February 27, 2012
Tourist tea rooms and the likes are tricky places to eat when you have food allergies. You want to go to the beautiful locations but as is inevitable, you will work up an appetite in the ‘far away’ location. The National Botanic Gardens have a nice enough tea room called ‘The Garden Tea Room’. It is set up in a canteen style and there is quite a lot of food on offer but it’s SO busy (at least on a Sunday) that it’s easy to be pressured to keep moving along the rotary belt and feel unable to ask the frazzled staff all the questions that you need.
The desserts are by far the best labelled of the menu items and are first in the line to pick up. Unfortunately, this being Ireland, and the Garden Tea Room being a traditional attraction, everything is ladened with butter, cream and eggs but the minor glimmer of hope amid it all is that there are two stunning looking desserts which are Gluten Free...
The Chocolate Roulade (chocolate, eggs, sugar, Coffee, fresh cream, fresh berries) and the Meringue (egg whites, sugar, fresh cream, fresh berries)
My final verdict: If you are Dairy Free and don’t want to eat chips for your lunch, then definitely don’t go to the Botanic Gardens hungry! For Gluten Free eaters and other Allergen Free options I think that there may well be choices for you but be sure to NOT go during rush hour such as midday on a Sunday, or similar. Aim at a quieter off peak time and be extra, extra careful of cross-contamination because the kitchen and the waiting staff are very busy and the desserts counter is self-serve!
The Botanic Gardens are a glorious location in the later spring, summer and autumn. Sunday’s visit was nice, and although the crocuses were up and some of the tulips were peaking out, a lot of the foliage had yet to bud. But a walk by the ponds and river are always lovely, not to mention the toasty palm house and cactus house!
See below for some more pictures of the Botanic Gardens during during Autumn.
The National Botanic Gardens
Tel: (01) 804 0300
Opening Times of the Gardens:Winter (Oct 31 - Feb) mon - fri 09:00 - 16:30; sat, sun, public holidays: 10:00 - 16:30 Summer (Mar - Oct) mon - fri 09:00 - 17:00, sat, sun, public holidays 10:00 - 18:00