Posted by: susanjcaldwell28 | May 3, 2015

BLISS AT CAFE BLISS, MONTAGUE STREET

In my mission to find good BYOB restaurants in Dublin, as Im sick of paying 25 euro for mediocre wine in a restaurant, I happened upon Bliss.  To be honest, looking at the prices etc, I thought it was going to be very much a casual cafe. I was very pleasantly surprised by what I found. I love Montague Street. Again, move a little away from Grafton Street and you find unique fabulous restaurants that are so much more affordable.  There are a few other restaurants on this street which is a street between Harcourt and Camden Street. When I rang the cafe and asked about vegan options, they were extremely helpful and accommodating. They actually had loads of vegan and vegi options on their menu but as we were going out with our fussy teens and they hate ordering off the menu, I had to check everything.  The restaurant is much bigger than I thought, a veritable tardis. We were guided into the back part of the restaurant and noted there was another room off this where a large party were waiting and having drinks until they were seated in the front area.  We had bruschetta to start.  It was very nice but it was more of a sundried tomato paste and I have to say nothing beats fresh tomatoes, basil, olive oil and garlic for me when it comes to same. I ordered a vegi chilli for my mains. It came down beautifully presented with rice on the side. The flavours were aromatic, really delicious and a hearty chunky chilli it was.  The other 3 members of my family, my husband and two daughters ordered rice with grilled veg and teryiaki sauce.   This was absolutely delicious as well. They also had a vegan curry and a ratatoullie wrap.  Adding some vegan pasta dishes to the menu would be fantastic. I loved this place. It reminded me of a little Parisian restaurant.  Unbelievably, the mains were only 8.95 and the starters 3.95 and BYOB with no corkage.  This a fantastic find, minutes from Grafton Street.  It has its own unique vibe. Staff are so friendly and helpful. Food is amazing and its brilliant value.  I will return again and again.

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Posted by: susanjcaldwell28 | February 20, 2015

SEAGRASS RESTAURANT, SOUTH RICHMOND STREET, PORTOBELLO.

I have said it before and I will say it again – You get more bang for your buck in Portobello.  I have been to a few eateries in South Richmond Street over the last few months and I have been amazed at the price,quality of food and good service and many establishments offering BYOB with no corkage.  I am tired of paying 25 quid for a bottle of mediocre wine when you can buy a nice wine for 8 euro and bring it with you. It makes a hell of a difference to the price of the meal.  With this in mind. I set out with my two good friends Dorothy Murphy and Mary Shiel after a lunch time play in Powerscourt Townhouse for a nice relaxing lunch in Seagrass in Portobello.  OK, it has to be said this is definitely the Jewel in Portobello’s crown. In fact, I would go so far as to say it is one of the best restaurants I have ever eaten in.  I looked up the menu online and it looked really interesting. I’m vegan but my friends are not.  There were two very interesting vegetarian options on the menu and when I enquired about vegan options, I was told there was no problem creating same.

We arrived in the restaurant and there was one large group and another few small groups in situ, which was not bad for 2.30 on a Thursday afternoon. The restaurant is lovely, very elegant and laidback with some nice art work on the walls. We were met by a lovely waitress who had a love smile and made us feel extremely welcome.  We were handed the menus. As I said they sounded really interesting.The prices, however, were unbelievably reasonable. 5 euro for starters and 10 euro for main courses, BYOB with no corkage (we brought 2!) and incredibly, an offer for January and February of buy one get one free on starters AND mains.  We had bought our own wine so I assumed this offer would not be on the table, so to speak, but still felt it was great value.

