In a world where restaurant longevity is often measured in months rather than years, all credit to Temple Bar restaurant Eden as they triumphantly celebrate their tenth birthday this year. Credit, too, to original chef Eleanor Walsh and current head chef Michael Durkin for 'The Eden Cookbook', a collection of 80 recipes for dishes that will be very familiar to habitués of the restaurant.
With an emphasis on contemporary Irish food, sourced locally and seasonally, 'The Eden Cookbook' opens with chapters on larder and bakery supplies, before delving into soup, fish, meat, vegetarian, ice cream and pudding recipes. Sheridan's cheese gets a chapter all to itself and the book ends with a selection of Eden cocktails. Regular dishes from the restaurant - Organic Beef and Guinness Stew, Eden's legendary Smokies, Pan-fried Beef with Chips and Béarnaise, Apple and Cinnamon Crumble with a frangipane base - are all present and correct, along with a substantial selection of larder basics (various compound butters, dressings and relishes) which will help you make the most of any meal. Although there are a few restaurant-standard, individually portioned dishes, recipes like Roasted Mushroom Soup with Tarragon, Chicken and Chorizo Stew and Cashel Blue Polenta are crowd-pleasers without being too complex.
The photography, apart from a few notable exceptions, leaves much to be desired. It just doesn't have the need-to-cook factor and, while the pictures of the kitchen at work are well done, they are better on two-page spreads rather than filling in space opposite recipes. Apart from Eleanor Walsh's friendly introduction, especially her hope that the cookbook gets worn, used and scribbled on, 'The Eden Cookbook' doesn't have a whole lot of personality - but what it does have are great recipes. Not just for fans of the restaurant.