Several friends rated this place highly - but as vegetarians, himself and I are often left underwhelmed by the token veggie dish on the menu of most restaurants. We're not hard to please, but when I go out I want to eat something special that I don't cook regularly myself. Anyway, I remembered Warren Gillen's award winning mushroom risotto a few years ago during his time at La Riva - yum - so was looking forward to my first visit to Cistin Eile.
Vegetarians know better than to expect choice on a menu, but there were two veggie starters - my husband and one of our companions had the mushroom soup and said it was amazingly good. I loved my dainty beetroot and goat's cheese - crunchy and tasty. Our main course was spicy Puy lentils with various additions including a poached egg on top. Sounds a little strange I know but we both thought it was great. 10/10 for presentation and flavour.
The dessert menu didn't do the desserts justice. I chose the apple crumble because I wasn't sure I fancied the other options, but it was petite and gorgeous (I also sneaked some of husband's rum and raisin ice cream which zinged). Service was pleasant, friendly, well-paced and not obtrusive. My companions said the wine was good - and their two bottles didn't break the bank either. The (set) menu for 4 + 2 bottles house wine and a glass of sparkling water came to €132 so can't complain.
Just a couple of observations - not enough to mark this excellent restaurant down from 5 well-deserved stars, but perhaps worth just mentioning. The waiter had to be reminded to bring my sparkling water - so while everyone else was toasting each other with wine, I was left with an empty glass. I'm sure this was just an oversight, but I feel everyone should be looked after equally.
I also wonder whether it is entirely necessary or sensible for a waiter to fill everyone's glass - including when the second bottle arrives. This never happens in France where wine is simply left on the table for people to help themselves as they wish, rather than encouraging them to drink more. I know most restaurants in Ireland follow this practice, but with stricter drink driving laws, maybe it's time to change, Warren?
Still, top marks and I'll be back there soon!
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