We duly ordered.  I ordered the soup which was a roast pepper soup.  Absolutely delicious. Our main courses arrived with just the right time between courses. I had a gnocchi with aubergine, mushrooms, whole garlic and loads of herbs in a lovely sauce.  It was fantastic.  My friends loved their main courses and again raved about the presentation. No nouvelle cuisine portions here. The atmosphere was wonderful and the staff so attentive. We asked for our bill and unbelievably, they had taken off one starter and one main from the bill. This Is Michelin Star cooking at high street prices. When I think of what so many mediocre restaurants charge for a bland pizza or pasta dish in comparison. Our bill came to 38 euro. We were gobsmacked. Beautiful food at unbelievably low prices, presented by somebody who obviously enjoys the craft of cooking, a fabulous classy restaurant with wonderful staff. I will be back again very soon and so will my friends. In fact, they are telling everyone they know about this place. Get in there quick because this amazing offer for lunch finishes at the end of this month. I cannot wait to go back. Seagrass, South Richmond Street, Portobello (just up from Kelly’s corner). Grab a bottle of wine in the Spar on the corner and head in there. If they added a few vegan options to their menu, I might never leave the place! Absolutely amazing. Highly highly highly recommended.

Posted by: susanjcaldwell28 | September 28, 2014

SURMA INDIAN RESTAURANT – CAMDEN STREET

I went to a matinee in the Gate yesterday with John and we wanted to grab a cheap and cheerful bite afterwards. Both our girls were dining out, one in Galway and the other with her boyfriend’s family in Rathgar, so were in no hurry home and certainly did not want to cook. I did, what I usually do on these occasions, and looked up Menupages Dublin Deals. Menupages is fantastic. I have been doing reviews on it for years and you can accumuluate points every time you book a restaurant or do a review. The deals are particularly good because you dont have to use up points to avail of them. Another reason why I like it is because in a way the restaurant chooses you rather than the other way around and you go to places you would normally go to. I looked through the Dublin Deals on http://www.menupages.ie and found a good one in Camden Street. I have always loved this street, it has a rough and tumble feel to it with an eclectic mix of businesses. We decided to purchase the Surma Deal https://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fdeals.menupages.ie%2Fenjoy-1-sharing-starter-2-main-courses-and-rice-for-18-at-surma-indian-restaurant&h=dAQGUyJnl and headed in.

The restaurant was lovely, nice and cosy with lovely ethnic touches and a glass portion of the ceiling with gentle blue light shining down. Candles were lit and the music was very relaxing, nice chilled Indian sounds emitting. I produced my voucher which I had paid 18 euro for. For this small stipend, we were able to order a sharing plate of starters, 2 main courses and rice. Complimentary poppadoms arrived down to our table and the waitress recognised us immediately from the odd sojourn to the Tulsi Indian across the road from us. I guffawed as John reminded me of the time I stood on her toes when I was wearing stilleto heels. Foolishy, I thought it a good idea to remind her of this incident, before the food arrived! Luckily, she seemed to harbour no grudge.

Having eaten the deliciously light poppadoms accompanied by chilli sauce and a garnish of onions and cucumbers, our sharing plate arrived. The food was beautifully presented and we had four starters between us delivered on a plate with salad. I do find Indian food can be very heavy, especially the starters, but these starters were deliciously light and flavoursome, they consisted of veg samosa, onion bhaji, okra in batter and a mouthwatering potato cake. The flavours were fantastic and there was a fabulous variety of same. We sipped our house Cabernet Savignon, which was lovely, noted two young girls in the corner who mentioned to the waitress that they were also vegan and a group from Canada who were ordering vegetarian. It was so lovely to see. Our mains arrived. We ordered sag aloo, a spinach and potatoe dish and mixed vegetables accompanied by boiled rice. The spinach and potatoe dish was delightfully light and moist, no chunky gritty taste here like this dish sometimes can be. The vegetables again were light and delicious with a fabulous smattering of broccoli, green beans,
surma 3
carrots and chick peas, cauliflower and potatoe.
surma 1

We have never been to Surma before but we will certainly go back. I think it would be fabulous if they did what many other restaurants do and offered a BYOB option with no corkage. We were well sated after our meal without feeling stuffed. There was no problem veganising the vegi food for us and the food was very light and healthy. I have found myself in the past ordering Indian takeout and only being able to eat a few mouthfulls because the food is weighed down with oil. Having paid in advance 18 euro for the food, our bill came to a mere 18.50 for the wine. We shall return.

