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BBQ-ing at the Gibson Hotel

BBQ-at-the-Gibson-Hotel

So last week I was delighted to be invited to the Gibson Hotel’s annual launch of their summer barbecue menu. The Gibson is located across from the 3 Arena (or The Point, as those of a certain age will know it as). More recently, it has become famous for playing host to the brilliant Irish First Dates show. It was my first visit to the Gibson, which is not your typical hotel, with its modernist glass frontage, and now-infamous lift which takes you to its third floor reception area.

The event was held in the the Coda Eatery with top DJ Dan Stritch on the decks. We were greeted with BBQ Bramble Cocktails and Sangria.  The lavish gourmet buffet included the usual BBQ suspects such as chicken wings, sausages, burgers and lamb chops, but with a Gibson twist, alongside a huge choice of salads including fresh watermelon, mint and feta salad, potato salad, and a delicious parma ham salad with mozzarella and a strawberry chilli dressing. Oh, and cheesy chips! In fairness, who doesn’t love some cheesy chips. And as for desserts! Well, despite being ridiculously stuffed, the ‘aul dessert pocket was open for business, and so I partook in some gorgeous banoffee pie, mini doughnuts, and rich but fluffy chocolate mousse. To be fair, I did share the latter with my good pal and fellow blogger, Ciara from Irishtravelkey, so there was some semblance of restraint exercised!

The BBQ menu is available for groups of 25 people and more, and costs €25 per person which ain’t half bad. And a bonus, as it’s held in the indoor courtyard or heated terrace, there’s no need to worry about manky weather halting your plans. Result!

Gibson-Hotel-BBQ-Launch

Disclaimer: I was invited to this event and was not requested, nor paid (sure wouldn’t that be lovely altogether) to write a blog entry on the event. All opinions are honest, and my own.

 

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.

 

RESTAURANT REVIEWS

The Klaws are out at one of Dublin’s Best Seafood Restaurants

Klaw Restaurant, Temple Bar, Dublin

Let’s be honest, most Dubliners aren’t the biggest fans of Temple Bar. Even the Huffington Post described it as one of the world’s most disappointing tourist destinations to be avoided “at all costs”. Yes, there may be a glut of British stag parties at the weekend, groups of ripped-off American tourists desperately clutching maps in the hope of finding something that slightly resembles the Ireland they saw in the movies, and clutters of, how shall I put it delicately, right dodgy looking feckers. But it ain’t all that bad, people! A number of new eateries have popped up in the last couple of years which are set to change the perception of Temple Bar completely. One such newbie is Klaw, a seafood shack owned by the lovely Niall Sabongi, he of Rock Lobster Dundrum fame. The restaurant itself is tiny and can accomodate 14 stool-sitting hungry bunnies.  Sizewise, my estimates put it at 1.5 Hubbies wide and 5 Hubbies deep (1 Hubby unit of measurement = 6 foot 3). The kitchen is situated at the back and is in full view, so you can get a good goo of all the schucking taking place.

The menu is simple and written on the large blackboard which dominates the left wall of the restaurant and includes most of the headline acts of the seafood world. Oysters are available in 3 varieties (Dooncastle, Waterford and Galway Bay). For purists, they can be eaten “naked” (with lemon or tabasco), or for the more adventurous, dressed or torched. For the non-oyster eating posse (i.e. moi), there is crab, Atlantic prawns, seafood chowder and their signature lobster rolls. What’s not to love! On this particular day, himself and myself had  vouchers from the nice folk of thetaste.ie for a lobster roll plus a glass of wine for a mere 10 yo-yos (sadly, offer is currently not available). Quite the deal indeed! We were greeted by a super-friendly waitress who observed my “uncanny resemblance” to yer one from Titanic (Hmmm, I’m hoping she meant Kate Winslet, and not Kathy Bates!), and so as she led us to our table, I made a mental note to tip this highly-astute individual generously!

Lobster Roll at Klaw

Having partaken in a lobster roll at the brilliant Rock Lobster previously, I knew this wasn’t going to fill my hungry belly, so I ordered a seafood chowder and himself ordered 6 oysters (it being happy hour n’all). The seafood chowder was delicious, served in a can with toasted baguette on the side. It was a lot thinner in consistency than you would usually expect for a chowder, but it was packed with flavour. Having said that, I do like my chowders to be made with half a cow’s worth of cream, but it made the perfect belly-liner for the main dish. Himself delighted in the juicy oysters, which are half price during happy hour, the Galway ones proving to be his favourite. And so on to the raison-to-be-there – the lobster rolls! Wowzers! The sweet lobster, dressed in a yuzu mayonnaise, oozes out of a delicious brioche bun fried in butter and is served with a whopper chunk of cucumber and a sprinkle of crisps. For those of you lacking in the Google department, the Yuzu is a citrus fruit originating in East Asia and believed to be a hybrid of sour mandarin and Ichang papeda. Readers may also know it as Citrus ichagensis x C. reticulata.

Seafood Chowder at Klaw

Our meal was washed down with a beautifully dry glass of Picpoul, and for some reason unknown to man, not finished off with a dessert! (Like seriously, what’s that all about?) The dessert offering changes but creme brulée and whoopie pies feature regularly. Since our last visit, there have been new additions added to their menu such as mac n’cheese and fish stew, so another visit is long overdue. If you’ve never had a lobster roll, add it to your bucket list and get your booty down to Klaw. It’ll be one of the best 16 euros you’ve ever spent!

Klaw, 5a Crown Alley, Temple Bar, Dublin 2