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  1. Havent checked if these are open over the season but the following should be good - Mustard Seed in Adare as mentioned above but Wild Geese also in Adare is also said to be v. good. - http://www.thewild-geese.com/ Market Square Brasserie Limerick City - 74 O'Connell St. 061316311 Sage Cafe - 67-68 Catherine St. Limerick - http://www.thesagecafe.com/ Ciarans Cafe in the university is said to be ok too if a bit healthy- http://www.ciarans.ie/ Saturday Milk market should be worth a visit for artisan cheeses, charceuterie etc. good pub food in Limerick www.molldarbys.com watch out for a copy of the bridgestone food guide which is reliable (I work for them so I would say that!).
  2. TD mentions in the review that he is good friends with corrigan and on the page opposite the review is a preview of new cookbooks for the autumn including one by richard corrigan assisted by one tom doorley. all a bit too cosy for me given the review read like a press release. I would have passed on reviewing it in his position. I too have heard mostly negative stories - mainly about service, but also about the food. I really do hope they get it together as I think RC would be a good addition to the city but I'm not going until I hear some positives (from people other than yer one and yer man). Meanwhile on Corrigan and Dylan McGrath "Muppet-gate" (as I have chosen to call it) does anyone know where this story came from. Was mcgrath interviewed somewhere or did he write something? He used to have a column in Image magazine but not the last 2 issues (that I can find). anyway, something to laugh about in this lovely weather.
  3. no Mint. pity really as he would have stood out. no l'Ecrivain either despite Derry's pic on the website and the supplement in the indo.
  4. just to round off the post... I didnt work on sat but it was reasonably busy day by all accounts. rained on sunday evening which dampened things a bit but there was a fantastic cuban band playing during most the rain which took the edge off and helped the mood (plus during the obligatory Guantanamera I think I heard the singer drop in "free guantanamo" along with the chorus. I like a little politics with my food.). In conclusion, this was a good festival for the punter and any restaurant offering decent food should have broken even or made a profit and got some good publicity However people there to make money such as small producers that took a risk on selling enough product to make a profit would have struggled as the event was too spread out. Standard admission was 40 euro including 20 euro worth of tokens so for 80 euro entry plus say 30 euros of extra vouchers you could have a good four hours of food and drink, a bit of a dance and a chat with some interesting people. plus if you were irish you were bound to know someone on one of the stalls to get you some extra freebies. I spoke to one prominent chef/prop. and he was v. happy - he enjoyed being out of his kitchen for a few days, made a small profit, made some friends with potential customers (he gave away a lot of free food) and generally enjoyed himself despite a few whingers. I felt much the same.
  5. Day 2... first a word on the wine stalls. nothing that would be called exciting but you could while away an hour (and get pissed if you wanted) in the O'Briens Tent where you pay 10 euro to do a tour of about 20 of their suppliers. many of their winemakers are over so there are good conversations to be had - had a good chat with Mr. Ascheri about his fab hotel in Bra (where I stayed at the last slow food Salone). I like their nebbiola d'alba a lot and they are making a decent effort with their barolos at a fair price. their modern and v. cool hotel is above the winery and beside their agri tourismo restaurant so in theory you never have to leave. I digress. I confess that I havent done much of a survey of the wine stands as there are mostly commercial wines on show. there are a couple of no-name burgundy producer/negocients with stands and there are the usual promotional stands from wines of Bordeaux and wines of chile (and ourselves). berry bros have a couple of ok wines and Mitchells have some good producers but there are far too many crappy importers with big stands and no-name wines. Good beer is available from Premier beers (beside the wine australia stand) with a few trappists (chimay and la trappe) and others. Best to focus on the food. so today i had a couple of Jaipur dishes (a fried chicken and a prawn dish) which were not earth shattering but suited the bottle of red chimay I blagged from premier beers on a swap for a couple of glasses of Lindemans sauvignon blanc. Liked the lamb brochette from Venu a lot (v. similar to the dish served in the restaurant) - lamb was crispy on the outside and pink in the middle. king scallop with black pudding and a pea foam (I think) from Bon Appetit was excellent. Black pudding and apple tart tatin on Lockes stand was far too sweet but I did eat it all up so I shouldnt complain too much. Feta and spinach parcel from Silk Road Cafe was fine but no match for their falafal (see above). Had some excellent murphys ice cream (from Dingle) and a good chat with the valrhona girls at the same stall - bad news is they are re-designing the Trinidad single estate Gran Couvo (my favourite chocolate) to bring it from the perfect 75g to 100g (presumably so they can charge more). Scored some air dried connemara lamb from James McGeogh of Oughterard and some mossfield organic cheese from Ralph Haslam from Birr. both these products are amazing and should be sought out if you have never tried them. The air dried lamb is a world class product imo. Also the craft butchers today had excellent sausages and even better fresh blood pudding from Maguires of Ashbourne. Should also say that the extra space really improves the event for the punters but there will be complaints from the stall holders as the extra space means less foot fall. Wouldn't like to be relying on selling enough to make a profit.
