I love animals, I really do. I firmly believe that we should treat them as well as we possibly can, and then kill them and eat them. I thought The Farm on Dawson Street would be a good place to bring my animal-loving friend, Chris, who works for the excellent Blue Cross animal charity.
Chris grew up on a farm and cares how animals are treated, but isn't averse to eating them occasionally.
The Farm opened in 2007 with the mission statement, "affordable, tasty, home-made and locally sourced. As much organic and or free range as we can, healthy vegetables and fresh herbs". This is a laudable aim and The Farm sources its ingredients from quality suppliers, such as Downeys in Terenure and Kish Fish.
The interior is less like a farm and more like a nightclub on the Starship Enterprise, but the odd-shaped chairs were comfy and we got used to the purple lighting quite quickly.
The Farm's wine list is also sourced from good, independent suppliers and our bottle of Finca Remendio Rueda (from Tindal Wines) was one of the highlights of the meal -- crisp, elegant and packed with flavour.
The food at The Farm is traditional and rather old-fashioned (this is not a criticism) and Chris quickly polished off her goat's cheese tart with sweet red onion marmalade and mixed leaves. Both of us felt it was really more of a quiche than a tart and I was a little less enthusiastic as I disliked the pastry and found the flavour rather flabby, despite the nice tang from the generous amount of goat's cheese.
Spicy chicken wings with a blue- cheese dip is a classic dish which brings visions of finger-licking sticky, spicy sauce. Sadly, these wings came in a rather sour, acidic sauce that I was forced to scrape off in order to dip in the (quite good) blue-cheese dip..
The (organic) meat in my Farm burger was lean and good quality, but did not seem to have been seasoned and tasted rather dry. The smoked Gubbeen cheese helped a little, but the fatty dry-cured bacon was more of a hindrance than a help.
Chris's salmon was much better -- a large piece of organic salmon with a fresh herb crust on wilted greens with a lemon butter sauce.
The salmon was clearly fresh and the other elements were nicely executed, but a little more seasoning would have made this dish into something much finer.
Chocolate orange mousse was tasty enough, but really needed to be chilled more to bring out the the flavour of the chocolate. My 'Farm Surprise' of Tipperary Organic ice cream with crushed meringue and raspberry coulis was my favourite dish.
The Farm has a good concept and they are clearly proud of what they are doing. I just wish they would pay more attention to the cooking of their dishes and to seasoning -- ingredients are important, but if you don't cook them to release their full potential, it doesn't matter where you source them.