Monday, 17 March 2014

St. Patrick's Dessert Delight at the Claddagh Oyster House

Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit!

Or...for all those non Gaelic speakers out there, a very Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all!

St. Pat's day on P.E.I. is a big deal. Everyone goes out in green with their most cheerful smiles and give out happy greetings and well wishes. We really catch the spirit here and everyone who can, celebrates in their own special way. Whether it be with green beer, lively music, traditional foods or any other assortment of Irish themed activities.

Me? Well, I decided to have my own sort of St. Patrick's Day celebration and that was to head down to The Claddagh Oyster House and satisfy my taste for sweets at one of the Island's most popular St. Patrick's Day destination. And while the party went on upstairs at the Ole Dublin, the Claddagh was the perfect fine-dining atmosphere with lilting Irish tunes and absolutely deliciously rich desserts.

I had never actually been to the Claddagh before today and while I'd passed it's door many ways on the stairs up to the Ole Dublin Pub, I was truly impressed when walking inside. The first thing that left my lips was "wow". It's warm and inviting with rich woods, a lovely fireplace and feature water wall. Talk about celebrating St. Patrick's Day in style.

I went for the gusto and actually had two of their house made desserts, an Almond and Pear Tart and White Chocolate and Raisin Bread Pudding. Two uniquely decadent desserts both prepared with truly impressive skill by Chef Mitchell.

First, was the Almond and Pear Tart with house made hazelnut butter ice cream... My head is swimming with delight just tying the name. Take a look at this elegantly plated masterpiece!

The rich and creamy, the ice cream atop of this tart, had that signature house made lusciousness. The smoothness and purity of the hazelnut flavor made it a perfect balance only to be topped when paired with the rest of the dessert. The crust was like nothing I'd ever had before, the edges were candied with light sugar and it was like a rich cloud, enveloping the sweet pears and almonds within it. The pears, which were, mind you, perfectly tender and sweet (which essentially means nirvana to a pear lover like me.)

Every aspect of this dessert paired perfectly with the next and all together created a truly lovely combination of tastes. The nuts gave a heartiness, while the pears and ice cream were fresh, the two balancing each other like a complimentary couple. Plated with elegance (and deliciousness candied nuts), I couldn't have asked for anything better...

But! Yes, there's a but. You can't forget that this was my double the decadence and while there could be nothing better, a dessert that was just as charming (but in an entirely different way) was on it's way.

And that, my dear, was the White Chocolate and  Raisin Bread Pudding with...wait for it...Irish Whisky, Brown Sugar Sauce! Oh, and if that wasn't enough, there's vanilla whipped cream too. Seriousy, Claddagh, seriously?! Are you trying to make me live in your restaurant? Because after all this, I really, really wanted to.

I mean, wouldn't this make you want to move in too?

That's what I thought...
This was a classic dessert, made decadent with an Irish twist. Bread Pudding, while being an old fashioned delicacy, has been made into something beautiful with carefully updated flavors. The serving is so generous that I would easily recommend it to any couple wanting to add a sweet ending on their meal. This is truly a dessert that warms the heart.
Soft and tender, this Bread pudding has that subtle hint of white chocolate creaminess. The whole thing filled with just the right amount of plump, juicy raisins and delicate spices, make it like the soul food of desserts. That's what makes the whipped cream it's perfect mate, with it's rich smoothness, soothing vanilla and light airiness.
And on top of and surrounding the bread pudding was a sauce so sweet, so rich and so whiskey kissed that I feel there aren't adequate words to express it's luxuriousness. Velvety and warm, the perfect thing to satiate your grown-up sweet tooth and the ideal dessert to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. I enjoyed it's heady flavor with a sort of dessert inspired abandon, just living in and with that moment.
So, you see? I had the best St. Patrick's Day ever and I didn't even need one sip of green beer. Instead, I enjoyed the sweeter side of the day and I encourage everyone and anyone who appreciates yummy or otherwise mind-blowing good desserts to go to the Claddagh Oyster House.
I also want to give a big shout out to Nicole, my waitress who was so kind, along with all the other girls at the Oyster House. She was genuine and I felt truly welcomed by her bright hospitality. Thanks for being awesome, Nicole, because you've got it down to an art!

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