  6. Taste of Dublin see here started today and it is bigger and mostly better than before. I was working at it today (Wine Australia stand) so here are some first impressions. No Thorntons this year but Chapter One will be there Sat. and Sun. and Bon Appetit are there all four days. Gordon Ramsey at Powerscourt makes his first appearance as do Lockes, Balzac, First Floor Harvey Nicks, Still at Dylan (hotel) and Alex (Conrad hotel). This year the festival takes over the whole of the Iveagh Gardens giving lots of space and dispersing the crowds (unlike last year when everyone crowded into the small restaurant area leaving the other half empty). There seemed to be lots more wine and beer companies this year and the usual suspects at these events (boozeberries, hot irishman etc.). So what can I recommend... Silk Road Cafe's Felafel in a wrap for six florins (1 florin = 1 euro), spicy tasty crispy felafal in a large wrap best taste of the day. Scampi at Venu is excellent, as is the slow cooked shoulder of lamb with beans at Bon Appetit. A little less successful was the Turkish Chicken at Silk Road Cafe - very lemony with rather dry rice and some lumps of tomato - not bad, just not as good as I thought it should be. Disaster of the day has to be the 2 dishes I had at Gordon Ramsey at Powerscourt - foie gras yoghurt (just strange tasting) and awful scallop arancini (deep fried risotto balls) - dammned if I could find any trace of scallop other than perhaps a vague aroma. at least these last 2 were only 5 tokens each. Cellar Bar at the Merrion are back with their fish and chips and mushy peas (now an outrageous 8 florins but still a large queue given that they are quite tasty). Weather was a little chilly today but there was a good atmosphere. Music is much improved from last year with wandering Classical quartets and Trios and good bands belting playing blues soul and Led Zeppelin covers. Freebies to watch out for include bottles of tropicana, magnum ice creams, strawberries (from Superquinn I think), and one of my favourite tastes of the day - a large lump of roast duck with a generous amount of crispy skin from Silver Hill ducks. Also should mention the girls at barrys tea stand who gave me lots of peppermint tea. Avoid the starbucks coffee as usual (nasty nasty bitter and muddy - why cant they make decent cafetiere coffee - I learned to do this aged about 14??) Caught some of Clodagh McKennas demo and she was charming and quite witty. She baked a whole gubbeen with rosemary and garlic (v. tasty) and rolled some aubergines around some St. Tola cheese. Gino D'Acampo (regular on ready steady cook apparantly) was also doing a demo and trying to charm the women with his italian accent (it sort of worked). food he cooked was so so. spotted only one sea bass and one slow roast belly of pork so a little more diversity in the food this year. lots more to try tomorrow and I will try to report back. PS: Avoid the VIP tickets as apparantly all you get is a glass or two of champagne and a place to sit down away from all the restaurants and food outlets (why pay all that money to avoid the main reason for going there?).
