Browsing articles in "Food"
Aug 3, 2013

Porterhouse – Chowder and Brew

Me and the Bloke were looking for somewhere close to basecamp for a spot of lazy Sunday dinner. No cooking for us, no Siree! The Porterhouse Temple Bar on Parliament Street was ticking all the right boxes so off we went down the cobblestones. Perched at a quiet counter we whet our appetites with a pair of Porterhouse Plain. A deliciously rich and nutty stout, nay porter, with a hint of bitterness.

Live music filtered from upstairs filling the whole place with a feelgood factor. Locals and tourists alike happily tucked into good food. The Porterhouse has a reputation for hearty fare and the menu makes yummy reading. Sunday was the last day of their Belgian Beer & Mussels Festival so I ordered my dessert first. Belgian waffles with vanilla ice cream, chocolate buttons and hot chocolate sauce. Get in!

I went for the seafood chowder, while the Bloke tucked into bangers ‘n’ mash. My chowder was a creamy, salty sea of smoked haddock, cod, mussels and prawns with brown soda bread for buttery dipping. His pork and leek sausages didn’t last long, always a good sign. Maybe it was the beer gravy! My Belgian waffles came with two spoons. Phew… We left the Porterhouse with a waddle in our step.

The Porterhouse Temple Bar, 16 – 18 Parliament Street, Dublin 2 / www.porterhousebrewco.com

Aug 1, 2013

The 51 Bar – What’s Cookin?

So it was to the 51 Bar on Haddington Road for social sustenance last night. Just a hop and a skip from I Love Saturday HQ, twas a lovely evening for a stroll. The gang were shooting the breeze by the door when your fave reporter arrived. I was handed my golden ticket – the ten euro meal and drink deal. Available on weekdays, this menu is one of the best value in town considering the quality scran on offer.

Pints in first, we went for Bulmers on ice, draught Stella and bottles of Canterbury Jack (new from Shepherd Neame. Try it). Thirst quenched, we ordered a pair of cheesy chicken focaccia, two fish and chips, bangers ‘n’ mash and Cajun fillet of salmon. Other dishes included the 51 beef burger, striploin steak and chicken balti. There’s even a chicken penne a la vodka, cooked with Grey Goose. Tipsy!

Our chow was top notch. I munched the fish and chips – Irish cod in a tasty Erdinger batter teamed with chunky chips. Delicious! There was thumbs up all round as more drinks were brought in to refresh the troops. The 51 Bar is a smart sports bar, a great place to spend an evening with friends. Away from the hustle of the city, it offers an impressive range of beers. And of course this unbelievable meal deal.

The 51 Bar, 51 Haddington Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 / www.the51bar.com

Jul 28, 2013

Simon’s Place – Proper Sambos

Stop at the corner of George’s Street Arcade and you’ll find Simon’s Place. Me and the Bloke often do. I bet you’ve walked past loads of times. Go in! Simon’s Place isn’t shiny and modrin. In fact it’s substance over style. But if your style is fresh sambos, homemade cake and the best cuppa in Dublin, well then… And all to a soundtrack of indie beats. Sit yourself upstairs for people watching, downstairs for a cosy cavern.

The cafe is manned by Simon (who else?) and his team of gorgeous girls, who variously remind me of Amelie or Holly Golightly. They do add a continental chic to the no nonsense Irish menu. Sambos are made up every morning with lovely fluffy wholemeal bread. My fave is avocado. The Bloke likes ham, cheese or egg mayo. Sometimes tuna. Maybe chicken. They’re generously filled and well priced. And yummy!

Homemade soup is simple but delicious. Now to the sweet things. There’s always room in my dessert belly! Sticky cinnamon buns and Simon’s carrot cake are well known treats in this town. The antidote to faceless chain cafes, Simon’s Place is a joy to be in whether alone with a book or munching a deux. Rock’n’roll band poster decor and an easygoing vibe make this one of the best hideaways I know.

Simon’s Place, George’s Street Arcade, Dublin 2

Jul 3, 2013

Flavor – Simply Sublime

Nothing beats a sunny Saturday in Dublin. Especially one with rainbows, hello Pride! It was all happening in my neck of the woods with the post march entertainment in full swing at Merrion Square. I glittered my cheeks and got front of stage for The Amazing Few. Such a great fun band with lead singer, Kieron, getting us into dolphin mode (you had to be there) and shimmying on down to their funky beat.

Eurovision diva Niamh Kavanagh blew the crowd away – whatever it is, she’s got it in spades. I eventually made my way through the beautiful people and into town. The city centre was buzzing with colour. The Bruv and his lady were waiting at the Long Hall on George’s Street and it was a cool sip of fizzy water for me. Food was next on the agenda and we wanted to try somewhere new. Where to?

