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dublin restaurants

FOOD HOME RESTAURANT REVIEWS

Nothing Beats a Good Pokē

Klaw Poke, Dublin

Never visit a restaurant on its opening day, that’s just not playing fair. Despite months of planning, there will invariably be hiccups, late deliveries, staff shortages, missing toilet rolls – you get the picture. However, on this occasion, I didn’t really have a choice. I had been madly curious about the fab Mr. Sabongi’s latest offering (he of Rock Lobster, Klaw notoriety), and my other half was leaving the country for a while and knew he would just love it. So on a sunny Friday early evening in May (you might remember the one), we took ourselves to the posh end of Capel Street (which end’s that you say? Well, you be the judge :-)) Klaw Poke is the new arrival in question, whose menu is focussed around pokē  (pronounced “poh-kay”, but where’s the innuendo fun in that), or Hawaiian Sushi which is a cross between Japanese sushi and Peruvian ceviche and made up of pieces of raw tuna, salmon and other seafood marinated in soy sauce, seaweed and sesame and served on a base of rice or quinoa with greens such as kimchi and avocado to bump up the health value.

Klaw Poke, Capel Street

The restaurant is small and can host about 24 bums on seats, with some at the long bar overlooking the kitchen, watching the magic happen. The decor has a fresh holiday feel with a long chalkboard which would line the wall with its menu was a work in progress on the evening in question. The menus were also still at the printers, and so our super-friendly waiter listed out the options available. Being crap at retention, I could only remember the first and last items he mentioned. Thankfully, himself is less of a goldfish on the memory front, so we ordered the Salmon with Siraracha Aioli & Yellowfin Tuna & House Ponzu. The speedily served result was an explosion of a freshness. Delicately marinated fish in a perfectly paired sauce, rice, chillis, avocado, delicious kimchi (which I’m normally not a fan of), picked cucumber, and radishes created a dish which was perfect marriage of healthy eating and sublime taste. Would I be full afterwards? Maybe not. Satisfied? Definitely. Prices vary according to the fish chosen, and you can choose your toppings and sauce, so you can customise your dish to suit your tastes, or just trust the experts and try one of their signature bowls

Since that first evening, I understand that there have been a number of additions to the menu such as lobster rolls, chowder, and crab on toast. And indeed, they have also played around with their Pokē recipes which is really the beauty of this dish, which will undoubtedly be shooting up in menus all over the place, – the permutations are endless! Unfortunately, I have not been back yet, simply due to the location being a bit out of my way, but I look forward to making the trek very soon, and I recommend you do too.

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FOOD RESTAURANT OFFERS

Dine in Dublin 2017

Dine in Dublin Festival

If you’re of a certain age i.e. a lot younger than myself, you won’t remember a time when the Dublin food scene was horrendous. Like, seriously horrendous. These days, however, it takes quite an effort to get a crappy meal in Dublin. Nonethless, we humans are creatures of habit, and just as we end up wearing the same ten items of clothing, we also tend to frequent the same handful of restaurants. So, with the advent of Dine in Dublin on Monday, February 27th, running until Sunday, March 5th, now’s the time to break out of your rut and avail of the great offers available during festival week. There is a full list of the restaurants and cafes which are are taking part on the Dine in Dublin website, but here are a few of my recommendations:

Fallon & Byrne
1. FALLON & BYRNE
One of favourite places in Dublin full stop. I could easily spend a whole afternoon just walking around their food hall, and as for their restaurant – fabulous! For festival week, they’re offering a 3 course meal for two people with Prosecco Cocktails on arrival for €60. Choose from a set menu which includes Pan-roasted Irish hake and Free-range Irish coq au vin. And to finish it off, who could say no to a Mont Blanc Knickerbocker Glory with chestnut mousse!
Contact: Fallon & Byrne, 11 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2

Brother Hubbard
2. BROTHER HUBBARD
If you haven’t been to Brother Hubbard, sort yourself out pronto! This über trendy cafe on Capel Street (and Harrington Street) serves up some gorgeous 3FE coffe and semonlina pancakes by day, and from Wednesday to Sunday, offers an incredible Middle Eastern Feast Menu in the evening. For Dine in Dublin 2017, they are offering this 3 Course Feasting Menu for €50 for two people. Choices include falafal, pomegranate chicken livers, beef kofta, lamb shoulder, not to mention a hole heap of vegetarion options. Methinks, you’ll like it a lot.
Contact: Brother Hubbard, 153 Capel Street, Dublin 1

Laduree Dublin

3. LADUREE
I love France. I love the idea of Frenchness. So it’s a bit of a given that I’m in love with Ladurée. Situated on the corner of South William Street, the restaurant/café evokes all that you would imagine a Parisian tearoom would look and feel like. Perhaps the hubby or boyfriend won’t quite appreciate its boudoir decor, but for the ladies, it’s a perfect way to spend an afternoon with friends or the mammy for a special treat. For festival week, they are offering afternoon tea for two people with a glass of bubbles for €45. Choose from a selection of finger sandwiches, pastries, macarons, and financiers (that’s a small almond cake, not the lad who works behind the counter at your local AIB).
Contact: Ladurée, South William Street/Exchequer Street Corner, Dublin 2

