Healthy and delicious
A happy pair of restaurateurs are spreading their message with food that's good to eat as well as good for you
Restaurant Title: The Happy Pear
Proprietor: David and Stephen Flynn
Address: Main Street, Greystones, Co Wicklow
Phone: (01) 287 3655
Happiness is a hunk of meat on a cold day. Take one slab of muscular animal, simmer slowly. Toss in some root vegetables to soften and sweeten and your food hug is ready. That’s how a lot of us feel on days like today when being outdoors is an extreme sport. We want to eat something that has spent a long slow time in heat. No raw food when it’s raw outside. But I’m on my way for a veggie feast. I fear that it could be like Sarah Lund in a twinset, not quite chunky enough for purpose.
In the short dash from the car to the cheerful orange front of The Happy Pear in Greystones, Co Wicklow, I’m drenched. You walk in through the veg shop and grocery part of this operation into a small, canteen-style serving area. The seats are upstairs and I’m early, so I head up to wait before ordering. Blackboards on the way up the stairs give a sense of how deep green this place is. Everything you leave behind on the plate is composted. The van runs on vegetable oil, the electricity comes from wind farms off the Scottish and Irish coastlines.
The twin brothers David and Stephen Flynn (the happy pair presumably) who run this place seem to be men with a mission. These days when every coffee joint has a “philosophy”, theirs seems to be worth the chalkboard on which it’s written. Cheerful phrases are everywhere, painted on walls. “I do not fail. I succeed in finding out what doesn’t work,” one of them reads. Happiness seems obligatory.
The words “Eat Well” are spelled out in spoons on timber over the fireplace which houses a roaring stove. A less rustic glow heater is down the other end battling with the draughts rattling through the sash windows. Chairs are mismatched, tables painted white. There are several paintings of the place hung around the walls, and tables have photos, quotations and sunny postcards under their glass tops. Lots of people know each other up here. Seats by the stove are being passed from one friend to the next.
My dad arrives even more rain-soaked and we head down to where the warm beany smells are wafting up. The first thing you see is the salad counter. These are typically the places where good veg go bad, drying up or soaking up so much of their dressing that the composting process is already well underway. This selection seems to have been freshly-prepared enough to avoid that fate. And there are lots of beans and robust veg that don’t get counter-wilt in the same way. The salads come with the main courses and it’s a simple choice between two soups and two main dishes. We carry them up on trays, with sweet things too, so we don’t have to make another trek downstairs.