Flavor on Camden Street has been many different incarnations over the years, but this is by far the best. We were greeted enthusiastically at the door, with a delicious description of their set menu. The list is short but sweet. 18 euro for two courses, 22 euro for three. Flavor’s BYOB service meant we could pop ’round to Whelans next door for some craft beers, but they had a good selection of booze in house too.

The food was superb. Just what the doctor ordered. Melt in the mouth lamb shank in a rich gravy with potato cake and veg, chicken piri piri on a bed of mixed leaves with roast potato and Moroccan chicken on fruity cous cous with mint yogurt. So simple. So good. All served with charming ease. Desserts of Eton mess, banoffee and chocolate brownie came in wine glasses. Get to Flavor as soon as you can.

Flavor, 87 Camden Street, Dublin 2

Jul 3, 2013

Vintage Cocktail Club – Faded Elegance

What else to do on a Friday night, but seek out Dublin’s hot new watering hole? That would be the Vintage Cocktail Club on in Temple Bar then. It’s all exclusive bookings, furtive phone calls and secret doorways. We were enjoying a pint in The Bank, nearby on Dame Street, when we got the nod. It was off to Crown Alley to find adventures new. The Vintage Cocktail Club is working an under the radar buzz.

We were met at the door and ushered up the stairs, peering into swirly carpeted, tassel lamped coves as we went. All very Alice in Wonderland… Deposited in the roof top bar until our table became available, we got stuck into the cocktail menu. The range is impressive with everything from classics to experimental mixtures, in shots, tall or shorts. Top notch ingredients too. No vodka & Coke here, no Sir.

We ordered a Cucumber Cooler, something with pepper, something with elderflower and a special cocktail made up for us. All tasty, well made beverages. We brought them down to the basement and settled into a velvet booth. The vibe is 1920s New York speakeasy with plenty of cool cats who were out to look good. That includes the staff, who were casual but kind. Enjoyable spot for a midnight interlude.

Vintage Cocktail Club, 15 Crown Alley, Dublin 2 / www.vintagecocktailclub.com

Jun 13, 2013

Jo Burger Town – Finger Lickin’ Good

Boiling hot day – check. Outdoorsy lunch – check. Cool – you get the picture! So there we were, me and the Bloke, sat outside at little tables in one of Dublin’s hottest hot spots. Jo Burger on Castle Market was bustling with sun seekers last week, lapping up the chance to dine al fresco. I was in a summer dress, hat, shades and lotsa lotion just incase!  First up was a cuppa, no matter the weather…

Jo Burger is famous for it’s delicious beef burgers, but it was the lunch blackboard that caught my eye. I like a place that combines value with quality and here were some very tasty sandwiches, all around a fiver a pop. Sign me up! I went for the roast chicken with lemon herb mayo while the Bloke chowed down on a BLT with avocado mayo. All washed down with homemade mint and lime soda in a jar. Slurp!

This place, it’s big sister, Jo Burger Rathmines, and it’s hipster cousins BEAR, Crackbird and Skinflint are the babies of local boy Joe Macken. Restaurateur extraordinaire Macken has a knack for foodie zeitgeist, running his joints to a soundtrack of street cred and juicy morsels. He can throw just about anything together – burgers, chicken, pizza – and make it look, feel and taste good. Just add cool kids!

Jo Burger Town, 4/5 Castle Market, Dublin 2 / www.joburger.ie

May 5, 2013

Cocoa Atelier – Let Them Eat Chocolate!

There’s hot chocolate. And there’s Cocoa Atelier hot chocolate. The Bloke had nipped into Cocoa Atelier on Drury Street to buy me some lovely chocolates. No reason, that’s just how he rolls. Lucky me! And while he was at it, a nice assistant pointed him in the direction of what is quickly becoming known as Dublin’s best hot chocolate. A bottle of the stuff, to take away, which he duly snapped up.

Cocoa Atelier began when Marc Armand, a French chef and founder of La Rousse Foods, wanted to bring a little slice of Paris to Dublin. A proper chocolaterie, that offers something to the connoisseur, within a sleek boutique setting. High cocoa content is the key when it comes to top quality chocolate. Cocoa Atelier combine theirs with continental flavours, like lime, earl grey, whiskey, mango and vanilla.

The shop is a joy for sweet tooths (hands up!) with beautifully crafted goodies on display. French patisserie include traditional chocolate creme eclairs and macaroons in every colour of the rainbow. Treats are packaged in chic black boxes, perfect gifts, and bars are available in squares of varying darkness. Jars of chocolate and caramel sauce are perfect for desserts. Mmmn… Now, where was I?

Cocoa Atelier, 30 Drury Street, Dublin 2

Mar 22, 2013

Sweet Nosh – Ciao Bella!

Finding places to get cake in Dublin is not just a hobby of mine, it’s a life skill. Chatham Street is well loved for it’s strip of genuine Italian eateries and new kid on the block, Sweet Nosh, is the sweetest spot in town. Serving up treats like Mamma makes, there’s a rainbow of Italian pastries including amaretti, bigne, biscotti, canolli, tiramisu and cassata. All are displayed in a glass case like beautiful jewels.

