Ballymaloe is winner in the Trolley of the Year category; because tableside service should always be in fashion.
The sight of a trolley trundling majestically towards your table is one of the joys of old-fashioned restaurant service. This style of serving customers nearly died out when chefs started plating food in the kitchen; only the cheese chariot surviving largely unscathed. But thankfully the theatre of tableside service is back in fashion.
At Ballymaloe House in Cork, the sweet trolley never really went out of fashion. The original wooden cart was made in the early 1960s by carpenter Danny Power to Myrtle Allen’s specifications: a top shelf with ledge and another underneath for plates and serving utensils.
For the last decade the trolley’s contents have been overseen by head pastry chef JR Ryall. Expect homemade ice creams and granitas, always a tart of some kind, whatever stone fruit is in season, poached and swimming in a sweet syrup, a panna cotta, a crème brûlée and maybe a fruit fool served with his trademark heart-shaped shortbread biscuits.
At Ballymaloe House, “Would you like to see the sweet trolley?” is a rhetorical question. Of course you would.