We were treated to a meal at the Carrick Lodge a few months back. It was my first visit and I was really looking forward to it. The place was pretty full so it was a good thing we had booked a table. Starters were excellent, well presented and imaginative. I figured we were off to a good start. Mains arrived and they looked pretty darned good too. Everyone in our party, with one exception, thoroughly enjoyed their meal and made lots of complimentary noises. That exception was me.
It was a relatively warm day when we ate at the Carrick Lodge. No coats were needed but every fire in the restaurant was roaring and blasting out such heat that we asked to be moved before we even read the menu. But even then the heat was still pretty difficult to escape so we divested ourselves of a layer of clothing and shuffled our chairs as much as we could to avoid being roasted alive.
Being vegetarian I was pleased to find something on the menu that looked like it fit the bill. It was Harissa Spiced vegetables with couscous, chickpeas and sour cream. I love Moroccan flavours and spicy food so there was no contest. There was no indication on the menu that this dish was served cold, so you can imagine my surprise when the waitress came to the table clutching the plate exclaiming 'this is hot hot hot'' only to find that my first mouthful was of chilled food!
She was right about one thing, it was so hot I could hardly bear it. The dish appears to have been made up of roasted vegetables with a full bottle of harrisa paste stirred in. It was crazy hot, but I tried not to let on to my host who was treating us to a special meal.
For one thing we all had red faces because of the heat in the room. I regret that I ate so much of this meal so as not to disappoint our host, as I felt rather faint and had to go outside to cool for a moment while the others had dessert. Unfortunately it was another 24 hours until I felt human again.
I don't want to put a complete downer on Carrick Lodge just because of my one experience. In their defence, everyone else's meals looked and apparently tasted excellent so I am giving them four out of five stars, and would still recommend it to others with the proviso that they avoid the Harrissa Spiced Veg, which in my opinion should be consigned to the bin. This is a coming from someone whose favourite cuisine is spicy Indian, so that should give you some idea of how extremely spiced this dish was.
If I can challenge Carrick Lodge to have all the staff to sit down and eat a full plate of Harissa Spiced Vegetables I think my point would be quickly made, unless they have changed the recipe. I am confident it would be whipped off the menu in a jiffy!
How's that for an idea - hello Carrick Lodge, are you listening? Would you like to leave a management response? I mean, I still like you, really I do; t's just my tummy wishes I had eaten what everyone else chose. I'm gonna end on a positive note and recommend giving Carrick Lodge a go. I certainly will.
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