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Corinna Dunne

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Corinna Dunne

  1. But there are other similar, extremely worthy fish and seafood places in the area which are just as recommendable, although perhaps less well-known. Note these names: Can Ramonet, Can Costa, Cal Pinxo, El Suquet de l'Almirall, and (in the nearby Moll de la Fusta) El Merendero de la Mari. ← Which of these would you rate as best for seafood (not specifically paella), and how would it compare with Botafumeiro from a food standpoint (leaving aside the obvious differences in atmosphere and price).
  2. An old thread I know, but I thought it important to update a little. There is now only one Caviston's which is the one in Glasthule (so ignore the Liffey St address). The Glasthule/Sandycove area is part of a lovely stretch which includes Dun Laoghaire, Dalkey and Killiney by the sea in South County Dublin. This is a really beautiful part of Dublin with a dramatic coastline and some of Dublin's finest houses. If you are in Dublin for more than a few days, I would definitely recommend a visit. But regardless of all of this, Caviston's is my favourite place for lunch in Dublin. And lunch is all they do from Tues - Sat with 3 sittings per day. It is a small, family run, seafood restaurant and the menu is completely dependant on what has been freshly landed down in Dun Laoghaire harbour. I was last there about 4 weeks ago and had grilled sardines to start and grilled sea bass for main course. They don't waste their time garnishing unnecessarily or trying to be too inventive, they just let the quality of the wonderful seafood sing through, and the salad of mixed leasves they serve with the mains are always fresh and flavoursome. My advice would be to go for the first sitting (noon - 1.30pm) as you will get the pick of the catch. When I was there, the first 5 diners all went for the seabass, and then it was off. The desserts are simple enough and have a slightly homespun quality to them. I mention this because I generally avoid desserts in mid priced restaurants in Dublin as they are mostly bought in and mediocre at best. The wine list is reasonable enough by Irish standards, we had a St Veran for around Euro 30 as far as I remember. After lunch, you can wander into Caviston's shop to buy some wonderfully fresh seafood, chesses or seasonal vegetables. A few shops down from here, you will find Mitchells, which is a good wine merchants with helpful and well informed staff. Edited to add Tel: + 353 1 280 9245
  3. First off, I think we need to accept the dynamics of a free market, because frankly, in my book anyway, the alternative is too heinous to contemplate. By that I mean, a controlled market or Government interference. Don't get me wrong, the buying power of the multiples infuriates me and every time I see another few pence knocked off an every day staple (like plastic bread), it makes me weep. But where does the responsibility lie? If we blame the multiples for chasing the Walmart model by offering an increased range of product at increasingly competitive prices we need to first accept that it is in response to market demands. Not only is the market more price driven than before, but it is also becoming more informed. Do you see where I'm going? We need to take into account our history and demographics to fully understand why branded food has risen to these dizzy heights in the first place. It's not just globalisation, transportation and greed. Like most eGulleteers, I didn't experience a war, food shortages or the need to grow my own food to survive. But to people who did, can you imagine the joy of suddenly having the buying power to buy the latest and greatest new product, practically ready to eat? And this change all happened in a relatively short period of time. As the decades have progressed, the public has become more savvy, and own brand product was a direct response to a market for staples at a competitive price. This was followed by premium own brand products, which in reality, have become brands in themselves. So now do you see where I'm going? Yes, this penny might have a slightly slow descent, but I think we need to believe that we will get there. We should inject a bit of hope into this argument and take it from there. Jamie's Dinners were mentioned in an earlier post and I sincerely hope that the Jamie effect won't be short lived. This to me is a real opportunity. The ground PR work has been done by him (because, let's face it, nothing gets the column inches unless it has a well recognised face attached to it), so now it is up to the media to respond in a more holistic way. By this I mean get off the single issue 'Michael Moorish' sound bites. The media, like the food market has become very polarised and guess what, this is good for their sales too. What I can't abide are these completely one sided arguments that intentionally set one side against another. Sorry about the rant! The bottom line is, I do believe that the market has the ability to change, although this will be dependent on effective media coverage on the issue ie acceptance that the turnaround is going to be gradual and less emphasis on sensational isolated facts that instill guilt and painc. I believe in the free market and I believe that everyone out there is not a thicko, determined to gorge themselves and their children on turkey twizzlers till kingdom come. Am I alone in this?
  4. I love clafoutis and so do my family. The trick is to serve it warm, that's when it is at its best. I always use the Larouse recipe which has only failed me once. Regarding fruit, I would never venture away from fresh, unpitted cherries. These offer the batter a nice structure around which to rise. Also, I think the ratio of cherries to batter is important. Larouse uses 18oz black cherries to 4 1/2 oz (1 cup) of plain all purpose flour, 2oz caster sugar, 3 well beaten eggs, 300ml of milk (not cream) and... a pinch of salt. The cherries are dusted in an additional 2 oz of castor sugar at least 30 mins beforehand, although I don't think this step has any bearing on the performance of the rise. This is not a wow dessert, it's more rustic French cooking. Clafoutis is also delicious served as 'cake' with a nice cup of Irish breakfast tea.
