The café at Mermaid Arts Centre will be reopening very shortly. We are thrilled to welcome Il Fico to Mermaid. Il Fico is the team behind 31 Lennox in Portobello and will soon be open its doors at Mermaid to share their culinary delights.
And why the name Il Fico?
Il Fico is Italian for fig tree. The inspiration came from the fabulous fig tree that once thrived in the sheltered garden of St Cronan’s House, beside Mermaid. The house was built in 1826 for the Parish Priest of the Holy Redeemer Church.
Originating in Asia Minor, the culinary fig (Ficus carica) is also one of the earliest species of fruit cultivated by humankind and not only for its sheer mouth-watering deliciousness. No wonder the late, great food writer Elizabeth David wrote that eating ripe figs straight from the tree "in the very early morning when they have been barely touched by the sun, is one of the great pleasures of the Mediterranean".
By the mid 1800s fig trees could be found in gardens of the large houses in Ireland. In Ireland the growing of fig trees was generally in hot houses as they were very prone to frost.
(Our thanks to Brian White, Bray Cualann Historical Society, for this information and for inspiring the Il Fico name!)