Sunday lunch at the Tea Rooms, Barbarstown Castle, Co Kildare

Barbarstown castle were advertising a new Bistro menu in their Tea Rooms Restaurant so I was excited to check it out and booked Sunday lunch with a friend. I’m still new to this blogging business and not thrilled about the idea of whipping out my camera in the middle of lunch so no photos were taken.

tea_rooms_Brbstwn

Tea Rooms at Barbarstown Castle

It was another wet and miserable Sunday but the Tea Rooms are bright and cheerful and warm with a beautiful grant piano at the entrance and plenty of plush sofas for relaxing. It has a calm feel and part of the peacefulness came from the lack of children. They say that children are welcome but the Tea Rooms are not suitable for  under 12s and children should be quiet and remain seated. That might not be convenient for some, but I think the ambience does benefit.

For lunch, I had the Gorgonzola & Walnut Ravioli which was very tasty. The portion size was spot-on so it was satisfying without being too filling. To finish I had the Chocolate Fudge Cake and Irish Breakfast Tea. The other tea options on the menu were Darjeeling, Earl Grey and Green Tea. I’m always a bit dubious about going for a Darjeeling when I’m out and for some reason, I like Irish Breakfast Tea with chocolate. They just go well together :-). Unfortunately, it was a very ordinary teabag. I don’t know what brand it was – there was no string or label. I considered the rest of the meal was very good value but expected much better quality tea for €3.30, especially in a place called the Tea Rooms.

Corrib House Tea Rooms – Galway

This was my second lunch stop in Galway. It is situated overlooking the corrib river just a few minutes walk out of town. From the outside it looks like a regular residential house but inside it is a beautifully restored, high-ceilined, bright cafe that is split over two rooms.

Corrib House Tea Rooms

Corrib House Tea Rooms (Source)

The views over the weir and the lack of traffic make it very peaceful and just to add to the ambience, the fire was lighting the day that I was there. Most tables were taken at three o’clock and it seemed to be mostly locals having late lunches.

Corrib House Cake Selection

Corrib House Cake Selection

I had the tomato, roast mushroom, hummus and goats cheese on brown bread (they love their brown bread in Galway). The thick, heavy, homemade bread was tasty and went well with the toasted mushrooms, hummus and salad but I think it would have been a nicer lunch without the goats cheese on top of it all. I was too full to try the baked goods/scones but they looked delicious. If I had looked more carefully on the way in I might have skipped lunch and gone straight for desert.

The tea menu had nine choices of tea but the selection of teas was carefully thought out to accomodate all tastes so that it didn’t feel like a limiting menu. There were three black teas (two assam/darjeeling blends and an earl grey), a green tea, a jasmine, a rooibos chai, a peppermint, a fruit blend and a herbal relax tea (which was probably a chamomile though it didn’t say). I had  the “afternoon tea” which is a assam/darjeeling blend. The loose tea came in a large teapot and after a minute or so, gave a lovely crisp, light tea. Then I proceeded to tie myself up in the usual knot: I’ve waited a few minutes for the tea to steep, I’m enjoying my first cup of the lovely tea but all the while I’m drinking all I can think about is that the rest of the pot of tea is still steeping and starting to get bitter. I try to work out the volume per second that I’ll need to drink to get all the tea out of the pot in the next two minutes. It does not involve sipping lazily. My other option is to start fishing the tea leaves out of the pot but I probably won’t get half of them out and stirring and fishing isn’t going to help the situation. So I enjoy the first and second cup and add milk to the rest to mask the bitterness.

I went for a walk by the river after lunch and noticed that the departure point for the Galway river cruise is just one minute away which makes the Corrib House Tea Rooms  ideal  for a quick lunch or afternoon tea if you are taking a cruise. Even if you are not, this tea room is well worth a visit.

Location on Google maps.

 

Cupán Tae – Galway

Cupán tae is located at the Spanish Arch in Galway. Being in such a prime location I’ve passed it several times, expecting it to be a regular tourist cafe.

Cupán tae - Galway

Cupán tae – Galway (Source)

The cafe was pretty busy when I arrived. Most tables were taken but there was one left between the window and a young couple. The tables are really close together so despite the background jazz music I felt  like I was joining the couple on my left for their romantic lunch. It was impossible not to hear every single word. I tuned it out as best I could but at one stage the guy said “Look at that – it’s raining”. Without thinking, I cursed myself for forgetting my umbrella and looked up from my paper to check how heavy it was. I think the three of us realised at the same time what had just happened. The rest of lunch was spent in whispers (them) and intense paper reading (me)!

The atmosphere in the cafe is farmhouse style cosy. The floral teacups and mismatched fine china makes it feel like tea in someones’ sitting room (except with really good food). For lunch I had the goats cheese salad which was four large pieces of goats cheese covered in crumbled nuts with sides of honey, red onion relish, salad and brown bread.  It was absolutely gorgeous.

Teapots - Cupán Tae

Teapots – Cupán Tae (Source)

The tea menu is fairly extensive but with a definite emphasis on flavoured teas and herbal infusions rather than non-flavoured traditional teas (tea menu here). The loose-leafed tea is served in large tea-pots and left to steep in the pot so I chose the organic pu ehr (doesn’t get bitter/astringent when it’s left steeping for a long time). It wasn’t a high quality pu ehr but it was fine.

My lunch including the tea was €11.60 which I thought was great value. The afternoon tea was advertised as €12 for sandwiches, scones, pastries and tea and would be well worth investigating. Overall, the place was very snug and homely and while it’s not the best for teas or private conversations (!) it is well worth a visit for the excellent food, good value and a cosy ambience.