The Lemon Tree Restaurant has been replanted in a new location in Letterkenny, but it seems now it has even more room to grow.
We got an exclusive sneak peek at the new look Lemon Tree at the Courtyard Shopping Centre yesterday ahead of their grand opening today (Friday). The relocated eatery is just a stone’s throw from the old place at Lower Main Street, and while the staff and food remain the same, there have been some major updates for the new venue.
Chef Chris Molloy took some time out from the action-packed set up operations to give us a tour. The Molloy family restaurant was at 39 Lower Main Street for 18 years, but now that capacity is upgraded from 36 to 60 they are excited to welcome even more guests every night.
How is The Lemon Tree blossoming?
You’ll find the same simplistic look of neutral colours and understated features here, with some modern features popping up like copper decor and cool exposed filament lighting.
There are tables on multi-leveled dining floors which will allow each section to have its own atmosphere and level of intimacy. Whether you’re on a date or in a large group, it looks like there will be a place for you.
Showing love to the locals
The Lemon Tree has long-prided itself on sourcing food close to home. Donegal suppliers get a special mention on their Producer Wall so diners can see exactly where the ingredients of their meals are coming from. Along those pictured are John and Gareth from the Ballyholey Farm Shop, Lee and Patrick of Gildea Farm Butchers, Declan from The Haven Smokehouse, James at Jordans Atlantic Foods, Donegal Rapeseed Oil, David at Boghopper Brewery, Rick and Debbie from Kinnegar Brewing. Lisnamulligan farm, Manus from Quality Sea Veg, chicken supplier Gerard Noone, potato grower Derek McClure, the Wilhare’s of Mulroy Bay Mussels Ltd. – bring all those suppliers together and you’re sure to have an almost complete menu direct from Donegal.
Raising the bar
To the back of the restaurant is a rich dark wood bar with high seating for pre-dinner drinks and coffees. It’s fully stocked with over 90 varieties of wine, so there has to be something to please your group. There is a partly-open kitchen to the side of the bar where you will see starters being prepared. Hungry guests will enjoy seeing their food making its way to the plates from this window to the world of the cooking team.
The Lemon Tree shut its doors on Tuesday to commence a huge move in just a few days. But we now know the staff were working behind the scenes for many months to install their new workspace. You’ll find all the old faces at the new place and the same top-class menu. Chris said they’ve been cooking together so long that it will be easy for them to adjust to the new kitchen. Yesterday, he said that his main hope was to get the workmen out and to get into preparing some bread for Friday’s launch.
Zest for more
We’re told that big things will be happening at The Lemon Tree in the coming year. They will continue to strive to win more awards for their collection, including Best Casual Dining at the Irish Restaurant Awards next week.
The next major move for the restaurant is the introduction of a menu that taps into Donegal’s geography and producers. Chris outlined a potential new tasting menu – ‘A taste of Donegal’s Wild Atlantic Way’, which will bring out the best in local food with a map to lead guests to the suppliers at work on Donegal’s coast. With Chris being a Donegal Food Champion with Failte Ireland, this menu will be designed to celebrate Donegal food with locals and tourists and promote further travel through Donegal’s food scene.
The Lemon Tree opens its new doors this evening, are you excited?