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Everything posted by ljr

  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.
  16. On Ramsey's talk to the chambers of commerce - I heard he also slagged off Rest. Ptrck Guilbaud for being so expensive - bet he costs half as much again. On Rhodes D7 - a barrister friend tells me that virtually nobody from the law library goes there. Certainly no-one he knows and he has only heard it discussed in negative terms. Mabe because like me they disliked the tiny portions (especially given the prices) and took a deep dislike to some members of staff. I think it is people who saw him on the telly that are keeping it going. on the RitzCarleton - A friend of mine is a planner and it was her that made the developers sink the building down so that it would be as hidden as possible - particularly anyone walking the Wicklow Hills. It really is the most vile looking consturction (going on the mock up here - http://www.ritzcarlton.com/resorts/powerscourt/). I suppose it will suit those people it is aimed at - a bit like the equally hideous 4 Seasons in Ballsbridge. Expect oceans of swag and marble without an ounce of character.
  17. Richard Mabey's Food for Free is best bought in the new large format edition which has exellent pictures. The drawings in the older editions are not much use - especially for mushrooms. for mushrooms you might as well buy the collins pocket guide as it is only a couple of quid and has as many mushrooms in it as most larger more expensive books.
  18. I am in a hurry so I didn´t read all the above posts so apologies if I am repeating anything.... We usually swap apartments when we visit Paris also - the only way to visit imho. The first time we visited I wanted to figure out the city so I went to a different market every morning and bought all round me which I then brought home for lunch. If you want to limit your spend however eating out for lunch instead of the evening makes more sense. the markets are in the morning as you probably know so you could go to a different market and buy food for dinner then nip home to drop off your purchases before heading out for the day. For boulangeries make sure you ask for Pain Tradition or Pain a la ancien as it is worlds apart from the anaemic white bread sold by most boulangeries. It is made with just water, stoneground flour, yeast or sourdough starter and salt but the variation in quality is enormous. Every Spring there is a competition among the bakeries with the winner getting the honour of supplying the Elysee palace (Chirac) with bread for the year. Current holder of the title is - Jean-Pierre Cohier – 270, rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré (8 arr), lauréat du Grand Prix de la Baguette 2006 de la Ville de Paris. Jeffrey Steingarten has an excellent article on the competition in either his first or second collection as he was a judge one year. Past winners include Gosselin and Julien on Rue St. Honore in the 1st arr (a street you will probably find yourself on). both have outstanding bread (Julien is the most consistent in paris in my view) and are near each other (you will see queues). Paul is a chain that is pretty good also. If you really want to explore the world of the boulangerie you could watch for a copy of this book in any decent sized book shop such as those in the Latin Quarter... Cherchez les Pain - Guide des Meilleures Boulangeries de Paris Amazon seem to be out of stock but you should find it easy enough. My copy is at home and I am in Spain as I write this. The book is in french but the ratings are easily decipherable. Other boulangeries worth a visit include A la Flute Gana 226 rue des Pyrenees (20th). http://www.maison-kayser.com/ is excellent and justly famous at 5 rue Basse des Carmes 5th arr. La fournée d'Augustine, 96 rue Raymond Losserand (14e) won it in 2004 and the bread is outstanding but it is a bit of a trek just for some bread as there is nothing else to see in the area (I wrote an article on paris bread that year so I had to visit). Nearly forgot you also need to visit Poilane at rue des cherches midi. on our first time in the city I visited on the morning of my final day and bought a still warm bread (they are huge) and we made amazing sandwiches to eat on the journey to the ferry. It really is a pilgrimage as you smell the bread for a full street away. You can buy Poilane all over the world as they fly