Food, Restaurants
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Avoca Food Market and Salt Café, Monkstown, Dublin

There is a gorgeous lull between Christmas and New Year where all that matters is what the next meal is. I was lucky enough to have my family come from Donegal to stay in Dublin this year, and after the chocolate comas, and tripping over the puppy one too many times came the, ‘What do we do now?’.
We had a fine December afternoon in Dun Laoghaire seeing where James Joyce had once slept in the Martello Tower. Crouched, and with delicate steps, we reached the breezy and utterly lovely view at the top of those unforgiving stairs.
Then onwards for lunch. It was my choice; and it was easy.
Avoca is always somewhere  I love to go with my parents when they are in town. It’s like hiring a car and being given a Volvo. It’s reliable, trustworthy and you are guaranteed happy passengers and tummies.
It’ll never be a sexy MG, but it will never as boring as a Ford. A solid all rounder.
Salt at Avoca in Monkstown is one of my favourite spots out of town. We’d missed the lunchtime rush and were seated at a table away on our own to chat and eat. Perfect.
My brother, who will always have the appetite of a horse, ordered the Free range half rotisserie chicken with the Caesar salad. He was happily satisfied with the portion and gobbled it down with delight.
The chicken was that kind of moist you only get once out of every 10 in your own home roasted chicken. And the salad includes anchovy in the dressing, which I do adore.
I went for the Poached organic Clare Island salmon with celeriac and apple remoulade. It was light and perfectly poached with a lovely bit of wobble on the salmon and tart apple to perk it up. My parents ordered the Castletownbere crab salad with fennel, pickled carrots, Seville orange and Avoca multiseed bread, and just in case, a portion of chips to share.
Their salad was the star. It was fresh, tasted of the sea and sweet, with enough fennel and orange to cut through the dressed crab. The fat and floury chips were devoured by us all. 
Salt’s evening menu is equally delicious and quite the forgotten dining gem. It’s beautifully romantic and has another fine menu from head chef Mark McGillycuddy.
If you would like a girl to fall in love with you, order the the chocolate mousse and heavenly-light cinnamon doughnuts. She may marry you.

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