I spent the Bank Holiday weekend stuffing my face with vegan food at an incredibly relaxing and hugely inspiring non-religious beach retreat. We were lucky enough to be fed by Mary Farrell, owner of Cafe Fresh in Dublin’s Powerscourt Centre and author of what I think is the best vegetarian cookbook around.
Mary was asked to cater for every real and imagined allergy and intolerance, and for some people who pay far too much attention to the likes of bogus “nutritionists” such as Patrick Holford. She had a tough job: preparing not just meat-free food, but also sugar, gluten, and dairy free, as well as low salt, and somehow make it taste good (oh, and there was no caffeine there either).
No bother. Farrell prepared gorgeous salads and soups, a delicious Spicy Kidney Bean and Vegetable Burger, a Puy Lentil and Vegetable Cottage Pie, and a surprisingly tasty Quinoa Porridge. She was really approachable, enjoyed talking to the group, and told us about our food without being preachy. Healthy as it was, I did notice the absence of sugar, salt, caffeine, and dairy from my diet; I missed them by the end of the two and a half days despite being indifferent to over two weeks without any meat in India.
As it happens, Cafe Fresh is marking its tenth birthday this week. From today until Saturday June 11, the cafe is celebrating by offering a 25 per cent discount on all main dishes. It’s a good chance to try out this very special little vegetarian haven.
Farrell has also produced a new recipe booklet, which will be available from Saturday in the cafe, and the restaurant has now calorie counted all its dishes – an attractive prospect for dieters.
- Cafe Fresh, Top Floor, Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, South William Street, Dublin 2. Email email@example.com for details of private catering.