  5. Add 150 for me... practically abstemious compared to the company I'm keeping on eGullet!
  6. I did this recipe at Christmas. It is actually goose done 3 ways and served as 3 separate courses: 1. The neck is stuffed with the giblets end neck meat to make a rustic sausage (cooked in the goose fat with the confit) 2. The legs are made into confit (I threw the wings in too) 3. The breast is roasted and sliced thinly lengthways. As your geese are frozen, you may not have enough of the neck skin left to use as a casing for the sausage. I had this problem even with a fresh goose, but tied the sausage up in muslin instead, and this worked very well. This is a delicious way to serve goose and it is not at all as daunting as it sounds. On the day, there is really very little to do as most of the work has been done in advance. I got the recipe from Saturday's Telegraph (4/12/04), so you can probably get it from their website.
  7. I love the cookbook, and the recipes are obviously well tested. There is a wonderful section on making sourdough bread, which starts with a recipe for the starter and works through 'living with bread', ie how to nurture and care for your new found yeast pal. I did however find that I had to add a pinch of yeast to the dough to get the required rise.
  8. If you ever pop across the water to Dublin, the Elephant & Castle in Temple Bar is renowned for its Buffalo wings.
  9. I would not recommend Fitzers at all. I was there about 5 months ago and I was shocked at how lazy, uninspired and sloppy their food has become. This is a restaurant that is definitely past its sell by date. Regarding Shanahans, this is much more than a steak house. Only venture here if you have very deep pockets indeed. It is one of the most expensive restaurants in Dublin. There is some great meat in Ireland and Shanahans certainly has it, and cooks it wonderfully. Personally, when I'm paying a lot of money for a meal, I prefer it to be more than a simple sourcing/cooking excercise. If you are interested in upscale restaurants, I've posted some short reviews on the 'Help Ireland' thread. Elephant & Castle in Temple Bar is great for casual dining. They only take reservations for large numbers, so drop in and get your name on the list if you want a table. Then all you have to do is pop across the road to the pub, and one of the staff will come over to tell you when your table is ready. We call it 'an Irish solution to an Irish problem'! The buffalo chicken wings are legendary and a simply must have. This is also a great spot for brunch at the weekend with plenty of newspapers to browse through as you tenderly nurse your well earned hangover. Also good for brunch are The Mermaid and Odessa.
  10. ← "Gastronomy of Italy" by Anna Del Conte (Pavilion Books Limited, London) may be of interest. It is broken into a number of sections: The development of Italian gastronomy The regions of Italy Recipes A - Z of Ingredients Terms and Techniques Italian wine It's a bit of a tome, but a wonderful book. I am also a big Marcella fan.
  11. Also, if I remember correctly, there are 2 places called Liphook in Hampshire. It's the one near Petersfield (the other one is a little hamlet further down).
  12. I think I know the Japanese restaurant you're talking about. It's actually on a golf course, and I can't remember the name of it at the moment. I was there a few times... but 5 years ago! I remember the sushi being good and they also had my favourite thing: shabu shabu.
  13. Here's the local scoop on high end restaurants in Dublin: Chapter One (+ 353 1 873 2255), my top choice. This wonderful restaurant doesn't have a star, but that doesn't stop it being booked up for weeks in advance. This is contemporary Irish cooking at its best, with wonderfully sourced ingredients. I was there about 2 months ago, and cannot remember exactly what I had, apart from their charcuterie starter (served from a trolley)... which in itself is reason enough to go there. There was also a wonderful trio of creme brule. which was delicious, light and restrained. The front of house team are great and this is a genuinely welcoming, unstuffy restaurant. A lesser known fact is that Chapter One also does an extremely reasonable fixed price pre-theatre menu which is limited to 3 or 4 choices per course. There is a charming little theatre, The Gate, nearby and a member of staff will even collect your tickets for you from the box office while you dine. This earlier sitting is managed wonderfully and you don't get the sense that you are being rushed. L'Ecrivain (+353 1 661 1919), is another good restaurant excelling in contemporary Irish cooking, but a little bit more expensive. Thornton's (+353 1 478 7008) and Guilbaud's (+353 1 676 4192) are the most expensive, and while I haven't been at either of them for some time, I think it is fair to say that their influences have more of a French slant and they are definitely more formal. As far as I know, Guilbaud's still does a reasonable lunch menu from Tues - Fri, which might be worth checking out, but expect plently of business people. Thornton's is cheaper at lunch too as far as I remember. The Tea Room (+353 1 407 0800), in the Clarence Hotel (owned by Bono and Edge of U2) is probably the nicest upscale restautant for a reasonably priced lunch As it is in Temple Bar, away from the main business hub, it tends to attract fewer business people than many of the others. It is an utterly beautiful room, so try your luck and ask for a table by the window when you are booking (although I think they might be all for 4 people). It's worth noting that this is the only upscale restaurant open on a Monday night. I was