Surma 2

Posted by: susanjcaldwell28 | September 13, 2014

The Paisley’s I have known…

Posted by: susanjcaldwell28 | August 31, 2014

The non-state-sponsored exhibitionist mind virus

My sister’s brilliant piece on the cyber bullying that is the “Ice Bucket Challenge”. Well worth a read.

Shakespeare Couldn't Email

I don’t know who/what I loathe more: the grandstander goons hopping about on the nation’s paint-chipped bargain patios or the government and health agencies who’ve pulled much-needed funding for life-sapping human diseases, but either way I’ve a pain in the proverbial with the ice bucket challenge (IBC). I found the ‘no make-up selfie’ frenzy aggravating enough [women reassuring other women that they still looked ‘pretty’ or ‘lovely’ without the splat while being utterly convinced of their own sincerity] but there’s something about this latest on-line delirium that marks the end of autonomy as we know it. What would’ve been considered ugly chain mail in more saner times is now a marker for cyber success and skewed social acceptance. If you don’t comply, you’re anti-charity, a spoilsport, uncompassionate, selfish, a schismatic ne’er-do-well.

ALS Association didn’t create the hare-brained fundraising idea, but now it wants to own it…

Hysteria began at the digi-site of the…

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Posted by: susanjcaldwell28 | June 22, 2014

RUSTIC STONE RESTAURANT AND COURTYARD BAR FADE ST

dylan

 

This weekend was much ado about Dylan McGrath, Celeb Chef. It was not meant to be. It just kind of happened that way. Sarah is 19 tomorrow and we are going out for a family meal next week when John gets paid, but I wanted to have a meal and time with her this weekend. On Friday John was going to a BBQ in work and Jessie was out with friends so I decided to take Sarah out for dinner after I finished work. She said she wanted to go for some healthy food so I searched for same on the net. I was quite surprised when Rustic Stone came up on the list. It is more renowned as a carnist place and we all know that chefs, especially the more famous, hate vegans and vegetarians!!. We perused the menu and it was amazing. We turned up at 5.30 on Friday and were seated at the end of this beautiful eatery. As I stared at the wall, I decided to ask for a window seat because I would rather stare at people passing by than a wall, that’s just how I roll!!. We were seated at the window and looked through the menu. We ordered a lime infused salad with coconut milk dressing, which was apparently the small portion but was huge, bulgar wheat with orange segments, battered cauliflower in coconunt milk sauce, and herb infused mashed sweet potatoe and an 8 bean salad. All of these were very reasonably priced. In fact our five dishes plus dessert only cost 30 euro and we realised afterwards we had never looked at the Raw Menu, so we will definitely try that another time. The food was absolutely fantastic, full of flavour and such imagination and style put into it. The atmosphere was fabulous and the restaurant was full by the time we left at around 7.30. No surprises there, it certainly has a winning combination. Sarah ordered vegan dessert which was slices of oat cookie with dark chocolate and kiwi. I had told them when I was booking that it was her birthday so a plate also came down with Happy Birthday Sarah written in dark chocolate and a candle in a souffle. I did mention to the waiter that more cookie and less chocolate would be a better combination. We were delighted with out meal. The staff are so well trained and extremely efficient and pleasant. We will certainly return to this eatery in the near future and I applaud them for such exciting vegan options.

