By Colette Fitzpatrick
Over the weekend, I headed to my family home in Kildare and had the absolute joy and luxury of having my beautiful parents to myself for the majority of it (I’m still a needy child, what can I say?) On the Saturday, we decided to go to brunch in a nearby cafe that we had long-since heard of and intended to visit; the Old Yard, located just outside the town of Castledermot. Originally just a homewares store, it is now a little complex with a café as well and, while things are done rather simply, they are done exceedingly well…
The Old Yard, as the name suggests, is a small 18th century farmyard made up of several old and new buildings. Once derelict, it was made a family home by the owners and, over the past ten years, has been renovated and transformed into the charming complex that now exists on the site today. It consists of a store, which sells vintage furniture and homewares, food items, floral arrangements and more, and a café. The café (the part we’re most interested in) was originally just a cakes and tea operation but, due to demand from regulars, they now offer a highly curated lunch/brunch menu. There were just two options when we visited: soup of the day and sourdough bread or sourdough bread topped with ricotta, sundried tomatoes and pesto and served with a salad of mixed leaves, walnuts and a sweet balsamic dressing.
Garterfarm, Castledermot, Co. Kildare
Open 10am to 6pm, Wednesday – Saturday.
February to December (closed January)
After parking in a field out back, you step through a stunning granite archway into a yard with the cottage (still the residence of the owners) in front of you, the store to your right in a large stone building (former milking parlours) and the café is to the left in a modern garden building. There are seats both indoors and outdoors and the resident (gorgeous) Bernese Mountain Dog, Rupert, likes to wander amongst all of the tables, which is a treat in of itself.
The interior is beautiful; all marble and light wood tabletops, tiled floors, pastel-toned mismatched chairs, a big old apothecary cabinet as a counter and Nicholas Mosse tableware. The menus are hand-written on stationary and service is warm and the right amount of friendly.
Of course, the important thing is the food and, first and foremost, the sourdough got my mother’s hard-won approval (she’s kind of an expert); crusty on the edges, lots of air bubbles underneath and delightfully chewy with a slightly floury aftertaste on the tongue. All three of us order the sourdough topped by ricotta and sundried tomatoes and it was truly delicious, though not overly massive and maybe not ideal for anyone who is seriously hungry and not planning on filling up on cake afterwards, which we did. We followed up with tea and each chose one of the many cakes on offer – my mother got the classic coffee and walnut, I got the peach and raspberry bakewell tart and my dad got the chocolate and rum ganache cake. All were exceptionally good, especially my tart. Mid-cakes, our teapot was topped up for free, which is always a good thing and a homely little plus in our minds.
With full tummies from the delicious food and hearts full from the puppy visits we managed to snag at our table (we were so obsessed that Mammy and I spent the night researching the breed only to realise the average lifespan and amount of feeding necessary might not quite suit us), we wandered happily around the store for a spell, where my mother picked up some great cookbooks and I bought her a beautiful bouquet of flowers. It was all rather idyllic.
Simple but elegant, serving up delicious food and puppy love, the Old Yard is an excellent spot for lunch with pals or weekend brunch and is utterly picturesque and majorly Instagrammable. A peaceful spot I hope to return to soon and, in particular, for their events and famous Christmas market in December!
Looking for more foodie posts? Check out our review of Pi Pizza on George’s Street in Dublin and Emma’s ode to cookery shows…