - with doors flanked by standard bay trees and and gleaming plate glass windows allowing a tantalising glimpse of the tables set up invitingly inside - it’s hard to resist popping in to have a look. And, once hooked by the welcoming ambience and truly lovely food, most customers will go back time and again.
It’s always busy and no wonder. There’s something special about this little place – the buzz of customers enjoying the excellent food and friendly, efficient service is part of the charm, but it’s more than that as this small gourmet café has brought vitality to the whole area since it opened in August 2011.
The day begins with smoothies, the ‘Lovely Irish’ - a tempting rendition of the classic, with two free range eggs, Irish bacon, Loughnanes sausages, Clonakilty black & white pudding, grilled tomato, breakfast mushroom, baked beans and Bretzel bakery toast – or perhaps warm French toast with various toppings.
Lunch - including Sunday lunch, which is all about relaxing over good food and a glass of wine - offers a choice of speciality sandwiches, wonderful salads as well as stuffed chicken with baby leaves and cranberry mayo, or carved beef with roasted red onion or a yellow fin tuna melt. Lying in wait for afters – or to accompany an afternoon tea or coffee - is a mouthwatering selection of homemade desserts, cakes, scones and muffins.
Dinner (Wednesday to Saturday) offers specialities including eight-hour slow braised pork belly with mash, savoy cabbage, thyme jus and apple & honey compote, and maybe a vegetarian ‘jungle curry’ of new potato, butternut squash, chick pea and coriander with basmati rice and garlic naan.
Although more information on provenance would be welcome, some products are name-checked and there’s an obvious commitment to quality – and most dishes are gluten free or have gluren free options available.
The wine list is short, with just six whites and seven red with all major wine groups represented. House wine is €19.95, glass €5 (€4 at lunch time).
Long opening hours mean there’s always something going on at this well run restaurant, which has become a focal point in the area. A true neighbourhood restaurant.
* Cookery classes held every Monday night.