Mulberry’s restaurant, Barna, and cookery lessons in Cava

It has been nearly three years since I was in Mulberry’s restaurant and wine bar and it has changed substantially since then. I remember it as a very large room with a menu of pizzas, pasta, and European dishes.

It is now divided into two areas, with a really cosy and comfy reception area with soft couches and nice atmosphere for having pre dinner drinks, or perhaps coming in for a starter and a glass of wine, or coffee and dessert. The main restaurant has also had a very pleasing makeover and one of the first things you notice is that there is a large space between all tables. The pizzas have gone and there is a serious bias towards fish dishes.

Conveniently it is located next door to a great source of fresh fish; Ali’s Fish Shop, so you can be guaranteed it will be as fresh as it gets. The menu has a good few pasta dishes on the main menu. They also have a takeaway menu with eight different pastas for the reasonable price of €10. If you fancy any dish from the main a-la-carte menu it is also available to take away — for 20 per cent discount.

Mulberry’s has a very attractively priced early bird menu which is available on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evening and all day Sunday from 1pm until 9.30pm. The choice of deals on this menu are €19 for any two courses, €23 for any three courses, and the option for a couple to have three courses each plus a bottle of house wine for €65. There are five starters, nine mains, and a choice of any dessert from the a la carte menu. My pick of those menus is a starter of slow roasted pork belly and beer battered fish and chips.

The evening we arrived was a Thursday and most tables were occupied so the atmosphere was good and lively. A quick glance at the wine list showed that the house wines were well chosen and we picked a nice sauvignon blanc and a pinot grigio (both of which are included in the meal deal for two people ) for €65.

There is also a blackboard with specials of the day, however, we chose mainly from the a la carte menu; tian of crab €9, seared Galway Bay scallops €9, duo of roast monkfish and seared scallops €25, as seen in the picture, plus one from the blackboard — surf ’n’ turf which was fillet steak and large jumbo prawns, €25. One of the reasons I chose the tian of crab is that it can be difficult to get it just right; the crab meat has to be perfect, the amount of mayonnaise also just right, plus a well chosen set of flavourings to highlight the dish and not overshadow the crab. In this case it was excellent and it was a very large portion, I would really recommend it as a perfect snack to have with a glass of white wine and you will be well satisfied for the evening. My companion had the scallops with Clonakilty pudding and cauliflower puree, it was also excellent, particularly with the addition of the puree. My main course of monkfish and scallops consisted of char grilled asparagus and chorizo cream of Clonakilty black pudding mash. It too was excellent and also a very large portion, in fact if I were to return I would not have a starter as it is simply too much food, all excellent. Just a tad too generous for me. My companion’s surf ’n’ turf was also a generous size and the only comment I would say here is that the steak was a little overdone, so if you like it rare or medium rare perhaps it is worth emphasising that when ordering.

Needless to say there are no parking issues at Mulberry’s and if you are a resident of Barna this is a leisurely stroll from most areas around the village. The service is excellent throughout and it is always nice to eat in a restaurant where the owners are on the floor each night. The telephone number is (091 ) 592123 and the restaurant is open every night except Monday.

I met JP from the Cava Spanish restaurant and tapas bar in Dominick Street last week, and he told me about their new cookery classes. If you like some of the tapas in Cava why not go along and learn how to make some at home. It would make a great gift for an individual or indeed a perfect wedding present. The fact that each class is a on a one-to-one basis means you really do come away with the ability to cook the items as JP will insist on you getting your hands dirty. Prices for one person is €60, €95 gets you a cookery class plus lunch and cookery recipe booklet, and €150 gets you the cookery class, lunch, and booklet for two. Telephone (091 ) 539884.

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