courr 13

The next day I was meeting a gang of friends for lunch and we were then heading off for some drinks afterwards. I wanted to get an outside space but where could I find an outside space for 14 people that I could book? The answer came to me immediately, Dylan McGrath’s Fade Street Social, the Courtyard Bar. This is an amazing space on the first floor of this restaurant. An outdoor courtyard with music and an atmosphere reminiscent of holidays in Spain with a beautiful view of the city’s architecture. I absolutely adore this place and we had a fabulous time there. They have a very exciting cocktail lists and many different craft beers. I tasted one of my friend’s coconut beers and will definitely be ordering it the next time I am here. My friend Heather pointed out Dylan McGrath to me. I was surprised at how young looking he was. I decided to go over to him and congratulate him on his vegan options in Rustic Stone. He laughed and said “We are ready for you vegans.”. This guy is an astute business man who runs extremely interesting venues. He has his finger on the pulse of things and he knows that vegans live longer than carnists so he is definitely doing his best to feed us customers who will be going into his establishments for an average of 15 years longer than the people who are eating his animals on stone!!. In fact, a Raw Bar is opening upstairs in Rustic Stone soon. Its wonderful to see chefs actually recognising and catering for vegans, but they are doing it because they know veganism is on the increase and it makes great business sense. I applaud Dylan for the job he is doing and for the diversity of his establishments and the design and training of his staff. I will certainly be heading back to The Rustic Stone and The Courtyard Bar. Long may they reign supreme as trendy but inexpensive and interesting eateries in our fabulous capital City.

 

dyln2

Posted by: susanjcaldwell28 | May 10, 2014

CLONSKEAGH CASTLE, MUSIC, VEGAN FOOD AND BYOB

clonskeagh castle

One Friday night a few months ago as I was having a glass of wine and whiling away a few minutes on Facebook, a friend posted up a notification that Clonskeagh Castle was now hosting music nights with vegan food and bring your own booze. I could not believe it.  As a wine loving vegan who adores old buildings and many different types of music and is a ten minute walk from the same said castle, it seemed way too good to be true.

Last night, I finally got to go to one of these nights. It was an Indian themed night with Indian music and food. The event started at 7.30. Clonskeagh Castle is set in beautiful surroundings in an estate in Clonskeagh that backs onto the river. I know it well from marching my girls through this patch of land to their many drama classes in ITW on Clonskeagh Road, but so many people have asked me how to get to it. It is located between the Dundrum Road and Clonskeagh Road and is in the middle of a leafy estate that faces onto a green. It was Friday night and I had visited my mum so I jumped on an 11 bus back from Glasnevin and met my husband in O’Sheas Clonskeagh for a riverside pint outside and then we walked through the park by the river and cut up onto Whiteabeam Road and made our way the short distance to the castle.

We arrived into the wonderful hall and our coats were taken. I felt a tingle of excitement run through my veins. I had been looking at this castle for the last 14 years since I had moved in up the road from it and suddenly I was inside, it was real. Off the hall, there was a kitchen to the left and the entertainment room to the right.  Our host Frank Armstrong was standing in this beautiful kitchen in the midst of the vegan dishes he had prepared earlier.  He asked who wanted dinner and ourselves and the dozen or so guests who had thus far arrived were given plates of amazing food and sat around to the side of the kitchen in different clusters.  Now personally, I feel this was a missed opportunity.  Ok, maybe I’m too in love with old buildings and a little bit of opulence, but I really do feel that sitting everyone around the large dining table with candelabra lit instead of  chairs (some plastic, ouch!!) around the side of the kitchen,  would have given this a fantastic country house/old castle vibe,  plus on a practical level, it would have been much easier to talk to the other guests.  If you go out to a restaurant at night, you have the expectation of intimacy and privacy but coming to such an event, it is more like going to a dinner party and mingling is definitely on the cards.  We did get to talk to the people nearest us and it was fantastic as they were all so interesting a healers, bookshop owner, students from Brazil, drama teacher etc.  I do feel when people arrived at 7.30 had a drink and then a sitting at the table by 8.00 would have been fantastic. This being Ireland of course, many people arrived late, but if people had do leave the table after they finished and make room for others it would have still been a very good option. The food was served between 7.30 and 9.00 which was great as we were all nicely relaxed and everyone just brought their own wine or beer and left it in the middle of the table.  At 9.00 pm we then made our way into the room on the other side of the hall and we had an hour of Indian music. The music was lovely and all the musicians were very accomplished. I would love to hear some vocals here though and was imagining my friend Honor Heffernan singing by the french doors and really lifting the place. An hour of just music did wane for me by the end of it.

