All posts tagged: restaurant review

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 …

Restaurant Review: Mishkins, Catherine Street, London

I love birthdays. I love the delicious fluttery feeling in your tummy on the morning of it. I love the cards, the messages of love from my parents that make me cry, the breakfast, the lunch, the bubbles, the dinner, the karaoke where possible, the candles and the cake crumbs. I’m cheeky enough to stretch it into a birthday week. But this year, my best friend Niamh, knows me well enough to give me a gift that would turn it into a birthday season. While my birthday is at the end of June, she booked us a trip to London to visit our friend a few months later. After a gorgeous weekend trip, the last stop was to meet a friend for lunch at Mishkins, opposite the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane, before heading to the airport. It’s owned by Russell Norman, proprietor of quite a few achingly hipster spots in London like ‘Polpo’ and ‘Polpetto.’ Mishkins describe themselves as a ‘kind of Jewish deli with cocktails.’ It’s not kosher, but the menu is laden with …

Restaurant Crush: Isabel’s

When restaurants are called by a girl’s name, I like to imagine it must be in honour of the heroine of a magnificent love affair, or an ode to a romantic encounter or some other grand and heart breaking tale where  you can almost hear Maria Callas sing ‘O Mio Babbino Caro.’ Isabel’s is so called, indeed from love, but not from any heartache. It is named after the owner, Ian Keegan’s daughter, which is immediately heart warming. It’s on the corner of Lower Baggot Street and after taking the few steps down to the basement entrance, you find a softly lit, warm and sensuous  restaurant and wine bar that’s tiny and perfect. I often have misgivings about wine bars with food, as  the menu can sometimes present a world of shocking misunderstanding. Cajun wings and a delicate Pinot? Yum. Thankfully, Isabel’s are tiny and perfect with their menu too. Ian and head chef Niall O’Sullivan have created a delicate, exciting, and delicious menu whether you want to nibble on lighter bites, a cheese board, …

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 : Terra Madre, Dublin 1

It was the taste of that first tomato that did it. We hadn’t seen the sun set and I was already smitten with Italy. On my first holiday there, on the glorious Amalfi coast last year, my friend and I were being baked in an uncomfortably hot Sorrento. In a tiny, dusty restaurant, we cooled off and ordered Insalata Caprese. That was the first time I actually tasted sun in a tomato, and what the word ripe meant. The mozzarella was young and pillowy and fantastic. A soft white on the lip smacking red of tomato and cracks of black pepper, glugs of olive oil and sweetly picked basil. The owner allowed us to stay and we sat happily for the afternoon and ordered another Caprese, and then pasta and local wine. We solved the problems of the world that day. I kept wondering why the owner wasn’t rushing us and soon realised why. He’s Italian. When I first went to Terra Madre, on Bachelor’s Walk, I was reminded of all of those things I …