|Address||19 Wicklow Street, Dublin 2|
|Phone||((01) 677 7853|
To be a vegetarion is to be a person living a dull, inactive life. No, sorry, wrong word, that’s vegetate, my mistake. Right, best to just get it out in the open – I am part of that carnivorous camp that places the fillet steak on a proverbial pedestal and sees tofu as a cruel joke. Lentils have never been my thing, and vegetarians I view as a foreign being synonymous with hemp clothing and natural footwear. Not always, of course, but mostly.
So, as I reluctantly embarked upon my first vegetarian experience at Cornucopia, I admit it was with a heavy feeling of dread, lessened only by the vaguely comforting knowledge that I had an emergency Peperami in my bag if things got really bad. But as I settled down at my table and looked around at a mixed crowd all tucking enthusiastically into huge piles of healthy delights, my initial doubts melted away into the warm atmosphere and I began to question my days as a cynical carnivore. The ethos of Cornucopia is simple: fresh, healthy ingredients served in abundance. The décor itself is basic: wooden floor, tables and chairs, with stools facing out of the window for those wishing to dine solo. Because the restaurant is relatively small, its size and intimacy make it rather cosy, helped perhaps by the autumnal photos covering the walls and the plates of homely fare piled up in front of you.
Blackboard menus boast a variety of salads, soups, mains courses and puddings, all open on display in glass cabinets beneath, giving you the advantage of seeing your food before you actually buy it. Once you have deciphered which dish is which, you point and choose, and then carry your tray back to your table, canteen style. To start, we had a tomato, basil and coconut soup (€3.45), which was extremely tasty – thick and creamy but a hint of spice to give it some kick, which was complimented nicely by the sweet coconut. Hearty but not bland, which for soup I feel is a triumph in itself.
Next we went for a butternut squash, leek and olive rigatoni bake in a white wine sauce with a feta crust (€12.95), which wasn’t actually as exciting as it sounded. However, the feta crust was a nice touch, and with a bit of added seasoning it was fine but by no means toothsome. It came with a chickpea, beansprout and green bean salad which although certainly healthy, was made bland by the lack of a dressing.
We also tried the sweet potato and pepper tagine (€9), which looked fairly unappetising but was absolutely delicious and was perfectly balanced between sweet and savoury. When it came to desserts we were confronted with an enormously appealing selection but settled with an almond and blueberry tartlet and a date and orange slice (€4.50). Both were gluten and wheat free, and although the tartlet was a delight – sweet, light and scrumptious – the date and orange slice was extremely dry, making it rather hard to get down.
The trick is to choose well, and if in doubt, ask the staff, who are happy to point you in the right direction. With enormously generous portions at student friendly prices (student discounts from Mon-Fri, 3-5pm/7:30-9pm), this is absolutely the place to go when looking for a healthy equivalent to comfort food. I have to say, for meat-loving me to succumb to vegetarianism, be it only for an hour, and to no longer see it as an aberration, is more than enough to make me recommend it to anyone.