If you ever have the misfortune of the choice to eat out in Longford town, don’t come to a place called Il Paradiso – front door pictured. I make no apologies for stating that it is possibly the poorest restaurant I have chosen in a long long time. I only came across it because it was the one eaterie in the town last night that didn’t have chips or goujons (is that an Irish word?) on its menu, that and I saw a middle aged couple stumble out of it with a half bottle of wine, unfinished. They didn’t look like the dipsomaniacs that that makes them sound like.
The carpet on the floor of this small place was last acquainted with a cleaner I would say, right before the town was fortunately by-passed by the N4. While the place was empty, it had all the atmosphere of a funeral home owned by Richard Dawkins. The menu consisted of a series of MS Word-derived sheets, pizzas, pasta, ‘specials’ and the likes. Seven minutes later I had consumed – not eaten – a plate of ‘penne arrabiatta’ sprinkled with what looked like wood shavings but was taken from a bowl that ordinarily would serve grated parmesan cheese. Hey, maybe they WERE wood shavings. Freshly crushed chilli and garlic? More like a tinned red sauce with pepper laced through it
Seven minutes of pure, “freshly crushed this, sprinkled that” joy later I knew I had made the wrong choice. All washed down with an orange juice that was served at room temperature and in the original Fruice brand bottle. Classy. I went to pay at the cash desk because to ask the woman who was working there last night for the bill would have meant making even less eye contact than there had been. “You give me €18.45 please” sounded appropriate if we were prisoners on the far side of the Carpathians and I was her prison bitch but this is Longford. Where’s the pride at all?
I called Ms 73man and told her how poor the place was and how much poorer my spirit was for having eaten in the place. Her response? “ah you poor naive thing”. For expecting decent and well-prepared fresh food in a mid-sized Irish town apparently. And not meaning to draw the wrath of two thirds of the Irish population down upon me in well-organised waves, there was a powerful smell of cow shite about the town last night.