Bachelors Walk is a street running along the river Liffey. Its cityscape is dominated by the delicate Ha’Penny Bridge and a parade of popping umbrellas. But the street with a somewhat romantic name is not, nevertheless, named to celebrate unmarried men, but after “some long dead capitalist named Batchelor.” The street name’s unromantic associations aside, you find one of Dublin’s most romantic basement restaurants here, the Italian Terra Madre.
There are many coffee shops, bakeries and restaurants along the Liffey, and Terra Madre must be the least noticeable of them all. The restaurant is situated below the street level, and its only advertisement for the passersby is its open, black iron gate. When I stepped inside, there was only one Italian family talking quietly over their bowls of spaghetti but little by little a few lonely lunchers arrived to occupy the worn-down wooden tables.
After ordering, we were brought pieces of bread with olive oil. The olive oil is made of the soft and fruity Terena Ascolana olives, and the bread was traditional, crusty white bread. The rustic opening was followed by a perfect dish of ravioli and Involtini di Bresaola. Involtini is thinly sliced meat which has a filling rolled inside it. Typically this filling is grated cheese flavoured with, for example, mushroom, garlic or spinach. Bresaola is dried and salted beef. The dishes were delicious yet light, and from the very first forkful you can taste that the ingredients are genuine, flavoursome Italian.
And this is one of the reasons I like Italian food so much: the exact use of ingredients. Few well-chosen, good-quality and fresh ingredient complement each other, they bow and make way to each other’s flavours, and make your mealtime easily enjoyable experience.
Terra Madre takes pride sourcing its ingredients, and I could have easily eaten anything from the menu – although to be fair I have to add that the menu is on the short side and the portions are fairly small. The mains are priced between 10 and 20 euros, and a glass of traditional red wine, made by a Giovanni in Italy according to the menu, costs 6,5€.
The tiny cup of espresso is easily one of the best ones I have had in Dublin, and a special mention must be given to Terra Madre’s trattoria-like atmosphere and the heavenly chocolate salami. Come to think of it, I wonder how I don’t go here more often?