All posts tagged: food archive

Westport Festival of Music and Food 2013 – delicious in every way

Oh I do love a good summer music festival. Where I can panic buy ridiculous wellies from Dunnes, wear some kind of flower hairband and get burnt with a hot shock of pink on my forearms. Some of my loveliest music festival memories are sipping on a warm pint of beer, while listening to a band I’d never heard of with people I love, and thinking ‘Sure, isn’t this bloody marvellous altogether?’ That’s what I love about them. What I love even more is the food. The very fact that Westport Festival of Music and Food has food in its title puts a little joy in my heart. The food stalls are always my favourite bit of festivals, they colour my plans for the day, the strategy for where to go and who to see. What will my next meal be? My next tub of noodles? My next burger? And my, haven’t the festivals grown? Not just your curry chip in a plastic tray that’s thrown out a tenner a pop. No, no. Now we seek out Pad thais …

Restaurant Review: The Chef’s Table at The Pig’s Ear, Dublin 2.

Stephen Mc Allister is a talented boy. I’ve known him since the days when I was making his tea as a runner on ‘The Restaurant’ series for RTE, back in 2007. He was, like the other kitchen team chefs Gary O’Hanlon and Louise Lennox, essential to magic of the show and making the guest chef feel relaxed. So I made good tea. Fast forward, and while I was lucky enough to get to produce and direct the show, he went on to open the wonderful ‘The Pig’s Ear’ restaurant on Nassau Street. It is my brother’s favourite restaurant and a place where I have had many a treasured evening. Stephen is very good at keeping his supreme talents hidden. He is modest and any compliment is met with a ‘Ah go ‘way,’ but his food won’t let him away with that humble nonsense. He’s recently opened the very special ‘Chef’s Table’ at the top of the restaurant. It seats eight people in a gorgeous room overlooking Trinity College. I have had the good fortune to …

There once was a trip to elBulli

I was recently reminded of how lucky I was to get to dine  in elBulli restaurant. Although it was over three years ago, I can still taste every dish. It was one of the most spectacular nights of my life. Here are some words I wrote about it shortly after returning: elBulli Some people are so determined to eat in Spain’s elBulli restaurant that they’ll book a table four years in advance – like a chap I met last year who planned a table for his wife’s 40th birthday. Others, like me, create 11 new email addresses and enter the annual lottery for reservations. Since there are around 400 applicants for each available cover, we usually don’t hear anything back. But there’s always the chance of a Christmas miracle. In late December 2008, my friend Ciarán called me, breathless. “Guess where we’re going next October 17th?” I had bullied (pardon) him into entering the lottery too; if either of us got in, we would take the other person. elBulli is housed in a plain, unassuming …

Restaurant: Coppinger Row

We are not equipped for sunshine dining in Dublin. It rains, we are quite aware, thanks. Neither are we all that equipped for in-between time dining. We’re all clamouring for a table at 1pm or 8.30pm. Does the food taste better at these times? Try getting a proper menu after lunch and before dinner and options are limited. Coppinger Row gets a big fat kiss for doing both of these. In fact, if I wanted a table at 3pm in the sunshine with a pretty decent menu, I’d go here. By coincidence, I had recently been here for both those reasons. A sunny Friday evening called for an outdoor table, and then a late lunch meeting meant all rows led to Coppinger. In the evening, you will inevitably wait to get a table. They are always humming. I’ve never been in company that’s booked ahead, so always end up waiting for a table. It’s actually probably an excuse to try one of their outrageous ‘Flo & Basy’ cocktails with Agave and Elderflower. These should be …

Restaurant Crush: Brother Hubbard, Capel Street, Dublin.

The best time to have lunch is never lunchtime. I adore the wonderful, bumbled, disarray of having meals the wrong way round, or at the punctuation points of day when the world, and everyone else, are busy. Everything tastes sweeter when you are having something at the cheekiest times of day. Like the first sip of a beer or bubbles on holidays, far too early, far too irresistible. Or leftover cake at breakfast, far too sweet, far too delicious. Lunch in Brother Hubbard’s on Dublin’s Capel Street was in the heavenly part of late afternoon. And it was supposed to be just a coffee. The long room has cleverly got what I call its lipstick on properly with waist level displays of cakes, salads, scones and delicious treats upon entering. Even though it was a very late lunch, the long and narrow room was full, but we managed to get a table outside in their sweet and sunny little back terrace. A talented friend, Kevin Powell, had told me about this little café, so it …

Restaurant crush: Harry’s, Donegal

There are meals to forget, to fight over, to break up over, to douse with salt, and soothe with wine. And there are meals in Harry’s. My parents excitedly told me about Harry’s in Bridgend, County Donegal, before Christmas. This place had fresh Donegal fish. They had locally sourced produce and reasonable prices. I was keen. We made a trip in that deliciously frustrating lull after Christmas when you’re bored, stuffed full of cranberry sauce and on the constant verge of a row, or having one, with a loved one. Awkward meals and box set escapism. Fish was a good compromise. We set out with lunch on our mind to Bridgend. It is over an hour’s drive from my home in North West Donegal, towards Greencastle and Derry. Starving and cranky, we were welcomed by Donal Doherty who runs it with Kevin. The chef at the helm of the humming open kitchen is Raymond Moran. Friendly smiles and presentation of wine lists resulted in a long exhale. And then the menu. It sang out like …

Birthday at ‘The Greenhouse,’ Dublin 2.

Oh, I do love birthdays. I’ll cheekily stretch it into a week. And this year, into a month, between my beloved Donegal home and Dublin. It’s a day for you. Your candles, your cake and your presents. If you’re lucky. As mine falls in June, it’s a nice comma halfway through the year to take stock of my annual sentence. Undoubtedly, there will be the inevitable assessment of how many more grey hairs have appeared, how I still haven’t bought the dream house on Shrewsbury, passed my driving test or learned Italian. But after a few splashes in that paddling pool of self loathing, the realisation of the positives of the year far outweigh nipping to Boots for a box of Nice N’Easy. My favourite part about my birthday is lunch. I love to flirt with the decision on the destination for a few weeks before hand. This year, I settled on a date with’ The Greenhouse.’ By the time my birthday came around at the end of June, the restaurant had already been open …