Monthly Archives

April 2016

PLACES

Tourist at Home | Malahide

Malahide Castle

At the start of the year, I made a pledge to myself to see more of my home city. View it like a tourist as it were. So this weekend, instead of hitting the shops again, and seeing as the weather was dry n’all, the Mammy and myself drove out to (in guidebook lingo) the picturesque coastal village of Malahide. Malahide village is 16km north of the city if you’re buying petrol, or a mere half an hour trip on the bus or DART from the city centre. Within the village itself there is a plethora of independent shops and restaurants plus a couple of schneaky little sightings of a Starbucks and Boots (oh well). Donnybrook Fair have also recently opened up a new fancy schmancy supermarket to keep you stocked up on macarons and asparagus spears. From the village, you can walk along the sandy beach which leads to the neighboring beach in Portmarnock, or listen to the jostling of the boats in the marina (I’m really getting into this guidebook lark).

Walled Gardens at Malahide Castle

On this particular day, we focused our visit on Malahide Castle and grounds. The Mammy had never been, and despite initial ambivalence, was positively enthusiastic (although that could have been the sight of an Avoca Cafe). The 270 acre grounds are beautifully maintained and would make the perfect location for a picnic on a sunny day. The grounds also host manicured walled gardens and a small but perfectly-formed Victorian glass house, similar to that in the Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin. Over €12 million was spent on the Castle and gardens to create a more enjoyable tourist experience, and this is particularly evident in the Courtyard visitor centre which hosts a souvenir shop, bike rental, and the Mecca of all yummy mummies (and actually just yummies) – Avoca! As our tour of the castle was not due for another hour, we took the opportunity to have our Sunday dindins in one of our favourite eateries. As with all Avoca restaurants, the noise level is equivalent to the decibel whoosh you get when first entering public swimming baths. Lots of kids, lots of chatting, but somehow that’s all part of the Avoca experience. The Cafe in Malahide is self-service with the specials made to order. I ordered the Lamb Tagine with couscous and flatbreads, and the Mammy had the fish cakes with salad. Both dishes were a triumph and the portions, as always, were huge and at 14.95 each, very good value. And of course, it would’ve been rude not to finish off with a slice of vanilla cheesecake with caramel. So, in the interests of politeness…

Lamb Tagine at Avoca, Malahide Castle

With our bellies full, we made our way over to the castle for the beginning of the tour. Our tour guide was Mary, who took us through the history of the castle and its original owners, the Talbot family (they of Talbot Street and Talbot Bridge fame). Somehow I don’t think her real name is Mary, just as the call centre rep. who called from Bangalore last week, probably isn’t really called Steve. Anyhoo, “Mary” was charming and informative, and engaged her audience with genuine interest in her subject. The enjoyable tour took us through the rooms of the castle and lasted 45 minutes, and finished off with a copy of the Proclamation of the State, as it was the 1916 commemoration day. Tickets for the tour cost €12 for adults and €6 for children. After the tour, we took a leisurely stroll around the gardens, and further down to the truly delightful village which was just closing its doors for the day, ready for the pubs and restaurants to take over the evening shift.

Why not make your own pledge this year to take in all that Dublin has to offer. Take a trip out to Malahide this summer. You know where it is!

Main photo courtesy of www.malahidecastleandgardens.ie

RESTAURANT REVIEWS

Eat Yourself Healthy at Siam Thai

Siam Thai Malahide

So this week I was lucky to be invited to one of the health & nutrition talks currently running in Siam Thai’s two Dublin restaurants in Dundrum and Malahide. I have wanted to go to their Dundrum restaurant for ages, but have somehow never got around to it, so when I got the opportunity to visit the one in Malahide, I snapped it up. The topic of the evening’s talk was Nutrition on the Go and was held by the charming Gaye Godkin, a clinical nutritionist who works as a nutritional consultant for both organisations and individuals, and has worked with the chefs of Siam Thai to create new dishes with a nutritional focus.

Upon arrival we were greeted with Prosecco (always a plus), before being brought up to a separate dining area, away from the main restaurant, where our group could listen to Gaye’s presentation while simultaneously enjoying the delicious starters which were served up to us consisting of fresh spring rolls, carrot & papaza salad, and Larb Gai (minced chicken). The starters were an absolute triumph – packed full with flavour, but without the guilt! I positively felt like running out to the nearest Eason’s and snapping up a heap of Roz Purcell cook books!

Healthy Starters at Siam Thai Malahide

The main course offering had something for everyone, but I partook in my usual Pad Thai with prawns. Call me a slave to habit, but I like to think it more as a Thai restaurant comparison tool. And a ridiculously tasty one at that! So how did Siam Thai fare? Let’s just say, in my eyes at least, they are quite possible top of the Dublin Thai Restaurant League right now. The prawns were plump, the noodles were cooked perfectly, the sauce had just the right amount of sweetness, and (importantly), there was more than enough to fill this ‘ole belly!

Pad Thai at Siam Thai Malahide

We finished off the meal with a coffee, and as I left the buzzing restaurant (even on a Tuesday evening), I definitely felt more motivated and inspired to put less focus on calories, and give more attention to the nutritional aspect of food, without needing to compromise on taste. On this evening, Siam Thai more than proved it was possible.

Siam Thai, 1 The Green, Malahide, Co. Dublin. Tel: 01 845 4698.

 

FASHION

H&M Ireland Now Online

H&M Biker Jacket

After 10 years in Ireland, H&M finally launched their Irish online site. So now, you don’t have to make the trek into town, or have your latest fashion fix sent to your Parcel Motel locker via their UK site. Who knows what the cause of the delay was, but hey it’s finally here, and for a delivery fee of €3.99, it’s now on your doorstep. And sign up for their newsletter, and you get 25% off one item of your choice.  Happy Days! To save you all some time, I’ve picked out some key pieces from the latest arrivals which might just tickle your fancy!

H&M Launches Irish Website

Clockwise from top: Fringed Sandals €19.99, Flared Jeans €19.99, Suede Fringed Bag €29.99, Grey Lyocell top (Conscious Collection) €19.99, Gold Feather Bangle €6.99, Linen Blend Biker Jacket €49.99