  7. wild gourmets - educational or just preachy posh gits? Just watched the second episode of wild gourmets on channel 4 (Tuesday 8.30) and still not sure what to make of them. While it is great to encourage people to eat wild food, how realistic is it for ordinary people (without a camera crew in tow) to turn up at stately homes in Surrey and ask them for free food from the kitchen garden in exchange for a bit of wood chopping. I'd like to see them do it without a camera crew and without their posh accents. In this week's show they shot some pheasants, caught a couple of pike and picked some mushrooms including parasols (they looked more like shaggy parasols to me but I could be wrong). Last week they swapped some beefsteak fungi for eggs and all manner of things at a local shop. which seemed utterly unrealistic to me. I know what my local veg. shop would say if I turned up with some battered bracket fungi and asked to swap them for a dozen eggs and some olive oil. So far almost all the herbs she has used have been cultivated ones - why is she not using wild garlic and all the other things that woods are full of rather than relying on what she can scrounge from the local toffs kitchen garden? I think we are supposed to fancy them (hence the shot of his arse this week - I will lay odds that there will be more of this posterior in future episodes) - personally I find them both utterly sexless and the recipes suspect but I will probably keep watching.
  8. Ate in Pegasus last night 24/07/07. Menu is a bit of a mess with all kinds of fusion food mixed with straightforward thai and Italian and French dishes. They do know how to cook but are lacking in confidence with their local ingredients it seems to me with Nile Perch and Tilapia on the menu. Other fish were flounder and lemon sole (stuffed with shrimp). I presume the flounder was european but the waitress didn't know. My cold sorrel soup was good with crayfish but not outstanding and my wife's tilapia ceviche was quite good but hardly exciting. My flounder for main was well cooked and tasty and the shrimp stuffed sole was good. My son's steak was tough as could be but he ate it anyway. Finally desserts were excellent proving the kitchen can cook - good home-made ice cream and nigh on perfect chocolate fondant cake (called ganache on the menu we had). So in conclusion the food here is competent but expensive for Tallinn and they need to trust their local ingredients more. I much preferred my lunch at Troika which is a touristy place in the town square near the town hall - excellent local Saku dark beer (available in the off licences for under a euro a bottle), blini with red caviar (about E.5.50), pot roast - creamy pork topped with bread and baked in the oven (c. E.8) and blinis and ice-cream with strawberry jam for dessert. My wife had good dumplings for about 6 euro and my son had a big steak properly cooked and seasoned for about 18 euro. simple honest fare for very little money served by charming waitresses. Olde Hansa is as good as they say. v. good home made beer and schnapps but be warned the beer is a little sweeter than most of us are used to - old medieval recipe etc. honey apple pudding is outstanding, smoked herring starter excellent, baked cheese starter v. good. Himalayan Lamb and Boar and Elk mains were top notch but also a bit sweet - but this is appropriate... and decent strong coffee (with schnapps plus sth else). yes it is a bit hokey but they try their best to make it feel like fun.
  9. Except for Paulo Tullio - always giving crappy Italians good reviews when maybe they have one good dish - this makes them think they dont need to change anything... My local -Lisas in Terenure - is a case in point and you would swear from Paulo's review on the window that it was a long lost gem - most people in the village go there when they are too tired to cook and want something comforting and also in the hope there will be a loud dramatic row (they are frequent) between the owner and his wife! To be fair they cook the spag meatballs very well but thats about it. I agree with the outsider elements regarding McGrath. He is just working all his waking hours to create something different and this needs to be recognised. Critics can have an impact on the type of people that read them - especially those fashion concious with money types who might feel a place has "gone off" and restaurants like Mint sometimes need a lot of these (sadly). Hopefully the praise he gets will counter any of the criticism. I looked up my notes on my first visit to Mint in early Sept. 06 and think they indicate why DM should be supported. I was reporting for a food guide and this below is an extract from the email I sent with the report so it was very much first impressions.... I had left my card so they could email me the wine list and I got a phone call an hour later from Dylan wanting to know who I was! Not in an agressive way but in order to defend his staff, in particular Pierre the sommellier who had been criticised by chris binchy in the trib and Paulo