last there about 10 months ago for dinner and I had a mixed experience. We had the tasting menu, which started out well and from what I recall, ended with a bit of a whimper. We also gave the sommelier free rein to select for us. I thought I had given him a reasonable indication of our price range (more Chablis than Chassagne Montrachet), but we ended up running up a wine bill of about Euro 160 (some great wines by the glass though). Frere Jacques (+353 1 679 4555), whilst more towards the middle end of the scale, is a big favourite of mine. It is the only typical old school French restaurant in Dublin and offers great value on its fixed price dinner menu (Euro 35 plus 15% service) although I invariably go a la carte. The fish is excellent, (which isn't as usual as you'd expect in Dublin) and you can select your own lobster from the tank. They also have a truly great cheese board - mainly French and Irish cheeses - and they are extremely generous with the amount they serve. Of particular note is their well priced wine list, and you are in safe hands if you leave the selection to them. The Unicorn (+353 1 662 4757) is the place to go if you put atmosphere at the top of your list. This is the buzziest place in town. It's a good space, with tables outside when it's any way mild, but if you are directed to the smaller area to the left when it's very busy, beware, as this is pure Siberia. The food is Italian, a bit inconsistent in quality and relatively expensive for what it is. The wine list has got quite expensive too, if I remember correctly. Saturday lunch however is particularly good, with a great weekend atmosphere and delicious anti pasta. Two restaurants I haven't been to are Halo (+353 1 887 2421) which is mainly fusion (not my thing), and Mint (+353 1 497 8655) which is the first of the new gastronomy type restaurants in Dublin. I'm off to Barcelona soon, so intend to get a benchmark for this type of food before giving it a go.
  14. A strong recommendation! Thanks Doc. I am going to try to change my booking to Abac. I couldn't find a wieb site, just a tel number (34 - 93 319 6600), so will try contacting them tomorrow (no reply tonight... Sunday!).
  15. Hi Bux. I'm trying for a table in April too. I've just left my booking on their web site, (thanks to eGullet threads) but I don't have a tel or fax number. Could you possibly post them, as I'd like to cover off all angles if I don't get a reply to my email.
  16. I'm looking for a 'new gastronomy', dare I say, El Bulli type experience (as I haven't had an opportunity to sample this type of food before). On this basis, would you select Albac over Alkimia?
  17. Thanks, just been on that thread. I could only find lunch prices for Can Roca and Can Fabes. Have you any info on San Pau, Hispania and Aligue?
  18. I have read eGullet reviews on Rafa, could you please give me a little more detail on La Xiera, Hostel la Granota and El-Roser 2? And thanks for this great post on Can Roca.
  19. Great, great posts. A virtual dining experience. Does anyone know the cost of the fixed price lunch at Can Fabes? I'd also be interested in the cost of lunch at El Celler de Can Roca, Sant Pau, Hispania and Aligue. Thanks in advance.
  20. Gosh, that sounds pretty damning. Did you go on to Cinc Sentits for dessert because you were still hungry? Any other eGulleteers been to Alkimia recently?
  21. Thanks Pedro. Great threads. Will report back on my return.
  22. I made a booking at Alkimia yesterday, and nobody there spoke English. As I speak neither Catalan or Spanish, I had to make do with my very rusty French. Do they have an English menu? Has anyone eaten there recently?
  23. Do not miss Can Bonay in Peratallada. Many other interesting places in the Empordà: Pedro will tell you, as he is sort of the 21st century spirit of Josep Pla, Do not miss either el Celler de Can Roca, ask Josep Roca to serve you a whole menu, paired with the convenient wines (and remind him to let you taste some fino or manzanilla sherries in it!: those are almost the only perfect spanish whites, ) Have a nice stay! ← Thanks Jesus. Could you please tell me a bit more about Can Bonay? I checked the site, but it is in Catalan. Which brings me to my next question... is language going to be a problem outside of Barcelona? I don't speak either Catalan or Spanish.. just very rusty French.
  24. I'm visitiing Barceolona (first time) from 20 - 23 April, and thanks to the wonderful contributions on the Forum, have found all I need for that part of my holiday. I've booked Cal Pep, Botafumeiro and Alkimia, so I'm very excited about that mix of styles. Here's where I need help. I will be staying in a little farmhouse about 30 miles due north of Barcelona in Valles Oriental from 23 - 30 April. It appears that this is the 'back of beyonds', which is fine for the R & R we are seeking, but I'd really love some restaurant recommendations for lunch within say a 100 mile radius of our hideout... some very quirky, local, rustic type places, where we can really get a feel for the countryside. I have already taken note of the following (not necessarily rustic) destination restuarants and would welcome comments, new suggestions: El Cellar de Can Roca Le Santa Maria, Sitges Lluernari, San Quirico des Valles Espai.COCH at Can Fabes Aligue, Monserrat Gratallops, Irriductibles Sant Pau, Sant Pol Rafa and Snack Mar/Las Golondrinas in Roses I'd also appreciate some wine suggestions eg the perfect Spanish white for fish, grilled meat etc. PS: This is my first posting. I live in Ireland, so if you are visiting Dublin, I'd be happy to suggest some good spots.
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