Posted by: susanjcaldwell28 | March 1, 2014

THE MONGOLIAN BBQ EAST ANGLESEA STREET, TEMPLE BAR, DUBLIN 2

I had been meaning to try this place for a good while now but I was always apprehensive about how much vegan food would be available and I have a bit of a phobia about self service and buffets.  Turned out, I should have gotten over myself a long time ago, not going here for a few years has indeed been a number of missed opportunities.  I turned up here with John on a Friday afternoon around 1.45, the place was busy, but staff assured us from the onset they would have a table for us in a few minutes, and sure enough they did.

We were duly seated and asked had we ever been there before.  We explained we had not but our daughter had been in last week with a bunch of her student friends and had highly recommended it, we also said we were vegan and our daughter had informed us that anyone not eating meat got to take 2 bowls instead of one to the grill, which seems very fair as paying the same price as people who are eating meat does not seem fair on any level.  She immediately informed us that she could get a part of the grill kept aside for us or have everything cooked from scratch in our own wok.  We were very happy with the second option, to be on the safe side.  The place was busy and lively but never felt chaotic, there were ample windows to the front of the restaurant where were were seated and the decor was nice and neutral but cosy, it did not have the functional feel of so many buffet restaurants. Everything was very well explained to us, we headed towards the buffet with our bowls, and were informed bowls of rice would be left at our table as well.  Any sides or drinks or starters could also be ordered at the table and you paid afterwards, this made for a very pleasant dining experience.  We filled our bowls full with many vegetables, courgettes, carrots, chinese leaves, beansprouts, onion, musrooms, peppers and tofu and chickpeas from the buffet, there was also a large tray of noodles, but no rice noodles which I feel would be a great addition to the menu, then there was another section for herbs and spices and then finally, sauces, where all the ingredients were clearly listed.  Nearly all the sauces were vegan, amongst which were satay, black bean and sweet chilli. Even though the place was very busy in the peak of Friday lunch, there were no major queues and the service area was nice and compact.  We arrived at the cooking area and the chef had already been informed by the waitress that we needed a separate wok.  We were told it would take a few minutes.

Whilst we were seated at our table, another waitress came down and told us everything would be ready shortly.  The staff really were exceptional and showed great efficiency and pleasantness during the busiest part of the day.  Unbelievably, one trip to the buffet was only 5.90, there was also an all you can option for 10 euro, but I personally could not even eat everything from the one trip, given that we were allowed two bowls.  We decided to order a side of popadoms with dips, which were also very good value at 2.50 and a glass of lunch wine each, again very well priced at 3.50 per glass, with strong berry overtones and a decent glass too.

Our food arrived down, freshly cooked, piping hot and absolutely delicious.  This place is pretty amazing. I’m sorry I left it so long to go here and I was heartened to see so many people just having the veg option.  It was wonderful to have such a filling healthy tasty lunch right in the city in a lovely atmosphere with very helpful staff for an unbelievable price of 5.90.  We shall be back.

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Posted by: susanjcaldwell28 | February 10, 2014

McMAHON’S OF BOTANIC AVENUE

I was meeting my mum for lunch last week in Glasnevin and we decided to try this eatery.  It has been open for the last six months and it has been recommended to me by a few people.  It is in a lovely setting just opposite the tin church on Botanic Avenue amidst a row of cute little shops on the turn overlooking the old church and the river.  I met my mum in this gorgeous bijou cafe on a Friday lunchtime, and we sat beside the window.  It was a beautiful crisp sunny day and it was lovely to gaze out on this picturesque setting.

The cafe has a lovely artisan feel and is run by a couple, who are both extremely friendly and helpful.  I ordered a salad of roast veg with cous cous and hummous and omitted the pesto,  making it a vegan salad, my mum had a sandwich.  The salad was 5 euro for a small and 7 euro for large.  I decided to go for the large.  The salad arrived down and it was indeed,  a large portion, so large that I took half of it home.  It was really delicious, with plentiful olives, courgette, aubergine, mushrooms, peppers and onions, with a large smattering of garlicky hummous. Everything was so fresh, homemade and delicious, and a fabulous meal on a cold day.  I thought it was extremely good value and the atmosphere in the restaurant was lovely.  It was quite full when we came in and remained so throughout our time there, there was a nice feeling of hustle and bustle without the place ever feeling crowded.  I had a chat with one of the owners, Triona, and told her I could see this place expanding to a wine bar with tapas at night, and she said they had plans to expand, had started off small and were delighted to see the business thriving.

