Lunch reviews are not in abundance on TheTaste.ie but every once in a while we have a really great lunch experience that we feel deserves to be shared with our fellow food loving souls. Hartes in Kildare Town was our choice of refuge on a dark autumn afternoon and what a fantastic choice that turned out to be.
The Autumn lunch menu in Hartes reads like a dream, full of hearty, warming and somewhat retro dishes ( hello Chicken Kiev you little beauty). From beginning to end the prices are all very reasonable. €5.50 for freshly made soup of the day to the most expensive dish at €18.00 for Fish & Chips. The quality of food in Hartes is what sees the return of so many loyal locals. Fresh, seasonal and flavour packed offerings are the norm here.
Despite how tempting this menu is, I veered towards the Special’s Board which had what sounded like a delicious concoction and it did not disappoint. A thick slice of soda bread covered in crushed avocado and swathed in silky smoked salmon with crisp and crunchy beansprouts, parsley and sesame seeds with a side of ‘skins’. We could give said ‘skins’ a review all of their own, if I could insert the heart eye emoji here I would! So much lighter than chips yet so much nicer. Wafter thin shavings of crisply fried potato skins, I could eat these every day for the rest of my life. Clearly Executive Head Chef, Barry Liscombe is one of the many pioneering kitchen leaders fully engaged in the zero waste movement. It is important to note that serious effort goes into using every part of a vegetable, fruit even animal. It makes for a more arduous working day so these efforts when done to this level of absolute perfection deserve to be recognised.
My lunch date badly wanted at least 6 of the dishes on offer and finally settled on Fish Croquettes, Organic Salmon & Smoked Haddock, Noodle Salad, Soy & Chilli Dressing €16.00. Flakes of Salmon and Haddock cocooned in fluffy mashed potato all encased in a perfectly crisped breadcrumbed shell. Noodle salad was such a great match for this dish, this is the sort of lunch you actually feel nourished after. Really, really great food.
Having spotted a Bakewell tart on the menu when it was first presented to us, a little dessert was well and truly on the cards. Deciding to share just one made us feel a little somewhat virtuous. Bakewell tart, Raspberry, Pistachio, Rossmore Ice cream €7.50, firstly it was not small and made the aformentioned virtuous feeling evade us. Warm buttery almond flavoured goodness, held together with an incredibly crisp pastry shell. Pistachios and raspberries baked into the tart elevated the texture and flavour to an epic level. Warm raspberry jam topped with dollop of Rossmore Ice cream, what a combination. The real question on both of our lips was, can we buy an entire one of these to take home? We know the team in Hartes have some new and exciting ventures on the horizon and we are ever so hopeful of a Deli and Bakery to be part of that, we will be following progress closely and in the meantime we will have to revisit to work our way through this fantastic menu.
In our experience, a really great lunch can be hard to find in Co Kildare. Hartes is a genuinely great spot for that midweek working lunch or languid weekend indulgence. Warm, friendly staff, statement interiors, cleanliness and above all else, delicious food. We highly recommend a visit to Hartes. We are already planning a longer lunch so that we can sample more of this gorgeous Gastro-Pub’s delights. Its close proximity to Kildare Village Outlet means you can make a full on day out in style in Co. Kildare.
HARTES OF KILDARE
WRITTEN BY KEITH MAHON & OLIVIA BYRNE