T. in the indo. I also think he felt the need to explain what he was trying to do and give me a statement of intent.... "My 20 min conversation with Dylan McGrath was interesting and showed much more concern for his staff than for how I treated his food in my report. He was keen to say that he was trying to do something different to anywhere else in town, that he had been around the block a few times and knew what he wanted and that he wanted to shake the city up. I did mention the pain epices appearing a few times and he rightly corrected me (it was cinnamon breadcrumbs on the figs) and told me that if he finds something he likes he is happy to use it in lots of things if thats the way his creative juices are flowing that day (or something like this). My other comment was that there was a lot going on in some of the dishes like the turbot and he said "I like wet sauces" and something along the lines of "I want you to get buckets of flavour onto the plate and I wont apologise for that" - so fair enough. One amusing element of the conversation was his breaking off after less than sixty seconds to shout at a hapless commis on his seasoning techniques - something along the lines of "What the fuck are you doing. Use your hand - put the fucking salt in with your hand like I showed you. Yeah. Like that. Just listen in future will you!" He was quite defensive of his sommellier who he asked to come with him from London (tom aikens) where his clientele was quite different and here also he is having to deal with Mint's old clientele who are now coming to a very different restaurant. His somellier was criticised by Paulo for over charging on a glass of cote du rhone when in fact it was from a bottle of 100 euro Cote Rotie and as such 11 euro is a v. fair price for such a glass. Chris Binchy was fair to the food McGrath says but also criticised the wine, feeling the choice of his pre-dinner glass was inappropriate - I said that I found the sommellier quite reserved and some of the wines unfamiliar but that this was not necessarily a bad thing if their provenance was explained further. McGrath countered by saying that "well if you had been burned twice in a couple of weeks you would be reserved also". Anyway just thought it was interesting to read that again. Pierre needs mention for a fantastic list also some of which he imports himself because he couldnt find a supplier in dublin. Many of the names are unfamiliar but anyone with a bit of knowledge and a hugh johnson pocket guide will know the list is superlative.
  10. I saw the beginning of one demo she did and the end of another (I couldnt be away from my post for too long) and she didnt mention it at all. I think she was presenting herself as Angela Hartnett of the Connaught rather than with any reference to Ramsey Holdings. She just dropped in a comment along the lines of "And before you ask, yes Gordon is just as bad in real life as he is on TV but I wouldn't have worked for him for so long if I didnt think he was great". He was on Pat kenny a couple of weeks ago and I think he said September. No doubt there will be fanfare before it opens. I know a planner in an bord pleanala and she told me the building is just god awful - she kept making them sink it lower as she felt such a monstrosity should not be viewable from any of the hills around wicklow!
  11. Oliver Dunne had his positioning spot on in Mint in Ranelagh. What he is offering in Malahide is a two-tier approach, with a lesser bistro version downstairs (which by all accounts is quite good: French onion soup, moules, steaks etc, wine starting at €26, and it’s a pity that this wasn’t included in the review), but perhaps the formal restaurant upstairs is a bit of a reach and is just not his thing. But this is just conjecture. I’m sure he’s feeling a bit deflated after the very positive reviews he got in Mint. It is just one review… but I can’t help thinking that what he was doing in Ranelagh would work perfectly in any affluent suburb, and maybe he should stick to the knitting, which he had off pat. ← Just to add to the praise of Cafe Bon which has fantastic food imo but is only a cafe in the same way that Daniel Boulot's cafe is - 37 euro for 2 courses back in March. Dunne is insisent that the 2 restaurants be treated separately as they have separate kitchens and separate chefs. I loved the food and it is probably the only time I can remember ever been served a steak properly rare - the proteins coagulated but only just, leaving it still bright red inside (check the steak page in your Larousse for a definition and pics to see what I mean). Steak is served blue instead of rare almost everywhere (especially in France). Also they treated my 6 year old impeccably - always an interesting test of a restaurant.- cooking him fish and chips off the menu. we probably shouldnt have brought him but we misunderstood the cafe thing. Excellent mushroom pie and top notch chocolate and orange fondant. as tot he salt thing doorley is always complaining about salt so I wouldnt pay any attention to that.
