The Carrigdhoun were lucky enough to be invited to a Christmas tasting in The Lodge Bar & Kitchen, hosted by Aisling McCarthy of Bits & Bites.
The Lodge is a timeless venue and has been enjoyed by locals and visitors since it reopened after a major renovation in 2017. Owner, Paul O'Brien has perfectly combined the cheerfulness of a traditional Irish pub with the tastes of the world.
The Lodge capitalises on its location during the sunnier months. Its beer garden is the go-to spot for a pint and a pizza on a hot summer's day with its breathtaking views of Myrtleville beach combined with the salty sea air. However, at this time of year, the interiors and atmosphere transform into a cosy and festive setting for all to enjoy.
From gourmet pizzas to creamy curries, head chef Vikrant Naidu, originally from India, has been cooking up a storm in the Lodge since March 2020. Vikrant and his team cooked up a storm.
The Lodge Bar & Kitchen plays on its strengths. With a range of highly skilled chefs hailing from India, the menu is brimming with delicious and authentic Indian dishes, and Vikrant and his team treated diners to a range of dishes, including Samosa Chaat, Lamb Rendang, and Pork Vindaloo Bites during the event.
The room was decorated with festive decorations, creating the perfect Christmas atmosphere. We were entertained by a group of local singers and musicians and even got a surprise visit from the main man himself, Santa! Santa was so kind he brought us all a baileys hot chocolate.
Throughout the winter months, The Lodge hosts an array of tasting experiences. In October and November, the Lodge hosted an Indian food heritage event and an Asian street food event, respectively. In December, they held a tasting of their new fusion menu.
As a local and regular visitor to the Lodge, I advocate for their Pizza Con Patate and Dirty Bird Burger. A self-confessed creature of habit, I never stray too far from what I know I like. During the tasting, I was forced to step out of my comfort zone. I sampled Pork Gyoza and Spanakopita. I surprised myself by wanting more.
It reminded me we can eat high-quality, mouth watering dishes without traveling far. Under our noses is a charming bar and kitchen, unique in the way it compliments fan favourites with genuine Indian dishes, and how we need to take more advantage of what is readily available to us.
Since the pandemic, we have seen the closure of many independent cafes, pubs, restaurants, and shops. We are constantly reminded how supporting local has become more important now, more than ever.
If you haven't been to The Lodge before, trust me, a visit is a must in the new year. If you have, try something new, you might surprise yourself.