September 7, 2010
The latest face on the Irish foodie horizon is The Ormond Wine Bar, the brainchild of Michael Smith, editor in chief of The Village magazine. It’s a topsy-turvy dining experience, with its hits (cozy yet spacious decor, live lounge music, a limited but accommodating menu) and misses (Its waiting staff.)
We opted for one of the alcoves off to the side, hoping to escape a remarkably loud group of women, who overpowered that evening’s entertainment and our waitress who paid us little more than lip service and walked off in the middle of my order. I had to fetch the condiments myself and was peeved when she kept our change. The brass would eventually have made its way into her pocket but it would have been more polite to wait, especially since she had neglected to inform us that the kitchen was closed and there would be no sweets for me or my sweet.
If they were anything like the main or starter they would have been delicious. We split the Tuna carpaccio with soy and ginger dressing (€5.95) and the spicy lamb meatballs and tzatziki sauce (€4.50) for starters. Delightful, although both needed more dressing and sauce.
Then came the chicken roulade stuffed with sundried tomatoes, spinach and pine nuts (€13.00), which melted in my mouth. It was topped by the 8oz rib-eye steak served with roast baby potatoes and a béarnaise sauce (€16.50) which looked as good as it tasted, the sound of the squawking sea gulls banished by the aria being sung by the appreciative angels in my stomach.
Which made the lack of desert all the more frustrating. But fine food trumps fried patience and while poor waiting staff come and go, cheap, tasty nosh in genuinely atmospheric surroundings should be clung to for dear life.
The Ormond Wine Bar, 6 Ormond Quay Upr, City Centre North
Opening Hours Tues-Sat 12pm-3pm and Dinner 6pm-10pm
August 7, 2010
My heart skipped a beat when I first laid eyes on Dall’ Italiano, just past Hart’s Corner in Phibsboro. I know looks can be deceiving but this place was going to need a belter of a personality to make up for the uncomfortable looking furniture and bland black & white Italian pictures that stood in for decor.
The mother had heard great things but when I was brought a red wine instead of a rose and my starter, a rather mealy Bruschetta with salmon and ricotta cheese (€5.80) turned up 30 minutes after I ordered it you could say my nerves were tested. Mother loved her Parma Ham and Melon (€8.90) but her credibility was shot and I was preparing to write the whole affair off as an exercise in resisting matricide.
One bite into my Pollo Taormina (chicken, spinach & cheese wrapped in Pancetta and dripping in pesto- €13.90) terminated any debate as to whether mother knew best. It was what Belinda Carlisle’s been talking about. Similar apparitions had appeared on the paternal platter, her Tagilita di manzo (striploin beef sliced with grana cheese €1750) bringing about a state of fervor by what she had ingested.
We opted for the more traditional Italian desserts, the Sardinian Seadas and the Cassata Sicilian (both €5) washed down with the house red (the most expensive they had was only €23 a bottle) while the cheerful ambiance of the place infectiously wheedled out my aesthetic concerns.
Dall’ Italiano, Harts Corner, Glasnevin
Opening Hours: Open daily: 8.30am – 10.30,
01 830 2549
March 26, 2010
When you think of traditional Italian grub it’s all pizzas, pastas and
olives. The yanks enjoy quarter pounders with cheese, the Brits do
fish and chips and the Japanese do a mean sushi. We do spuds and
Gallagher’s Boxty House in Temple Bar specialises in the traditional
potato pancakes associated with, but not often known by, the Irish.
Cooked on a griddle, these pancakes come with a range of fillings from
Irish Salmon with fresh & smoked cod (€16.95) to Gammon Steak
marinated in honey (€14.95). Generous and delicious portions of other
Irish delicacies can be found elsewhere on the menu including stews,
coddles and bacon and cabbage while the sticky toffee pudding (€6.50)
is the culinary equivalent of the happy ending.
Gallagher’s Boxty House
20-21 Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Ireland.
Tel: +353 1 677 2762
Fax: +353 1 677 9723
March 26, 2010
For anyone who has ever pulled their hair out trying to satisfy the blood thirsty requirements of a carnivorous meat eater with the obnoxious demands of a vegetarian, the Epicurean Food Hall is a safe haven, catering to the majority of tastes. Located just off the Haypennny Bridge it features 11 different take out points under one roof with one buzz filled, if ever so slightly uncomfortable, communal dinning area. With Mediterranean, Pan Asian, and Mexican dishes all on supply, it really is a small world after all, at least in culinary terms. Most mains cost between €8 and €10.50 with some places offering all you can eat for €9.50.
Epicurean Food Hall,
Lr. Liffey St.,
March 26, 2010
BEST BANANA PANCAKE
While the main courses only cater to the most vegetative of pallets (it is after all, a vegitarian restaurant) those with a sweet tooth will be richly rewarded by Juice’s desert selection. From the orange sorbet (€4.95) to the hazelnut & chocolate tart (€5.95), it’s a virtual cacophony of sweet delights. The sash and the scepter however are draped around the banana crepes (€6.50), gushing in a caramel sauce and weeping in banana ice cream. Paired with one of the most prominent people watching spots in the city and you have a desert that is both sweet on the tongue and on the eye.
