Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Irish Heather - Long Table Series


After lunch at Phnom Penh, tea at Apres-midi, and a wellness shot at The Juice Truck, I headed to The Irish Heather with Janice (Good Eat) and her friend Kem for a special dinner. The long table series is essentially communal dining with a set menu that changes daily. The event takes place every Sun-Wed with one daily seating (usually at 7 pm). The price is $18/person and includes an entrée and a beer.


We arrived at 6:30 pm and took a seat near the bar. We didn't want drinks, so we just looked at the menu while we waited. The place offered regular pub fare and a vast array of beers.


Shortly after 7 pm, we heard the sound of a bell followed by some paraphrase of "Dinner is served!" We were led into a corridor which opened into a long and narrow room housing the 40 foot table. There weren't as many people as I had expected and the table was half empty (or half full if you prefer optimism). I looked to the right...


And to the left...


The drinks were already waiting for us on the table. We listened to a brief introduction about the restaurant and the beer as we took a sip. The beer of the day was Grimbergen, now a part of the Carlsberg brand. It was a dark creamy ale that was very strong and malty — my favourite kind. The flavour was rich with nutty and earthy tones. I'm not a regular beer drinker, so I had trouble finishing the 0.5 litre glass, especially after all the drinks I had throughout the day. But I still managed to finish it because it was a good beer :)


The entree was roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes and a side of carrots. Apparently I was "lucky" and got 2 slices of beef, while almost everyone else had just one. Honestly I wasn't excited that I got extra meat because the food looked and tasted very crude. The beef was not tender at all, and the au jus was overly thick and clumpy. The Yorkshire pudding was soggy and the carrots were slightly sweet but still relatively bland. Perhaps dessert would be better? I asked for the dessert menu and was told that there was only one option: rice pudding. It didn't sound too appealing to me. Pass. To be fair though, they did give fair warning on the menu: "Like coming home to 'Sunday Dinner'... Hearty home-cooked meals, good people, and great value." So pretty much the focus was not supposed to be the food, but the company and the price.


Unfortunately I felt that with the long table setup, it was difficult to meet and talk to strangers. Since I sat between Janice and Kem, I could only talk to the people sitting across from me. I tried to make eye contact with them, but they were very successful in avoiding my gaze and seemed perfectly content chatting with each other for the entire meal. It appeared that most people went in groups and just talked to their friends. To make matters worse, the noise level was overwhelming — sounds from the kitchen, the music, and the people yelling in an attempt to be heard over the din. I actually had to act as the message relayer between Janice and Kem because they could not hear each other. Overall it wasn't a very impressive communal dining experience. In terms of value, the beer costs $8 by itself, so basically that means we got the entree for $10. Hmm... $10 is a good price for such a big portion, but I wouldn't pay the same price again for this level of quality. Of course it's worth it if you factor in the experience (if you happen to meet fellow diners who are not antisocial). So if you haven't been here yet, give it a try. Maybe you'll have better luck with a more outgoing group.

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6 comments:

Diana on January 19, 2012 1:25 am said...

I've always wondered about the LTS. I could never make up my mind about going.

krispymilk on January 19, 2012 1:37 am said...

@Diana: You should try it! I think reviews for the suckling pig were a bit more positive.

Janice on January 19, 2012 2:16 am said...

It used to be $12 back when it started in 2009! :( I'm a bit tempted to try the pig. and then I'll be done with it I think.

Kirby on January 19, 2012 2:53 pm said...

After your post I'm not too keen on going :P It seems like a really interesting idea but I'd rather eat with my own friends at our own table if that's how it ends up anyways at the long table.

krispymilk on January 19, 2012 7:00 pm said...

@Janice: Yea $12 would be a good deal. But $18... I could get a 3-course lunch at Bistro 101, or just go to one of those $18 Dine Out restaurants.

@Kirby: Well maybe we were just unlucky and got a small and antisocial group. It's one of those things you should try once so you can say you know what it's about. But don't go for the food. I mean just look at that picture of the roast beef! It's like camp/cafeteria food.

Janice on January 20, 2012 11:12 pm said...

Ironically they are on dineout. I was like wtf really, dineout doesnt include a drink.... no idea why.

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