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Mini Rant on Bad Desserts

Here’s something that makes me crazy and happens far too often, especially in Ireland:

You go to a nice restaurant, have a nice meal, and then order a dessert expecting it to be of the same quality as the meal. Instead, you get served the worst kind of mass-produced crap, likely to be described on the menu in gourmet terms and well-decorated – but decorations hardly cover up inferior taste.

I understand that many restaurants look at the desserts for profit, but I can’t understand that so many places wouldn’t give the same care to desserts as to the starters and main courses. Even if you’re not like me, and dessert is the most important course, don’t restauranteurs understand that it will be the last taste of the restaurant before you leave (and talk to others about your experience)? Don’t they understand that the next time (if you go back at all) you’ll skip dessert and tell everyone else at the table to do the same, lowering the bill? 

If I have another great meal followed by a horrid dessert and awful coffee, I might well scream…

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13 Responses to “Mini Rant on Bad Desserts”

  1. June 14th, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Rachel@fairycakeheaven says:

    I completely agree, this is somthing I give out about all the time!!! I’ve been to so many nice restaurants and had fantastic meals and what can only be descroibed as crap desserts!!! If they can’t make good ones I am only too willing to be their pastry chef and turn out fantastic dessets (not blowing my own trumpet but I could serviously do WAY better).

    Oh and missed you at Taste of Dublin, went over to say hi but a lovely man on your stand told me you’d gone home and gave me some lovely honeycomb ice cream (to ease the pain of missing a fellow blogger), also was well impressed with the knowledge of Valrhona your staff had!!!

  2. June 14th, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Deborah says:

    Couldn’t agree more. It doesn’t even have to be fancy. A good home-made apple tart with some quality ice-cream is one of the best desserts ever in my opinion, but the dry mass-produced crap found on menus just doesn’t cut it.

    I hate that all the menus are the same too. Profiteroles, selection of ice-creams, cheesecake… and don’t get me started on the stuff they call cheesecake here. Blergh! The first time I had it here I returned it telling them they forgot to bake it… in all seriousness!

    Will you guys be at Taste of Cork? Would love to finally taste some Murphys! :)

  3. June 14th, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Kieran says:

    So glad I’m not alone on this! Rachel – so sorry to miss you! Deborah – I don’t think we will be able to do Taste of Cork, at least this year…

  4. June 14th, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    keith bohanna says:

    Not a dessert man myself (combination of vegan and diabetic make it just too much trouble :-) but have to agree on the coffee.

    Rarely does the after dinner espresso match the good meal you have just eaten. And I have still not figured out why. Maybe cost – although Zuni in Kilkenny do really, really good food and have assured me they spend a lot on their coffee beans. However their espresso is not even adequate. Expensive does not mean fresh I guess!

    keith

  5. June 14th, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    mochi says:

    It really perplexes me how great restaurants forget how important dessert is. Which brings me to another point: Why aren’t there more dessert bars around anywhere? Definitely going to look into that once I’m done with pastry school and ready to start my own business…

  6. June 14th, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    Jeannette says:

    Couldn’t agree more about the dessert issue, it has been my gripe for yonks!

  7. June 14th, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    lorraine@italianfoodies says:

    No mass produced crap on our new menu in the new place then:) I think it’s probably a combination of convenience, time pressures, one less wage, unable to find the trained pastry chefs etc etc?

  8. June 14th, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Laura@HungryandFrozen says:

    I agree…so many places in New Zealand will have the same old lemon tart, rich chocolate cake, occasionally creme brulee or pecan pie…and that’s it. I don’t want wasabi pancakes with white chocolate shitake reduction but a little innovation would be appreciated, and if you’re going to stick to the classic-type dishes then do them really, really well… an interesting point you’ve raised! :)

  9. June 15th, 2008 at 8:37 am

    Anna says:

    I’m always dismayed when they have a photo of the desserts on the menu – rule of thumb, don’t order if there is a picture! It isn’t hard to make a good dessert – especially if you have the wherewithall to produce a great dinner. I’d settle most days for a good ice cream, with some good sauce out of a jar….

  10. June 15th, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Kitchen Goddess says:

    I totally agree with you Kieran. It’s just the same in many places in the UK too.

  11. June 15th, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    Rachel@fairycakeheaven says:

    Anna I couldn’t agree more, pictures = do not eat in this restaurant!!! Scary stuff!!!1

  12. June 16th, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    jen says:

    It’s a pet peeve round our way too! Too often we’ve sat in a restaurant and looked at the sad little offering on the plate and wondered how long it took to take it out of the packet/why they bothered.

    Having said that, the times I’ve had a truly knock-out dessert really stand out as a consequence. Although that’s not the way it should be!

  13. June 20th, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    English Mum says:

    Sheesh, it’s the same up here too. If I’m offered another mass-produced chocolate fudge cake I’ll scream. And I think there’s an issue with the choices most places offer too. For example, if you’ve had a very light main course, you might want to blow out and eat a great big slice of pie, but sometimes you just want something palate cleansing. Grrr.

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Kieran Murphy is a director of Murphys Ice Cream living in Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland.

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Murphys Ice Cream

Murphys Ice Cream has shops in Dingle, Killarney and Dublin 2 (Wicklow Street).