frank

We then made our way back into the kitchen for dessert. Again, I think this was an excellent way to break up the evening.  We had a beautiful crumble with soya cream and a chocolate cake. I dont normally eat desserts. I never did before I was vegan but since I went from vegi to vegan I feel at least the desserts are a lot healthier and I am more inclined to try them.  Both desserts were absolutely fabulous, they tasted a bit like christmas with excellent notes of cranberry and coconut, truly delightful.  There was not the usual rush associated with intervals at other venues and no bell ringing. We must have been at least half an hour over dessert.  People were being rounded up for the second half at 11.00 p.m.  Myself and my husband decided not to stay for the last half an hour as he had to be up at 6.30 this morning and we had both had a very busy day and week.  The price for last night’s dinner and gig was 25 euro per person if you booked via paypal in advance or 30 euro on the night and of course BYOB. I thought it was excellent value and of course we had no transport costs. At one point in the evening we took a stroll in the beautiful gardens off the kitchen. This place is magical and I cannot wait to return. Any criticisms I have made are constructive as I can really see what could be done to make this place an amazing venue.  As someone who lives in a tiny cottage, I have so many ideas for this beautiful castle. You can also book a room in the venue and stay overnight. In fact, we met a Brazillian girl there last night who was staying there for six months, wow!. I would love to see a deal for going to one of the gigs and staying over, this would make fantastic sense to me and although I only live 10 minutes away, I would be very tempted to avail of this if it was a good offer.

castle

This is such a beautiful venue with many different types of music. Cookery demo days are also run from here. It is wonderful to see this beautiful castle that is still a family home earning its keep so to speak by diversifying in such a wonderful direction. I cannot wait to go back.

 

Posted by: susanjcaldwell28 | April 18, 2014

ODESSA, DAME COURT, DUBLIN 2

Odessa was hip before Dublin even knew what hip was. I remember they did brunch and jazz at a time when Pizzaland seemed exotic to our underexposed tastebuds.   Many years ago,  I marveled at their couches downstairs, again ahead of their time, they were like something out of Friends before Friends hit our screens.  Today being Good Friday,  I had to go somewhere for a nice lunch and wine, the archaic laws of the country do not allow such in general on good Friday with a few loopholes like traveling on boats, trains etc.  We did the boat experience a few years ago and it was fabulous but very expensive.  Odessa were allowing people to come in for lunch today with BYOB.

The restaurant is lovely and has retained its hipness without ever dating, their upstairs bar is also lovely and my daughters have been at parties in their rooftop bar.  We arrived there today and perused the menu.  I had phoned ahead and told them we were vegan (warning, aliens are about to enter the building, weirdos who do not believe in cruelty to animals, how crazy is that!!!).  On their menu, 2 out of their 4 main courses are actually vegi, this restaurant always reminds me a little of 102 Talbot in its imaginative descriptions and presentation of food, you are salvating on the paper long before the plates arrive.  Whoever devised the menu obviously has a strong imagination and a love of food, it reads a lot more expensive than it actually is.

When we arrived, the waiter, with a glint in his eye, said “ah the vegans”.  We do like to make an entrance!.  He sat us at the window seat and informed us that the chef could do a vegan tagine. I know tagine to be a type of Morrocan stew. I assume the nutburger had cheese in it and the vegetarian tortillas has quorn in them, which thus far is not vegan, but I do believe they are going to omit the egg from quorn.  Just to give you an idea, here are the two vegi options:

The Odessa Vegetarian Nut Burger, Homemade Tomato Relish, Ilcheser Smoked Applewood Chese, Dill Pickle, Beef Tomatoes, Fries

Lightly Smoked Quesadilla, Sour Ceam, Hakaoenos, Guacamole, Salsa, Tequila Dressing.

