The Cedar Tree is the longest standing Lebanese restaurant in Ireland, having been on St. Andrews St for 27 years now (source). It has a great reputation and when you go in and sit down for the first time there is a feeling of being in a different time, place and culture. I went in with my brother last Saturday before going to one of the Fringe Festival plays and the place was busy and the staff many and friendly. The people around us had varieties of delicious looking dishes that almost made us try something other than falafel. But, it was falafel we were after (on this visit!) and it was falafel we ordered.
Flavour: 6/10 The falafel balls were piping hot, undoubtedly homemade and when we cut them open they looked delicious – full of colour and with bits of herbs, chickpea, broad beans and onion all visible… Unfortunately they tasted a little bland. They’d been overcooked, even by my crunchy falafel standards and tasted okay, but lacked a full punch.
Fillings & Sauces: 6/10 The plate came with a salad of tomatoes, lettuce, coriander and green olives covered in a light garlic sauce. On the side was a ramekin of tahini sauce. Some of the lettuce leaves were dry/past their best and the tahini sauce was as bland as the falafels. We were both wishing for some spice or garlic but it was missing.
Presentation & Value: 7/10 The dish was perfectly presented – simply, clean and it looked tasty. The side dish too. As for value, well it was a Saturday night and the restaurant is in a prime location in town, but we found €14.50 for a standard sized vegetarian main course a little on the expensive side, especially given the content of the meal.
Overall Rating: 6.5/10 I’ve only heard good reports about the Cedar Tree and I think it would be remiss to base the restaurant on one serving of falafel. I’m going to go back and order a mezze next time as the food all around us looked nothing short of incredible. That said, this blog is about falafel and this time the Cedar Tree really disappointed. As I said before, it was overcooked, a little pricey and most importantly/unfortunately it lacked flavour. A real shame!