Fern House Cafe, Avoca

I met my friend, Trudie, at Fern House Cafe on a chilly February afternoon. She arrived typically early and untypically freezing. (It turns out her brand new car has no heating). Trudie and I have been friends since the first day of secondary school, although I was very suspicious of her patent leather shoes and over-eager pony talk to begin with. We have  been giving eachother advice on make-up (never wear blue eyeshadow), fashion (boobs or legs, but not both) and boys (don’t share) for almost two decades now. However, now that we are mature, educated women, our tips for eachother revolve more around mortgages, wedding venues and good restaurants… Which brings me back to the Fern House Cafe…

This cafe is part of the Avoca mega-machine, but that does not mean it is predictable. Far from it! It is situated in a beautiful room that was built to replicate a Victorian fern house. The high ceilings and huge sash windows flood the room with light, and the tables are nicely spaced out. It also has table service and a regularly changing menu.

I ordered the Butternut squash and sweet potato fritters with a feta and mixed leaf salad, lemon preserve yoghurt, caramelised onion hummus and grilled pita. It was divine!

fritters with pita bread, salad and dips

Butternut squash and sweet potato fritters with a feta and mixed leaf salad, lemon preserve yoghurt, caramelised onion hummus and grilled pita

The fritters were creamy and warm, the two dips were perfectly seasoned and the tartness of the lemon complemented the hummus perfectly. It is probably the best vegetarian meal I have ever eaten. Even the salad was inspired, with a gorgeous mix of leaves, a very light dressing and a sprinkle of flaked almonds.

Trudie went for the ‘Poulet Bonne Femme’ Rotisserie chicken, which came with a salad of green vegetables as well as chimchurri sauce. It was also delicious. The chicken was well-seasoned and juicy and although the vegetables seemed to be an unusual partner, it all worked very well together.

half chicken with chimchurri

green bean and mange tout saladTo finish up, we shared the trio of mini desserts, which was pretty steep at €9.50. There was a chocolate mousse, a lemon panacotta, and a rhubarb pannacotta. the chocolate mousse was good, but the lemon and rhubarb desserts seemed almost identical apart from the colour of the jelly on top. Although they tasted nice, I expected something amazing for the price.

trio of desserts

In total, the bill was €49.20 including two coffees. Not cheap, but the quality of the main courses was excellent, and the fact that they are constantly changing the menu shows that they are not resting on their laurels. I would definitely recommend it for a special lunch and I hear that they do dinner on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays too!

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