A culinary trip round Ireland – Myrtle Restaurant, SW1

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The magic of this delightful restaurant in Chelsea is not unmissed by both locals and those wanting to experience the cooking of Anna Haugh, owner and executive chef of Myrtle Restaurant.

After many years of working with top chefs such as Gordon Ramsay and Phil Howard and saving hard-earned money, Anna launched Myrtle to great acclaim, and she continues to go from strength to strength. Totally self-funded, this is an achievement in itself.

With inspiration from her homeland of Ireland, this diminutive chef encompasses the best of local produce as well as Irish delights – and with a twist. Top-quality food with excellent provenance is what makes this restaurant a ‘must go to’. Creative, with a bubbly personality, Anna’s talents now include TV chef and presenter on some of the top cooking shows. Myrtle is indeed a triumph, receiving accolades from restaurant critics throughout the world. There is no doubt that Anna has a passion for food, which is reflected in all her dishes.

When is a potato, not a potato? The clever use of potatoes (Irish heritage of course!) is unique and so flavoursome, you wonder how Myrtle can be so innovative with this humble vegetable, not to detract from the wonderful flavours in every dish.

We opted to try the 7-course Tasting Menu on our visit and cannot recommend it enough. Delicate but beautifully presented, course after course with recommended wines, we ate our way through Irish heaven and beyond. Each course is named after a certain town, city or area of glorious Ireland, so it was very much a case of a voyage of discovery.

‘Bea Beag’, described as a potato cushion was served first – an unusual combination somewhat akin to a potato souffle but with a distinct bacon flavour, small but enough to whet our appetites and wait with anticipation for our next course. This was followed by our ‘Cork’ offering of black pudding with apple puree and spelt. Clonakilty black pudding hails from a town of the same name and was certainly one of the best black puddings we had ever eaten. The addition of a chicken mousse enhanced the flavour – as did the white Rioja that we happily washed it down with.

Next up was a delightfully soft and smoked scallop dish, under the town of ‘Louth’. It was accompanied by crispy chorizo from the Gubbeen Farm House, another inheritance from Ireland and County Cork. Supremely tasty, with just the right amount of smoke.

Lamb is a favourite of ours, and this did not disappoint. A tender cannon of lamb with a miniature pie and broad beans was a real accomplishment in terms of flavour and appearance. You even got to pour your own sauce into the pie! We could not recommend this dish any higher if you are a lamb lover. Ireland is the home of succulent lamb, and we could probably have eaten more as it was so delicious.

Cleansing the palate was a wise thing to do, to prepare us for dessert, and the zingy orange granita was perfection. In fact, it was all but addictive! Dessert was a burnt cream (crème Brulee) with a crunchy topping and semi-sweet custard base that was silky and smooth with just the right amount of vanilla. Dipping biscotti into it was another great idea to finish off.

All we can say is cheers to Anna, Ireland and their produce! A wonderful meal and we will undoubtedly return.

A: Myrtle, 1A Langton St, Chelsea, London SW10 0JL Tel no. 020 7352 2411

T:  020 7352 2411

W: Myrtle Restaurant

Written by Rafa Zurita for Luxuria Lifestyle London and International

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