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For a generous plateful of classic carvery, this warm and welcoming Dublin eatery is the stuff(ing) of legends, writes Grub Spy Alan Kelly
‘What’s your favourite restaurant?’ is a question I often get asked, and just as often I shy away from giving a straight answer.
The problem is, although I feel privileged to be doing it, any potential favourite will inevitably change from week to week. It’s the happy consequence of ‘reviewing’ so many places. I do have favourite eateries, of course, places I really like and regularly visit.
EDEN HOUSE GASTRO BAR 16 Grange Rd, Haroldsgrange, Dublin 16 Four stars Food: €31.90; Drinks: €6.40
And the reason I prize them so highly is rarely (actually never) about flawless Michelin star food. Think fun, pleasure and relaxation — in other words, homely comfort with dollops of genuine hospitality. And no meal exemplifies that vibe better than a good old-fashioned carvery lunch (carvery dinners don’t really work as well, at least not in my mind).
In fact, on a chilly Sunday afternoon in January, there’s nothing quite as tempting as a carvery. It’s like a reward we give ourselves after that hectic Christmas cooking splurge.
Deciding factors on where we choose are fairly straightforward. Hushed dining rooms with tweezered cuisine never get a look-in.
It’s whopping great piles of roasted meat we want, with lashings of gravy and enough traditional trimmings to get us through the winter.
Apologies to my vegetarian pals and readers, but it’s nigh-on impossible to find a veggie carvery — I guess the clue is in the title.
One place where full-on carvery is given free rein is the Eden House Gastro Bar in Rathfarnham — a handsome rambling establishment that’s been a local must-visit for decades.
On our lunchtime call, the bar is already heaving with a buzz of contented customers enjoying a pint or several as they queue at the steamy glass screen of the mega-busy carvery counter.
On display today is an impressive hunk of prime roast beef, a freshly carved turkey crown with thick slices of honey-glazed baked ham, copious sides of mash and roast spuds, boiled savoy cabbage, chunky carrots, bread stuffing and gravy.
Eyebrows and smiles are raised in equal measure at the sheer size of the portions. Taste-wise we couldn’t wish for more.
The beef is ‘holy cow’ juicy, bursting with meaty flavour and delivering in spades in every department. The turkey and glazed ham too are oozing with juicy deliciousness.
We Irish have a deep appreciation of properly roasted turkey, all too often dry and tasteless when cooked at home — well, at least in our home. Not a worry here.
The roasted spuds are properly crunchy, the carrots nicely al dente, and the cabbage and bread stuffing suitably tasty. A feast worth travelling over hills and motorways for.
Yes, while it might look like a mash-up on a plate (as most carvery meals do) the Eden House offering is the most satisfying, enormously filling and air-punchingly good carvery we’ve sampled in yonks.
Actually, it is so filling we can’t even bring ourselves to look at the dessert menu — not a bad situation considering the mince pies and Christmas pud we’ve already enjoyed over the holiday.
All-in-all, if you need a break from the kitchen, consider a spin to Rathfarnham.