Browsing articles tagged with "Ely Gastro Pub Archives - I Love Saturday"
Apr 26, 2012

Ely Gastro Pub – Stylish Bites

Another lunch date with my Mother was on the cards last week – don’t we love ourselves? We had a nice mill around the Grand Canal Docks, in search something salady for herself. The menu at Ely Gastro Pub got the nod, and in we went. The chic surrounds of this place always say wine bar to me rather than gastro pub, but the lunch fare is hearty enough to earn the name.

In among the suited and booted clientelle, we relaxed in comfy leather bucket chairs. Daily specials included vintage cheddar on sourdough which appealed to my carb cravings. It arrived with a cute little basket of chips. Mother went for the Ely super salad. Although rice was listed in the ingredients, we were surprised to find that most of the salad was filled out with hard white rice.

Restaurants often make the mistake of thinking that salad eaters must be filled up with extra carbs or meat. I always find that Caesar comes with mounds of unwanted chicken. But no. We like green stuff. Keep salad simple! Our waiter was such a lovely chap, but when the guy in charge came by we told him that the otherwise delicious salad was not what we’d expected.

I was quite impressed that he took our feedback on board and there was nothing negative apart from the cold rice. Having spied next door’s desserts, we decided to round off our meal with a sweet treat. Our man told us that Ely’s pastry chef, Monto, is well known for his delicate confections and he helped me with my French as I ordered the pear bavarois, and ice cream for Mama.

The desserts really did taste as good as they looked. So light and expertly flavoured. Ely is such a nice place to kick back, we found ourselves chatting away with the staff, in between our own conversation. When paying the bill we noticed that our ice cream was on the house. Making customers feel welcome is the best thing on the menu here. We’ll be back!

Ely Gastro Pub, Grand Canal Square, Dublin 2 / www.elywinebar.ie

Oct 5, 2011

Mamma Mia – Thank You For The Music!

I don’t know what had me more excited, Abba musical Mamma Mia or a visit to the Grand Canal Theatre. Anyone who saw my favourite Docklands neighbour Harry Crosbie on the Saturday Night Show last week will know that the theatre was born of blood, sweat and tears. And well worth it too! Home to many top productions since its opening, the Grand Canal Theatre is modern, comfortable and relaxed. But the view of the impressive canal basin is the best bit – and you can see Harry’s gaff from here!

After a cheeky Murphy’s in the bar, we took our seats in the circle balcony. I always think an eagle eye view is best for a big show. Mamma Mia opened on a Greek island, under crystal clear lighting, with the shows heroine Sophie singing “I Have a Dream”. When her bridesmaids burst onto the scene it was camp drama all round – I knew the show was going to be high octane! We were introduced to the story line by the trio – I won’t give the game away but let’s just say Sophie’s wedding is unusual…

Enter Sophie’s mother Donna and her sisters, who poured their infectious energy into smart one liners and of course belting song and dance. Mamma Mia has a typical musical feel, but is quite different from a sophisticated Lloyd Webber production. Written by Catherine Johnson, the show is unapologetically laced with clichés and the story is told through the music of Benny Anderson and Bjorn Ulvaeus. For all of Mamma Mia’s silly conflict and comedy moments the songs tell of true relationships.

Show stopper “Dancing Queen” brought Donna and her sisters to the stage in full Abba white satin uniform. This was the moment the audience engaged, with the first burst of laughter at the girl’s slapstick moves. From here on in it was all clapping along and fits of giggles – and no, it wasn’t just me! It wasn’t only the thigh slapping numbers either, Sophie and her hubby to be Sky evoked pure Sandy and Danny with their version of “Lay Your Love on Me”. The tempo flowed easily from high to low.

Mia Mamma’s plot thickened as daughter Sophie searched for meaning in her past while mother Donna avoided hers, creating an emotional build up to the wedding. The crescendo was Donna’s stomping “Winner Takes it All”, proving her to be the show’s real star. Everyone’s story is told from the cougar to the feminist, and the young buck to the divorcee through a huge spectrum of Abba songs. Not only is this clever but I was surprised to find the music of my childhood pulling at my heartstrings…

Alas there’s a surprise nuptial twist and it’s not like any wedding I’ve been to! Sophie and Sky make off into the finale sunset singing “I Have a Dream” as they go. There’s no single moral of the story with Mamma Mia but rather it was a rollercoaster commentary on our expectations of life. The audience rose to their feet for a rip roaring neon satin romp by the ensemble cast – clapping, dancing and swaying to an Abba medley. I’m sure a fair portion of my neighbours were in a happy 1970’s time warp!

I was still smiling when we repaired to nearby Ely Gastro Pub. It’s actually more of a slick wine bar but cosy with it, perfect for a late supper. Our waitress, a sweet girl who encouraged our post show high jinks, brought us mini fish, scampi and chips served in cute little frying baskets. Supping wine and beer we finished with a chocolate pyramid and strawberry meringue. I didn’t know what to expect from Mamma Mia but Billy Barrie for grown ups is all I can say! And sure why not?

www.grandcanaltheatre.ie