The Woollen Mills
4. THE WOOLLEN MILLS
If you don’t get to go here during the festival, make sure to drop by at some stage, if not for a meal, then for a coffee and one of their amazing sambos or sausage rolls. During Dine in Dublin, they are offering a 3 course dinner plus cocktails for two for €60. On the menu are Mussel + leek paté, Ha’penny Bridge homemade coddle, stout-braised beef short ribs, and white chocolate cheesecake among others. When you’re booking, try to get a seat in the roof terrace looking out at the Ha’penny Bridge and the Liffey. The view is pure Dublin!
Contact: The Woollen Mills, 42 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1

All photos courtesy of dineindublin.ie

FOOD RESTAURANT REVIEWS

Cooking up a Treat in Camden Kitchen

Camden Kitchen, Dublin

I know, I know. It’s been absolutely ages since I’ve written anything. While one of the positives of being self-employed is that you can work whenever you want, the reality is that you pretty much work all the time available to you. And when you’re not working, you’re thinking about the work you should be doing, which leaves poor ‘ole Brekkie at Tiffany’s a tad neglected. Anyhoo, onwards and upwards, or just off Camden Street in this particular case.

I’ve been curious about Camden Kitchen for ages. It’s actually been around since 2010, so I’m ever so slightly late to the party. The cosy little neighbourhood eatery (oh how Irish Times Lifestyle of me) is situated on Grantham Street, just off the main thoroughfare of Camden Street which houses the foodie delights of Delahunt, Pickle, and Tesco Express. Having received a most welcome 50 yoyos from the Mammy for my recent marital anniversary, I thought what better than to seize the opportunity and avail of a Living Social voucher for a three-course meal at CK for two people for a mere €49. And so it came to be last night…

The restaurant is small, situated over two floors, and was completely full on this particular rainy Friday evening. The atmosphere is warm and unpretentious with antiquities and flowers decorating the dining area. Given the smallness of the restaurant, the tables are positioned very close together. Question: when sitting down at a table on those occasions, what is the correct ettiquette? Does one position one’s arse to one’s own table, or towards the neighouring guests? Arses aside, we were well within earshot of our neighbour’s conversation, and let’s just say they won’t be celebrating any anniversary together in the near future!

And so on to the food, himself ordered the wild Wicklow pigeon with lentils, and not wanting to order the same, I selected the chicken liver parfait with sourdough toast. The parfait was beautifully smooth with the accompanying plum chutney adding a delicious sweet contrast. The pigeon and lentils were cooked and seasoned on point. An absolute a revelation and showed the chef’s true understanding of how to enhance this ‘game of the poor’ in the subtle way it deserves. Himself is extremely particular i.e. fussy fecker when it comes to preparing food from the wild. Game always needs a subtle hint of sweetness combined with some nutty aroma and this chef knows that!

Starters, Camden Kitchen

For the main course, I decided to continue my poultry experience and had the Salt Marsh duck breast served with barley and cabbage, confit beetroots, and butternut & orange puree. This was seriously gorgeous! The duck was cooked medium rare with the puree bringing sumptuous sweetness to the dish. And as for the beetroot – brilliant. I initially had reservations about the beetroot being included at all, but man they were good! I ordered a side portion of sauteed potatoes as I was wary of the barley. Again, my doubts were thoroughly unwarranted as the barley was indeed a very welcome surprise.  Himself had the wild Irish hake and bisque risotto and cockles which was perfectly executed and did not disappoint. The risotto was al dente, the hake as flaky and with a crispy skin, exactly as it should be. The chef earned serious kudos from himself for both his dishes which he said were cooked perfectly and packed with flavour.

To finish off, we both ordered the bread & butter pudding. I would’ve been more than happy with any of the four other dessert choices, but in fairness who can resist a bit of b&b pud! For the purpose of review, I would’ve liked one of us to have tried something else, but as himself was in Joey Tribiani mode and wasn’t going to share his, I was not going to miss out. The pudding was beautifully light, made with Brioche and served with almond ice-cream and krokant. My only slight complaint was the lack of sultanas (I only had two), but I am perhaps a tad over-fond of the humble sultana.

Main Course, Camden Kitchen

Camden Kitchen is a great little gem (only slightly) off the beaten track. The service was excellent, with friendly and attentive staff. If you can get hold of the living social voucher, snap it up. If you don’t, still go. You’ll be delighted you did.