  12. I'm a fan of Dylan McGrath also. All cities need chefs like him. I have gotten the impression in the past that Lucinda likes to be think of herself as very important and relevent to her reviews (she sometimes tells us what she wore to the restaurant I seem to remember). very odd altogether. Dylan should have made a point of treating her exactly as a normal customer but there is no point getting cross about such things - she is there to review the food. Good restaurant criticism should be reportage not an op-ed article. Pity it wasnt tom doorley as he loves to be recognised and given extras.
  13. I was never that fond of mackerel but it is a pity it is gone. The got their saucing wrong on most occasions i felt and rarely let the fish speak for itself (something which cavistons do perfectly). Just want to also comment on Franks which doesnt deserve to be on any such list imo. I accept they have good burgers and quite good desserts but they are overpriced and make a dreadful croque monsieur with crappy supermarket ham. Staff are not particularly efficient or friendly and after eating there two times I decided not to bother going back ever again (maybe things have improved in the last year or two but I doubt it).
  14. Thanks for the mention C! I enjoyed the event this year but preferred last year which seemed more informal. this year there were fewer places to sit (deliberate I reckon, as the more you sit the less you might spend). I was there each day and the rain was as torrential as we get in Ireland on Thursday evening and Friday afternoon. This affected numbers but this was no harm as the restaurant area was jammed most of the time on the friday evening and sat and sun. THe splitting of the venue into two sections with food and a few bars in one and bars and a vip tent (with no food) in the other didnt work as everyone wanted to be where the restaurants were. I agree with C's comments above but I liked the cone at throntons a bit more than she did. THe scallop with truffle mousse was my star of the show also mostly because it was so perfectly cooked. I also liked the veal brochette with ceps at Peploes as well as their gambas a la plancha, the nice simple fish and chips with puree peas at the cellar bar (which they gave our stand for free!) and the palestinian chicken at the silk road cafe (this included pommegranite seeds in the rice which really worked). Good desserts were harder to come by but I did like the walnut frangipane at bon appetit. The shelbourne had very odd choices with lobster in a grapefruit ceviche (not terrible but not great either) and a bland, under seasoned risotto which was not in any way saved by the addition of some (actual) truffle shavings. bang cafe had their iced berries in white chocolate (a staple on their menu since they opened) and a good slow cooked belly of pork (nothing new but it was tasty). Jaipur lost some of the subtlety they can often get in their food but the additition of an excellent naan bread fresh from the tandoor helped a lot. On the demos - I only saw a few over the few days. Oliver dunne's stand was beside the demo tent and he said that many of the chefs just died on their feet. the best he saw was nevan who had them eating out of his hand as reported by C above. Nevan is v. good at demos and it always makes me wonder why I dont like his tv programmes - mainly because they seem so dumbed down.: angela hartnett charmed the pants off us all with anecdotes and useful instruction aimed at dinner party cooking rather than restaurant fans - probably a good thing given the audience. I fought my way to the front at the end to taste her grappa granita with melon - delicious, and sweet potato stuffed tortelli (a bit bland) and her peaches stuffed with amoretti biscuits was also good. Oliver Dunne was good also working with sous chef (I think - I missed the intro). I tried watching the druid chef but found his druid codology unbearable - having said that I liked the idea of his golden fish broth with smoked salmon and the addition of some gold leaf. no idea what it tasted like but it looked great.
  15. thanks for the clarification C. As an aside - everyone is suggesting the location for D7 is wrong but I am not so sure. If the restaurant was good enough I think people would go. the winding stair is very near (being by the river helps I suppose). Panem is always full, gubu does good business and so does the new soup dragon on the Quays (I believe) and no-one says Mick Wallaces wine bar etc. are in the wrong place. Also if he can survive for a few years the city council is supposed to be developing all manner of things in the area (including a borough market type thing in the corpo fruit and veg. market). Arnotts have lots of plans and already Great Strand Street (as un-preposessing a street as you could imagine) has the Morrison at one end, the Kevin Kavanagh gallery in the middle and that South African shop, gubu bar and a food shop at the other end. Also the excellent asian shop and Mr. Midleton's garden shop are around the corner on little mary street.
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