it out (supposedly Spielberg gets it delivered) and it keeps well, but to have a still warm bread in your hands is a truly visceral experience. The markets are easily the best place to shop for most things. For really inexpensive and a different experience go to the Belleville market and eat afterwards in one of the very cheap ethnic restaurants. I think Belville is on a Tuesday and Friday. If you want to see real parisians shop for their dinner visit Place Aligre market in the 12th on a Sunday (also Thursday but much quieter) Metro: Ledru-Rollin. The streets are literally jammed with hungry parisians buying lingredients for unch while all the streets around are a ghost town. There is also a small flea market that runs alongside if you need some junk to bring home. The covered market area at the centre of the market is the best quality for chickens, rabbits, foie, brains etc. have a snack in the Baron Rouge afterwards which is the oldest wine bar in paris (or one of them). You will likely be visiting classic bistros so I would recommend Bofinger at Bastille as the room is lovely but stick with the classic fare such as steak frites or (my personal favourite) their breaded pied de cochon which is sublime and a snip at about 13-14 euro. They can be a bit snotty in there and may try to talk you out of it as only French people would eat pigs foot (forgetting the most famous song about this dish by Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday etc. "Gimmie a Pigs foot and a bottle of beer")- but persist and drop the bones noisily on the plate as you suck them dry. You could go for lunch on a thursday or sunday after a visit to the Richard Lenoir market. by the way I am not being macho about the pigs foot - I really do think theirs is one of the finest tasting things you will ever put in your mouth. There is a truly sublime and very inexpensive vietnamese/laotian restaurant in the 13th which a Laotian friend brought me to but the name escapes me. I will post it when I get home in a week´s time... Pho can be wonderful or a bit underwhelming so be careful about picking vietnamese restaurants at random and try to stick with recommended ones. having said that it is very rarely inedible and is a great pick me up - the really cheap ones will have lots of tripe in them so they are not for the squeamish. hope that helps...
  19. Thank you for the v. useful info Pork Belly - exactly what I was looking for. I will be with my wife and 6 year old so if I go it will likely be on my own (I am sure they could cope with a 6 year old but not sure how he would cope with the food - despite the rigorous training I have given him...!) I think I will definitely try to go as 120 is eminently reasonable it seems to me compared to Arzak's peers... Also interesting about the half portions, again something I did not know. I am going at the end of August so will report back. I am staying in Bilbao so might do a short report on Bilbao as there seems to be limited recent info on the city's restaurants and my contact in Bilbao claims it has even better food than san sebastian!
  20. I have looked at the pages above (admittedly rather hurridly) and can see no indication of the cost of a meal at Arzak. On the arzak site it says - "Precio medio: 120 € más bebidas e I.V.A" can anyone translate what this means in practical terms? I assume it means there is a 120 euro menu before wine etc. Second question is regarding lunch - again not mentioned on their site. are they open for lunch and is there a separate lunch menu?
  21. ljr

    Fry pans

    On Bourgeat (non-stick) - Spending more than 25 euro on a pan sounds like utter madness to me since my Bourgeat conversion which happened about 10 years ago. They are wonderful. they are available in Ireland for between 14-26 euro depending on size (Sweeny O'Rouke on Pearse St.) or so which is buttons compared to the commercial brands. I have about 8 in all sizes and once the non-stick coating wears off they are still non stick if treated well (or even not so well). I dry fry stuff in them, make risotto, omelettes, sauces, fry black pudding and sausages in them and even stick them in the oven for making tart tatin sometimes (the handle gets a bit sticky as the heat resistant stuff gets burned but otherwise they cope very well). Best of all is the fact that they are so cheap you can treat them as roughly as you like as you know you can cheaply replace them.