Camden Kitchen
Grantham Street
Dublin 8
http://camdenkitchen.ie/
Tel: (01) 476 0125

RESTAURANT REVIEWS

Real Gourmet Burger Terenure Review

Real Gourmet Burger, Terenure

And so my quest to keep it local continues. On this particular occasion, I had a severe bout of the lazy-Maisies and didn’t want to cook, and so armed with a jammy little voucher from Groupon, I took myself and the Mammy up to Terenure to a spot I’ve been curious about for some months – Real Gourmet Burger. The restaurant is situated in the heart of Terenure Cross/Village/Enclave which has seen the opening of quite a few new eateries and quality shops in the past year. Not to mention a right fancy looking Aldi. On the ground floor, the restaurant has a laid back atmosphere, decorated with modern, solid Scandi-style furniture, bricked walls, and an open kitchen at the back. Upstairs, there’s plenty of space to easily house small functions and gatherings. And so on to the food, the voucher was for 2 burgers & fries, plus wine (or craft beer) for €20, which given that all the meat is naturally reared and free-range is quite the deal indeed!

Unlike Bunsen, Real Gourmet Burger offers up a whole host of burgers – with 12 types of beef, 2 lamb, 3 chicken, and a couple of vegetarian options. I ordered the classic lamb burger with melted mozzarella, aubergine, and mint mayonnaise. The Mammy went for the Old Timer beef burger with roasted mushroom, caramelised onions, streaky bacon, Swiss cheese and house-made horseradish mayo. Both burgers were served in a poppy seed bun with rosemary fries, and a nice little Pinot Grigio to wash it down. I have to say, everything was a complete triumph.The burgers were cooked perfectly and the add-ons enhanced the flavour of the meat, without overpowering it. Admittedly, there is a brief moment when you think “how am I going to get my gob around that”. But never underestimate the humble gob, folks! They are truly a marvel of design and engineering. Or is that the Golden Gate Bridge? Anyhoo, despite our fullness, but in consideration of the Sundayness of the day, dessert was, I felt, entirely necessary, and so we shared an Eton mess. Lots of meringue – although, perhaps too much – with lashings of cream and beautifully sweet strawberries. A nice end to a lovely meal!

rgbmontage

The restaurant has a great buzz with some pretty decent tunes in the background, and friendly staff adding to the casual atmosphere. When we arrived it was almost full. By the time we left it had got quieter, which is to be expected on Sunday evening. I’d highly recommend picking up one of the vouchers while they are still available. And if they’re gone, hey nonny nonny,  it’s is still great value at full price. Methinks, you’ll like it a lot!

Real Gourmet Burger, 101 Terenure Road East, Dublin 6

FOOD RESTAURANT OFFERS

Best Dining Offers in Dublin Now

Camden Kitchen

The dining scene in Dublin is really ramping it up in the last couple of years, with loads of new openings every month. All the better for us, and needless to say with competition fierce, the offers are getting even fiercer! Well I’ve scoured the offer & voucher websites for you, and picked out a few beauties I think you might like. Go forth and fill your bellies!

CAMDEN KITCHEN (shown above)
Voted by Conde Nast Traveller Magazine as one of the 12 best places to eat in Dublin, this offer is the perfect opportunity for you to try this fabulous little restaurant nestled off Camden Street. Living Social are giving 3 course meal for two people for just 49 yoyos! Just to give you an idea of what you could go for: Goats Cheese Mousse, Walnut, Golden Raisins & Capers Vinaigrette, Gold River Farm Leaves for starters, Wild Wicklow Venison Saddle, Pressed Potato Terrine, Roast Shallots & Pickles Blackberry for mains, and perhaps finish off with Dark Chocolate & 5 Spices Fondant with Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream, Coconut Froth. Well that’s me sorted anyway!
Restaurant Website: http://camdenkitchen.ie/
Offer Link: livingsocial.ie

Brasserie Sixty6
BRASSERIE SIXTY6
A really popular restaurant on South Great George’s Street, they have just introduced their steak & lobster menu. Let’s all take a moment and savour those two words, shall we: Steak. Lobster. Anyhoo, the beautiful folks at thetaste.ie are giving 2 course dinner from their new menu for 2 people plus 2 summer cocktails for only €50! Holla! And just to help you salivate a bit more, let me just tell you the full description of the lobster dish: Roast lobster tail with tempura claws, served with thick cut chips, curry aioli, and a summer salad of pineapple, tomato, ruby grapefruit, chives, picked ginger, shallots, and watercress. Told ya!
Restaurant Website: http://www.brasseriesixty6.com/
Offer Link: thetaste.ie

Le Bon Crubeen

LE BON CRUBEEN
This multi award-winning restaurant often gets ignored due to its location on Talbot Street, away from the trendier locations around Grafton Street & George’s Street. But its consistently high standards, and focus on sourcing products from the best Irish suppliers, warrant a visit. The offer is for a 3 course meal for 2 people for 49 smackers. Some highlights include Daube of Beef, Slow cooked Lamb Rump, Sirloin Steak, and Pork Belly. And don’t get me started on the Chocolate Creme Brulee and the Caramel Bavorois!
Restaurant Website: http://leboncrubeen.ie/
Offer Link: dealrush.ie

Photos shown from top courtesy of camden kitchen, taste.ie, le bon crubeen