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Sunday, 2 May 2010

EATING OUT ~ Carpe Diem, Letterkenny

Arriving back in town on Friday evening after getting our guests settled into Daisy Cottage, we were heading straight home to cook a couple of steaks we had waiting there for us.  But as usual, we were fairly tired after all the pre-guest arrival prep. and so passing the restaurant 'Carpe Diem' on the Neil T. Blaney Road, I suggest to himself that we dine there.  A quick whiz around the roundabout and back out the Neil T. road took us into the car park of Carpe Diem. 

The interior of Carpe Diem, Letterkenny

The restaurant is only recently opened, the owners having moved from the Port Road and 'Little Italy' to open this very much larger and very impressive looking restaurant.  It was getting late when we arrived but as the lights were still on we chanced it and were delighted to find them still serving.

Soft lighting all the way from Sicily

The place inside is absolutely beautiful and easily one of the most beautiful restaurant interiors in Donegal.  The colours are soft creams and black with crystal chandeliers and wall lamps which came from Sicily, the birth place of Salvatore who owns Carpe Diem along with his wife Natasha.

We  chose a table at the back of the restaurant beside double glass doors which look out on to the river behind the building and the hills beyond.  Sitting there, we were amused to see horses wander past on the riverbank and cattle in the field over the river ~ and this more or less in the middle of Letterkenny!  Salvatore told us that they intend to make a little seating area just outside the double doors which will be perfect on a summers evening.

Wine, water and freshly baked bread

We sipped on a nice Corvo di Sicilia as we perused the menu ~ well as himself perused the menu, I already knew what I was having having eaten Salvatores food in 'Little Italy' ~ the Carpaccio Cipriani.  I love it.  An excuse to eat raw meat is always good said this little cannabalistic blogger.  It is served with parmesan shavings, good olive oil and a little rocket.  Just perfect.  Himself went for the frogs legs.  Neither of us have eaten these before but I sampled his and they are very tasty indeed, tender and succulent.

Carpaccio Cipriani

Frogs Legs

Salvatore had mentioned something about his risotto and I, being ultra proud of the risotto I make, just had to try it.  So as soon as it was made, we were presented with two little bowls of their risotto.  I have to say it was as good as mine.  In fact it was so delicious we managed to scoff the lot before I remembered I should have taken a photo!

So, on to our main courses.  I chose the Grilled Rack of Lamb.  I love the lamb these guys do, the meat is always tasty and cooked perfectly.  I like mine fairly rare and as I love garlic (and they know this) it arrived with lots and LOTS of fresh garlic sprinkled over it ~ for those who don't like garlic, my husband for one, fear not, the extra garlic was added at my request.  It was served with grilled mediterranean vegetables and sauteed baby pototoes.  Himself had the Tortellini Ricotta e Spinaci (tortellini with ricotta and spinach) which he declared perfect.

My Lamb with Mediterranean Vegetables ~ and LOTS of garlic

Tortellini Ricotta e Spinaci

We gave desserts a miss as we had eaten way too much, but could have chosen from Tiramisu, Truffle Ice Cream, or a Selection of Italian Ice Creams, Carrot Cake, or Strawberry Cheesecake.

After service and the last customers leaving, Salvatore joined us and we sat for a couple of hours over a couple of bottles of red wine ~ Amarone followed by a Barolo.  Of course this meant ordering two taxis ~ one to drive our car and one to follow to take the driver back to the first taxi (the limit in Ireland is about a glass and a half of wine).  On the way home, my taxi guy asked what the place was like and I told him about the gorgous interior and the great food, and although he said there was no way he would try the frogs legs, he said that that was his Sunday meal sorted for himself and his partner ... at Carpe Diem.

We wish them the best of luck in this beautiful new restaurant, so sieze the day if you are in Letterkenny folks and get along to Carpe Diem.

DETAILS:
Carpe Diem, 7 Riverside Office Park, Neil T. Blaney Rd., Letterkenny.
Tel: 074-9127272
Opening times:
Mon ~ Sun: Noon - 2.30 and 5.30 - 10.30.  Saturday 5.30 - 10.30
Starters €5 - €10.50.  Mains €14 - €26.90 (including veg).  Desserts €5.50
Separate Lunch Menu everyday except Saturday €4.50 - €14.99

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