A small window emitting glowing light and an open door leaking laughter and inviting aromas. These were the only real hints that here, tucked away down a little cobble-stoned alleyway lies Freddy’s Bistro: a family-run restaurant that has been quietly, without fuss or fanfare, building a solid reputation amongst Limerick diners.

We were surprised to find on this quiet Tuesday evening that Freddy’s was packed – quite literally – to the rafters; beautiful wooden beams criss-cross the ceiling of this former post office building, with original exposed stonework and subdued lighting contributing to a genuinely olde-world feel.

The menu, based on a €29.99 evening offer, was extensive (including a dedicated coeliac menu), and comfortably nestled in the homely surroundings, we found ourselves opting for traditional dishes.

My warm St Tola goat’s cheese did not disappoint in this regard – the delicate, fluffy cheese bolstered by a formidable roasted beetroot and onion marmalade, a smattering of walnuts providing balancing texture.

The duck my dining partner had opted for proved the perfect appetiser: a generous, flavoursome confit with robustly-flavoured braised red cabbage and toasted sesame seeds.

Our wine choice of a full-bodied, plumy Argentinian Malbec (2011 Gouguenheim, €26) was a stunning accompaniment to our richly flavoured mains, beginning with my choice of an 8oz fillet of beef, selected because our affable server had emphasised the restaurant’s dedication to careful sourcing of local produce.

I was rewarded with an elegant, beautifully flavoured cut, the result of a simple but faultless combination of exquisite meat and gentle, uncomplicated treatment in the kitchen. It was accompanied by a glorious little pot of wickedly indulgent but wonderfully flavoured garlic butter.

The appeal of my companion’s braised lamb shank lay in its simplicity. The meat was meltingly tender and the earthy flavours expertly tempered by the sweet notes of the honey and rosemary jus. The accompanying root vegetables, along with side dishes of onion rings and sautéed potatoes, made for a satisfying meal, evoking memories of rainyevening childhood dishes.

Managing just one delicious spoonful of my sweet sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce, my companion stepped into the breach, happily polishing off both my dessert and his highly enjoyable nutty, chocolate pancake with ice cream.

So comfortable were we in the warm ambience that we looked up from our coffees to find we were amongst the very last to leave. The smiling staff were pottering about, generally in no hurry to move their lingering customers on. It is this combination of genuine hospitality, faultless food and beautiful surroundings that had this small but powerful little restaurant full on this Tuesday night and no doubt, many more in the future.

RACHAEL KEALY

We loved the warm hospitality, beautiful decor and locally-sourced, elegantly prepared food

We spent €102.50 on two three-course specials (with supplements), plus wine and coffees

Freddy’s Bistro
Theatre Lane,
Lower Glentworth Street,
Limerick.
Tel: (0)61 418749;
www.freddysbistro.com