Whether you want a little bite of heaven or a special cake for an occasion, Sweet Nosh are the “go to” cake people. The cafe has a lovely Continental vibe, a good foil on a grey day. You can sit in and indulge with quality espresso, rich hot chocolate and mix and match deliciously dinky dolci – ah, they’re only wee… Home-made gelato is the real deal – try banana or pistachio topped with lingue di gatto.

If your taste is for salty morsels, Sweet Nosh do mouthwatering savoury fare too. Pop in after work for aperitivo, the traditional Italian snack plate of cheese, hams, salamis, olives, whatever’s in the kitchen! Perfect with a nice glass of something. Cioccolatini for dessert of course… Sweet Nosh is also my first stop for foodie presents. And the Bloke already knows that a little box of dolci is the way to my heart.

Sweet Nosh, Unit 1 Chatham Street, Dublin 2

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Feb 3, 2013

Eden Bar and Grill – Hot Little Sister!

When my girlfriends suggested Saturday night supper to celebrate a birthday jam (three of us!), I did a mental walk around town and picked my top restaurants. Temple Bar fave Eden was on my list and one of the girls said she’d heard it now has a little sister on South William Street. So off we went to Eden Bar and Grill, delighted to discover a new place, tucked in where beauty shop Nu Blue Eriu used to be.

The interior is chic and understated and I could see from my perch in the lobby that Eden was full in a nice way, all din and chatter. We were led to a cosy table at the back, near the open kitchen and it was nice to be secluded yet close to the action. The ever changing menu serves all, from fussy eaters to the more adventurous, great when eating with a gang. And full of tasty bits and bobs, to mix and match.

Once drinks were on the table – Mojito mocktails for me and my pregnant friend – our friendly waitress got her notebook out. I went for a medley of starters and sides, cos that’s how I roll. Goat’s cheese beignets with beetroot, smoked mackerel with purple potato salad and sprouting broccoli with toasted almonds. With my salady, veggie tendencies I rarely order meat, but I had plenty of alternatives here.

The girls tucked into chicken with haricot beans, pork belly, mushroom risotto and a fine chargrilled sirloin, all whet with a nice Merlot. My myriad plates were a jungle of fresh leaves and delicious side sauces, which I piled into one dish. My only disappointment was the parsimonious mackerel, which was served 80s haute cuisine style. More please, Sir? But I had enough of everything else to fill my belly!

The atmosphere at Eden was as good as the food. We were comfortable cackling, gossiping and catching up, as all around us conversation flowed. Dessert was accompanied by soothing piano music. I found room for yummy Gathabawn Farm ice cream, while the girls finished with brioche and butter pudding, chocolate mousse and pecan pie. And a nightcap at Cafe En Seine, just like old times…

Eden Bar and Grill, 7 South William Street, Dublin 2 / www.edenbarandgrill.ie

Oct 30, 2012

Hard Rock Cafe – American Pie

Twas a breezy Tuesday afternoon when me and the Bloke decided the only thing for it was to hit up the Hard Rock Cafe and stuff our chops. No better place! The Hard Rock’s been in Temple Bar for a few a years now, on Fleet Street alongside fellow burger buddies on the Hen / Stag trail. As a salad kinda gal it wouldn’t be my first port of call but we fancied a big fat chow and some cocktails, so down the hatch!

We were seated in a leatherette booth beneath Bono’s shades. The decor, featuring musical memorabilia like its worldwide siblings, is homage to Irish rock’n’roll history. Music videos played on big screens in the background, MTV style. Our man in Japan was one of the best waiters I’ve had the pleasure of, bringing us cocktails first. A sparkling fresh Mojito for me and a macho pink one for himself.

The nachos came with a warning on account of their size, and true to his word our man brought us a ginormous mess of hot tortillas, cheese, sour cream and jalapenos. With salsa and guacamole on the side. For starters! However I did spy two ladies next door demolishing the insane looking Jumbo Combo, which does what it says on the tin… We made a good dent in the nachos which could have fed four.

I had the chicken Caesar salad for dins while the Bloke tucked into an S.O.B burger. I’m sure he only picked it for the name! My salad was nice and crisp with proper Romaine leaves and seriously creamy sauce. There was a good topping of grilled chicken and salty bacon bits but the croutons are always my test. Lovely crunchy little numbers! The hot and spicy burger went down well, the chips not so much.

Another cocktail – rude not to – helped to ease our sore bellies. But the charming chef talked us into his dessert special of banana bread and butter pudding. The cake fiend in me made room for this sweet sticky caramel goo-fest. Yummy! Not used to munching so much in one sitting we waddled home for a sneaky snooze. Now that’s what I call a carb coma. The Hard Rock Cafe does American comfort food.

Hard Rock Cafe Dublin, 12 Fleet Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2