Our tagine duly arrived with pitta bread on the side and a side order of steamed long stemmed broccoli, green beans and asparagus.  The tagine was absolutely delicious, so aromatic with wonderful flavours of cumin and corriander, a wonderful array of vegetables and apricots, very Morrocan, with cous cous infused with veg, spices and sultanas.  It was amazing.  Sitting in a window seat looking out on the Stags Head where I used to drink with my friends in my teens and twenties, I marvelled, yet again, at how amazing Dublin City is.  For all the wonderful places I have been and there have been many, there are still loads more to try (which reminds me must check my lotto numbers!).  My only gripe and its a small one is that the tagine on the menu was priced at 10 but it was actually 11 and the side orders priced at 3 but were actually 3.50, I think its time to change the prices on their menu.

I suggested to the waitress that the chef should put this tagine on the actual menu cos nobody wants to have to ask for something specially prepared and draw attention to themselves.  I was very impressed by their vegi options and it would be lovely if they stepped up to the mark with the vegan options. A wonderful restaurant and bar that has only gone from hip to hipper.  Odessa will always have a strong place in Dublin’s heart and I for one cannot wait to return.

Posted by: susanjcaldwell28 | April 9, 2014

IL POSTO ST STEPHENS GREEN, DUBLIN 2

beardoro1Dublin is not short of Italian Restaurants, let’s face it. There are a lot of casual Italian eateries around the town. However, this is a bit different, its a more upmarket establishment but affordably priced and the food is excellent. Its located on St Stephen’s Green, with a few seats on the outside and a restaurant in the basement. The architecture all around is amazing and nice wine bars and restaurants are located on this lovely part of the green. The minute you walk inside past all the awards into this elegant white tableclothed space, you know you are walking into a stylish quality restaurant. They have been offering a 16 euro 2 course lunch for a long time, which is quite remarkable, but now it has been even more affordable by the addition of a BYOB policy with no corkage on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

My friend Dorothy was home from UK visiting her sick dad and our other friend Mary took the day off work so the three amigos wanted to head out for a day out. Finding somewhere good that is not expensive is my forte, needs must and all that, so I came armed with 2 bottles of cheap but nice plonk from LIDL. 5.49 each, so many restaurants charge about 25 euro for basic wines, so this is a big plus and really makes a difference to the bill at the end of the day. We started our day with a coffee in the Shelbourne and then headed down to Il Posto. We were greeeted as we came in by Eszter, a very friendly and helpful hostess.

I had checked ahead that they had a vegan main course of Linguine with veg and corriander pesto. I mentioned that I was vegan and they said they could amend dishes to suit. This was wonderful. I ordered the carrot and corrinder soup to start and my friends had 2 different salads, which both were ample with much rocket, which I adore, and they said were delicious. My soup was really beautiful, extremely flavoursome as food is when it was not weighted down with dairy products. There was a fabulous aftertaste. I could have also had a salad. We were given bread and oil, whilst we were waiting for our starters. In addition to the linguine there was also a mushroom, pea, spinach and chive risotto, which the chef said could be made vegan. No nouvelle cuisine here. My risotto arrived and it was a very large portion and absolutely delicious, the chive really gave it a kick and has given me a great idea for when I’m making my own risotto again. I often try and copy meals I have in restaurants with different variants of success. I thought this was a very imaginative risotto and I will definitely endeavour to duplicate it somewhat. My friends had some of my dish and thought it was lovely. Both Mary and Dorothy were delighted with their meals. Dorothy elected to have an apple crumble for dessert. Mary and I didn’t bother with dessert. The price for 3 courses is 20 euro, which is still excellent value.

The atmosphere was so nice and relaxing and although it is in a basement, there is still ample light coming in from the windows and you can still see the world going by on the green. As we were sitting down chatting and complimenting the meal, Eszther appeared with a vodka lemon drink for the three of us. This was really lovely. I have also been here for dinner. Monday was obviously quiet, I have been there for Friday lunch when it is extremely busy, but we had a wonderful chilled out lunch. This establishment, superior quality imaginative food and wonderful staff, ambience and atmosphere, all come highly recommended.

