Tuesday was jam packed in a good way! First stop was Rathmines to run a couple of errands, followed by a zip across to Ranelagh for lunch. I had a lovely munch in Cinnamon, a sprawling New York style deli cafe on the main drag. My charming Yankee waiter brought me a yumsters goats cheese and Portobello mushies sandwich on rye bread. This buzzy place is clearly a hit with the locals.
Since I’d managed to keep out of The 3rd Policeman and Green With Envy in Rathmines (self imposed retail embargo), a little window shopping satisfied my fashion tooth. Cup Cakes gave me a nice frill – a gorgeous lingerie boutique which stocks delicate European labels. Bow And Pearl allowed me to channel my inner French girl – filmy dresses, capri pants and chic tops. Delicieux!
A quick pit stop chez moi for tea and cake, and I was off out again to meet a mate for the opening of “General Practice” at the Gallery of Photography. The exhibition is about patients and their GPs in Ireland today and is part of a celebration of Trinity College Medical School’s tercentenary. It illustrates the day to day work of GPs and the relationship with their communities.
The Gallery of Photography hosted a packed house for the exhibition of Fionn McCann’s work. Vino in hand we listened to words from TCD Professor of General Practice Tom O’Dowd and Minister Leo Varadkar, himself an alumni of the Medical School. McCann’s mostly black and white shots capture the confessional quality of the patient / GP encounter with great sensitivity.
Favourite pictures of mine included – a six week baby check, the patient’s first visit to the doctor, a man testing out his two new hip joints and a little girl being examined for meningitis. Happily, she was fine. I also liked a shot of a doctor fixing an old lady’s eye, her ease at his expertise the essence of the exercise. And a woman taking 19 different medications left me intrigued…
“General Practice” is interesting in that we get a glimpse into a world that’s usually a closed door. A GP visit is often an anxious part of life and McCann’s pictures highlight the reassurance, understanding and trust a doctor offers their patient. Particularly touching are the situations of the elderly, many of whom have known their GP a long time or live alone and take home visits.
The place eventually filtered out and we had worked up an appetite, so Ukiyo it was. A couple of bento boxes, helped down with Asahi beer, and we were ready to meet the gang for some school night action. The Blind Pig Speakeasy. This pop up bar was at a secret location for a couple of nights only. Cocktails were the real deal, with top mixer Paul Lambert behind the bar. Nightcap deluxe.
www.galleryofphotography.ie / Gallery of Photography, Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
First Thursdays is a great idea! On the first Thursday(geddit?) of every month Dublin opens up it’s cultural doors for an evening of arts. A bit like a mini Culture Night, it’s a great way of encouraging folk to check out what the city has to offer. I strolled into Temple Bar, ’twas a lovely night and straight into the Brick Alley Cafe on Essex Street East.
With a Wu Tang Killa Headache threatening to wreck my buzz I knew this was just the place to chill out before hooking up with my pals. I pointed to a virgin deep dish apple pie I’d spied in the window cake stand and ordered up a hot slice with cream. And a cuppa, obviously! Pulling up a wooden bistro chair I settled in at the central communal table of this cosy caff.
One bite and I was feeling better already. Crunchy shortcrust, fresh apples – not too sugary and with a big pot of whipped double cream. ‘Nuff said… The Brick Alley Cafe is dark and romantic like an old hideaway tabac you might find in French village. Wine bottles line the wall behind the counter, which is the focal point of the room, with fresh ice creams out front. La vie en rose…
Ready to rock ‘n’ roll I made my way to Meeting House Square, home of the Gallery of Photography to meet the chaps. It was the opening night of “Amazon”, an exhibition with pictures by award winning photographers Sebastiao Salgado and Per-Anders Pettersson. In Aid of Sky Rainforest Rescue, the exhibition highlights the devastating effects of deforestation in Brazil.
Salgado’s work, in black and white, portrays stunning natural habitat, despite human destruction, and the communities living within them. The stark contrast of how these tribal people live, so close to nature, and how we operate in the Western world is amazing. Pettersson’s photos pick up the colour of rural Brazil with sharp insight into family life on the edge of rainforests.
Next up was the Project Arts Centre, a well known hub of weird and wonderful creativity in Temple Bar. We experienced “Panto Collapsar” and “We Sell Soul”. The former is an art installation by contemporary Australian artist Mikala Dwyer. The main spectacle of the piece is a hovering canopy of silver floating O shapes, moving in harmony with the room, calling our attention to a spiritual world.
Our lovely guide, Ian, talked us through the concepts of both art works explaining the latter, by Liverpool’s Richard Proffitt, as the first in the Project Arts Centre’s new experimental portal, The Grotto. It features a collection of hippy memorabilia and counterculture paraphernalia, evoking the reality of commercialised ideological icons. An interesting observation indeed.
All art-ied out, our next stop was Ukiyo for a bit of bento action. The Japanese bar and restaurant on Exchequer Street is a fave of mine, combining tasty food and good value as I so like. We tucked into the day’s offering of salted mackerel, kimchi pork, and vegetable pasties which came with miso, mixed salad and sticky rice. You can’t go wrong for 10 euro.
A dessert bento was made for sharing as we spooned hazelnut cheesecake, rum and raisin brownie, ice cream and a wonderful milky goo. Don’t know what it was but we loved! All washed down with Asahi beer and a refreshing Tom Collins. As more people make a date with their sofa nowadays, due to financial woes, First Thursdays is a great free night out with something new to do every time.
This place is familiar to many as the karaoke bar on Exchequer Street, but did you know it’s also a Japanese restaurant? That does amazing bento box, wicked cocktails and in my opinion the city’s best late night dancing. The only thing I hadn’t done here was have dinner – and what can I say only noms!
After Mojitos in nearby Dakota we rolled into Ukiyo and the birthday party gang of us were seated at a long bench table – perfect for socialising! I kicked off with a Tokyo Tea – gin, elderflower liquer, Jasmin tea, lemon and Coke – tastes as good as it sounds! Asahi beer all round for my pals.
Now for the nosh. For starter I made easy work of Haru Maki, a spring roll of sirloin beef, sweet potato and peppers – yummy! My main course was Saba–Tatsuta Age, crispy marinated mackerel with salad and rice, it came with a piquant soy. It’s a favourite I’ve had with Ukiyo’s famous 10 euro bento too many times!
Despite what you might assume about Japanese food the portions were generous and the flavours satisfying. Our table was groaning with goodies so it was ideal to swap and share and there really was no room left in our desert bellies… Just as well because the real treat was karaoke. Fifteen of us murdering “Sweet Child O Mine”…
www.ukiyobar.com / Ukiyo, 7 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2