  22. I agree with Corinna's sentiments above about the show which was well organised and a lot of fun with generally high standards of food. I was there as a journo on Thursday and working the other days at the Australian wine stand (handing out samples and extolling the virtues of less familiar Aussie wines (to avg. punter) such as Riesling and Verdelho and Shiraz Viognier blends etc. Surprising for Ireland there was much less boozing than there usually is at these events and I did not see anyone slumped in a chair from over-indulgence - unlike at many a wine fair; including trade-only fairs! People were genuinely enjoying the food it seemed to me and I spoke to hundreds of people. Only sour note was some wan handing out "ban foie gras" leaflets - she ambushed me at the wine stand and refused to accept that battery farmed chickens were less of a problem. deeply regret not reporting her to security and having her thrown out. L'Ecrivain had excellent food but I am very cross that I didnt get a qualis egg - though it still tasted great with wonderful smoked haddock from Sally Barnes (one of our best salmon smokers). I tried Rhodes mutton with cabbage and it was very bland and not suited to the event imo. the dishes that I felt worked best had a strong emphasis on flavour so I thought Jaipur,s (our best indian restaurant) was great and the belly of pork mentioned above. You only have a small dish to serve so it should zing with flavour. Hence I also really liked the Merrion Hotel Cellar Rest. for serving perfect fish and chips with decent batter and good mushy peas (not marrowfat ones but mushed frozen peas - I know I should prefer the marrowfats but I just dont) and for having a huge basket of Piemonte summer truffles which they grated liberally on their risotto (ok the risotto could have been better but the truffle made it worthwhile). Best of all was the fact that all three dishes were just 5 tokens each - most other stands started at 7 tokens. Saw Corrigan's demo and he was his usual ebullient self, praising wild herbs, wild crayfish, bone marrow etc etc.. he cooked an Irish chicken (which he has lambasted in the recent past) and this was clearly an attempt to make peace with the chicken producers here. It seemed clear to me he did not enjoy using the irish chicken but he sucked it up for the sake of mending bridges - probably wise given that he is due to open here shortly but a little disappointing also. Women rushed to the stage as soon as his presentation was over which was quite sweet I thought. On the radio on Friday morning he said he thought the food was better at the dublin event than at London (singling out L'Ecrivain) - Worrell whatsit was on with him and he said it was easier here because the numbers were smaller... At the demo Corrigan was asked about Worrell Thompson's comment in the paper that Irish food was "improving" and he said something like "but sure this is his first time here - what does he know!" and in relation to the queen's birthday he said of awt something like "sure he burnt the feckin thing, of course he didnt win!". all very entertaining. it will be back next year for sure as they pretty much sold out and I suspect those that did not participate this year will be fighting to get in...
  23. On the Shelbourne, rumours abound. Most recently, I heard that it was behind schedule and looking shaky for Ryder Cup completion. Have you any idea what is planned from a restaurant perspective if Nobu is completely out of the frame? ←
  24. ljr


    speaking of which: spotted this a couple of weeks ago - not sure how long it will be up so best to copy the page... Figaroscope on the best places for potatoes in Paris - the best Gratin Dauphinoise is said to be le Cafe des Musees on rue de turenne in the third arr.
  25. I wonder is that a branch of Jaipur which is easily the best Indian restaurant(s) in the country all owned by the one person with decent chefs in all of them. (Poppadom in Rathgar and Vermillion in Terenure have disimproved significantly of late and I would be curious to hear if anyone has visited Rasam recently) More interestingly in Kildare is the Richard Corrigan / Tony Ryan (founder of Ryanair) venture in Celbridge (typically cynical Sunday Times Report here). This is due in August they say. By the way the rumours of Nobu in the re-vamped Shelbourne Hotel are probably unfounded - someone connected with Nobu London helped consult on aspects of the re-fit and this is where the rumour spread from according to my (reliable) source. The shelbourne was due to open in time for the Ryder cup but they will be seriously pushing it to manage this. Mentioned elsewhere but no harm mentioning again here - Dublin has finally cottoned on to the bistro revolution with two good spaces recently opened - Venu off Anne St. Sth near Grafton St. is an outreach restaurant from Restaurant Patrick Guilbauds with v. good quality bistro food - steak frites, onion soup, Croque Madame, beer batter fish and chips, Foie Gras Terrine etc. and Fallon and Byrne (Deli, Wine Bar, Restaurant) on Exchequer St. has a similar menu in a better room. Fish and Chips are (slightly) better in F&B but desserts are better in Venu and Venu is slightly less expensive.
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