Three of us went back the other night for the early bird which is 20 euro for 2 courses and 25 for 3.  We managed to get 3 different vegan meals, a mushroom and truffle oil risotto, a spinach and asparagus risotto and a rigatoni with vegetables and hazelnuts.  We had our starter outside in the sunshine overlooking Stephens Green and our main course inside in the beautiful luxurious restaurant.  The staff were amazing, the food was mind blowing.  This is the best Italian Restaurant I have ever been into in Dublin, in fact, anywhere in the world.  This is pure class at affordable prices.  I cannot wait to return.  Highly highly recommended.

 

Posted by: susanjcaldwell28 | March 29, 2014

FALLON AND BYRNE – EXCHEQUER STREET

doro and i

I love this place and its the nearest Dublin is ever going to get to Harrods. I brought my friend Dorothy Murphy here yesterday, who was over from the UK, visiting her sick dad and I wanted to bring her somewhere special in between hospital visits. Ive been going here for years but I like to look at an establishment through new eyes, so I watched in delight at Dorothy’s wonder at this fabulous venue. The minute we walked in, she compares it to Harrod’s, she fell in love with the fab food hall and the amazing array of unusual vegetables from red bananas to white courgettes. I then took her down to the basement to the Wine Cellar and Bar and she was amazed. But, I saved the best till last, I walked her upstairs to their beautiful restaurant. The setting is so beautiful, effortlessly elegant, pure class. She immediately bemoaned the fact that she had jeans on, I told her it didnt matter, they would not kick us out!. Beautiful white tableclothed tables overlooking some of the most amazing architecture in the city, starched clothed, but not in personality, beautifully turned out waiting staff, who are always so friendly and helpful. This place feels like you need to re-mortgage to have lunch here but happily, this is not the case. There is a beautiful olde world style elegance, I always feel I’m walking into a previous era but with every modern convenience. The manager seated us at a window seat. Dorothy took her time drinking the place in. I had rung and enquired about vegan options, and the manager happily informed me that they had a vegan menu, yes, not a vegetarian but a vegan menu,  joy oh joy,  the world is copping on, my daughter had an amazing vegan meal in the Shelbourne a while ago, that was the envy of all her friends.

After he seated us, he informed me he had also included the vegan menu. Its these little things that make a restaurant stand out, I was very impressed. There was also a vegan salad on the main menu. Unbelievably, lunch in this establishment starts at 6.50 for lights, 7.95 for starter portion pasta dishes, which I have always found ample and 11.95 for main courses pasta, with platters at 9.95. The Vegan Menu is as follows:

 

Mixed Vegetable and Tomato Soup

Roast Beetroot, artichoke avocado and mixed leaf salad, parsley and Lime dressing

*******************

Mixed Bean Cassoulet, courgettes, slice aubergine caviar, mixed
peppers, basil and pinenut salad, plum tomato sauce

Wild Mushrooms risotto, toasted walnuts, asparagus, sundried tomatoes,
chive dressing

**********************

Fresh Fruit Salad

Seasonal Fruit Crumble

Cranberry & Mulled Wine Crumble

 
I ordered the Mixed Bean Cassoulet and it was absolutely fabulous. We had a bottle of red. There was also a portobello mushroom, green bean and spinach salad with toasted pine nuts and thyme dressing on the main menu. I really was flumoxed, not used to having so much choice on a menu. The atmosphere is just amazing, this place has to be experienced firsthand. It really is one of the best places in town, my only minor crib is that there was not the option on the vegan menu for regular or large portions.

I absolutely applaud Fallon and Byrne for making such an effort with vegan options. The staff are always so pleasant and attentive, our wine was topped up as was our water. We felt truly looked after. We were given complimentary fennel and tomato bread and another white bread before our mains arrived and we asked for extra bread, which duly arrived. The bill for two mains and a bottle of wine was 50 euro. This is an outstanding restaurant right in the heart of Dublin City that has given Dublin and Exchequer Street a major lift. More than highly recommended. Go and experience it for yourselves. If you want to feel cosseted and well fed and looked after by wonderful staff in an amazing atmosphere overlooking the city’s most beautiful buildings, this is not so much a lunch option as an amazing dining experience that assaults all the senses and will leave you feeling sated long after you leave. Pure joy.

 

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