73-83 South Great Georges Street Dublin 2
Mon-Sun 11.00 am till 11.00 pm.
Tel +353 1 475 7856
January 31, 2010
Cutting out the bullshit, yet varying the basics of fine Irish dinning, Green 19 may be snipping the corners with price but you’d never guess it in tasting their short and snappy menu. All mains cost €10, the lamb being my favorite. Though it could easily have been the fish and chips. And very nearly was the bangers and mash. You really cant put a fork wrong. And even though the cocktails fall in line with the cities sky high prices (€9) they at least pack as much of a punch to your taste buds as they do on your wallet. Leave without trying the apple crumble and mojito ice cream to your shame.
19 Camden Street Lower, Dublin 2, Ireland
Mon-Sat 10pm-11pm, Sun 12-6pm
Tel: +353 (1) 478 9626
January 31, 2010
Who ate all the pies? Well for once it’s not just you fat bastards with crumbs all over your faces thanks to the cheap, cheerful and devilishly tasty selection available at the South William. As Dublin’s pretty young (and not so young) things prop up the bar to fat Latino beats and smooth soul sounds, bury your taste buds in a landslide of flavor that helps shake off the fabulous pretension sizing you up from the bar. With nine pies at €9 a pop, the cream of the crop is their lamb moussaka, roast aborigine and mint potatoes, though my companion said the Guinness braised beef shin piped it at the flavored post. A side of mushy peas, mashed potatoes or carrot & swede costs just €1 while 3 scoops of ice cream smothered in a Toblerone sauce (€5) is the perfect way to round of your meal… and your stomach.
The South William
52 South William Street Dublin 2 Dublin City
Tel: +353 (1) 672 5946
January 31, 2010
This Stoneybatter stalwart is more than a little topsy-turvy. Attentive, inefficient staff; a large but confusing wine menu; small but not cramped dining quarters. It’s the type of neighbourhood restaurant you want to love – or at least like – but the bland, flavour-lite grub makes it an uphill struggle. I arrived with no reservation, but the staff squeezed me into the bustling parlour with little fuss.
When my starter – tomato and basil soup (€4.50) – failed to materialise, it hinted at what was to come. The free portion of olives was a nice touch and the wine was superb, but after several attempts at ordering mains – they were out of quite a few options on the already limited menu – my Tagliatelle al Caffè (€13.50) was disappointing when it finally arrived. Sure, it was creamy and filling, but it was mundane. I couldn’t help but steal envious glances at the large – and apparently satisfying – cheese boards, salads and lasagnes littering the other tables. Had I ordered wrong? I hoped for more luck with the traditional Italian desserts (€5) but my chocolate chip & vanilla ice cream lacked flavour.
Plan B benefits from having no real local competition – it’s still the best option for blocks around. Just don’t go out of your way to come here.
56 Manor Place, Stoneybatter, Dublin 7. 670 6431
January 31, 2010
The restaurant on the top floor of M&S has a lot going for it…just not its service or its food. I’ve come up here a few times to take advantage of their €12.50 meal deal (a choice of mains, dessert and a glass of wine). Sounds good, I hear you say. But often they’re out of so many dishes that I end up ordering something else, spending more and undoing its supposed value.
On my last visit, my companion and I were served some rather tasteless garlic king prawns (€9.99) and gammon steak with eggs and chips (€9.99), both dull and lifeless. My cola, ordered midway through the meal, arrived long after it, and the bill took so long to arrive that by the time we got it we looked about the same age as the rest of the restaurant’s blue-rinse clientele.
On the plus side, there are magnificent views from the terrace garden, down Grafton Street and all around the city centre. (For some unknown reason, you can’t smoke out there.) Back inside, the floor-to-ceiling windows ensure that the restaurant itself is brightly lit.
15-20 Grafton Street, Dublin 2. 679 7855, marksandspencer.com
January 30, 2010
Five minutes from St Stephen’s Green, between Baggot and Leeson Streets, sits La Peniche, the only cruising restaurant in Dublin. (The MV Cill Airne, docked near North Wall Quay, floats but doesn’t sail. Geddit?) It offers a unique dining experience, al fresco, alongside the tree-lined Grand Canal – or below deck in the wood-panelled dining room should it rain. While this charming little barge could have rested on its quirky laurels, it instead delivers on all three counts: Price. Personality. Piquancy. Board for lunch at midday and choose from a small but salivating menu of Mediterranean and Irish delights, with main courses all around the €10 mark. Salade Niçoise for us; Beef and Guinness stew for our out-of-town visitors. The portions are deceptively large so be sure to leave room for dessert. Meringue with strawberries, chocolate brownies (both €4.95) – Sally made less noise with Harry than we did licking our plates clean.
There are two evening sailings (at 6pm and 9pm) which cost €45 for three courses or €37.50 for two, with a €10 cruise surcharge. La Peniche’s owners tell us some big changes are in the offing – in the next few months the barge will get a complete refurbishment, and the menu will be updated. We look forward to our next sail…
Grand Canal, Mespil Road, Dublin 2. 087 790 0077. www.lapeniche.ie