I have been itching to visit The Gardener’s Cottage since its opening in June. My less than subtle hints finally paid off – my friends kindly treated me to birthday brunch this afternoon!
Nestled in Royal Terrace Gardens, the cottage is co-owned by chefs Dale Mailley and Edward Murray, who both have commendable and illustrious backgrounds. First impressions don’t get much better – the quaint listed cottage is flanked by rows of fresh herbs and vegetables. Inside is a true treasure – diners are communally seated at great wooden tables in two small dining rooms, the room on the left commanding a front row view of the small kitchen. Decor is simple and charming.
Great emphasis is placed on integrity and quality of ingredients – the simple but satisfying cooking reflecting this ethos. The restaurant operates a daily changing set menu for lunch and dinner, with a limited choice for brunch.
Homemade Tagliatelle with Black Pudding and Walnuts was delicious. The pasta beautifully light (no mean feat) and the crumbled black pudding not overpowering. The wonderful flavour of charred walnuts was joined by the faintest whiff of leek.
Dressed crab was traditional and simple but satisfying – save for the few pieces of shell astray in the fresh meat. The quality of crab was second to none, gloriously sweet. Perhaps this would have benefitted from a big chunk of the lovely bread I spied in the kitchen. Mutton stew was equally as good.
Pear tartlet with cinnamon custard was light – the pastry perfectly thin and crisp. A touch more cinnamon wouldn’t have gone a miss.
The Gardener’s Cottage is refreshingly simple. The service informal and the food satisfying. Expert sourcing of the best ingredients is commendable and should be highlighted on the menus. Communal dining may not be for everyone but it is perfectly suited to the small and relaxed space. The Gardener’s Cottage is a welcome addition to a city with a glut of pretentious restaurants. For a comforting lunch or supper, you would be hard pressed to find much better in the Capital.
The Gardener’s Cottage
Dress Code: Casual