I asked if they had soya and was amazed that they had, usually its hard to get in a small cafe.  I ordered a soya latte and, then thought I was really pushing it looking for a decaf soya latte, but this was no problem, it came down pipping hot, just the way I love it and deliciously frothy in a huge mug delivered by Garret McMahon, with a big smile. It was one of the nicest lattes I have ever had.  Triona also told me of plans to run themed nights like Thai nights, Vegan nights etc.  I think this would be tremendously popular.  They seemed very interested in customers feedbacks and ideas, which I always think is admirable.  She is also going to add a vegan kale salad to the menu.

In an area where some pubs have become tired to the extent that they have not had a makeover since I drank in them as a teen, this wonderful cafe is a very welcome addition. The food is truly of a very high quality and the ambiance and the service are top notch. I  can see it going from strength to strength,  always looking for new ideas,  keeping the space and menu varied and interesting, whilst keeping prices down.

I think Glasnevin really needs McMahons,  as was confirmed by the cafe being full for the few hours I was there.  I can see this business successfully expanding and diversifying and I will definitely be heading back next week.  Highly recommended, go and try out this little gem for yourselves, truly worth experiencing.

P.S. I actually went back the following week and true to to her word, Triona had a beautiful kale, quinoa and veg salad on the menu,  amazing to see such imaginative salads, I was actually cold that day so I went for the hot salad but I will definitely try the kale and quinoa the next time.

 

Posted by: susanjcaldwell28 | January 19, 2014

TAPHOUSE BAR, RANELAGH VILLAGE, DUBLIN 6

I’ve been going to this bar in its previous incarnation, Russells of Ranelagh since I first moved there with John in 1992.  It was the first bar I drank in in Ranelagh and indeed on our wedding day in 1995, we had drinks there after the Registry Office before our wedding meal in Mario’s, so I was a little nervous when it got a large refurb lately, venturing back into to see how this historical building had turned out.  I need not have worried, the refurb was fab, it still retained its old charm but was a lot cosier.  On entering the building, I first noted a velvet curtain to the front which immediately cosied up the bar.  The bar itself had a fabulous feel that took me immediately to an American Bar,  there was a huge array of craft beers on tap and around the walls and wines.  The back of the bar that used to have a lot of high stools was now turned into a cosy library area with books covering the walls.  There was a great buzz and it was a lot fuller than it used to be.

The staff were very friendly and helpful and we noticed you could also get sampler beers from the menu, getting four beers for 5.30. We sat at the bar and the barman told us all about the different beers. We perused the food menu and it was very much tapas style but not a lot on for vegis and vegans.  We played it safe with the beer and went for our usual Tiger on draft but I think we will be braver next time, which so many different beers to try.  We decided to order a snack to accompany our beer.  There was a flatbread listed on the small bites section of the menu with hummous and salad and feta, we asked for the same without feta.  It duly arrived and it was a large bowl of hummous with some cucumber dipped in and lettuce, accompanied by one small white pitta cut into sections.  We asked for some olives to replace the feta.  Now you would not need to be a mathematical genius to work out that one small pitta into a large bowl of hummous does not go.  I know we dont eat cheese but I still think the configuration was all wrong, this is a dish that should have been served with sundried tomatoes and mixed olives and with the price of pitta, I think they could have thrown an extra one in.  This little snack was 6 euro and I feel 4 euro would have been more realistic.  Tasting plates were 12 euro. The mediterannean one had calamari included so if we were getting it we would have to ask for the feta and this to be excluded.

This is a great bar with a fabulous buzz, a tremendous array of beers and wines and it is fitted out beautifully.  Its a fabulous addition to my favourite village and I am happy to see it doing so well and retaining many of its previous staff.  It just needs to step up to the mark with the food.

susanjcaldwell28

Ive been trying to make healthy salads for lunch that I can make up for 2 days at a time, that are cheap quick to make and very good for health and that I can throw into a pitta for lunch for my girls and my husband and have them for lunch for myself for after the gym,  so I make up one on Sunday for Monday and Tuesday and Tuesday for Wednesday and Thursday.  I have come to the conclusion that 2 superfood salads will do the whole family for four days so I’ve outlined them below and also the benefits of some of the ingredients.  We all know that all fruit and veg are good for us so I wanted to also add some anti-cancer spices and superfood grains that would be filling and affordable and easy to make so here goes:

BUCKWHEAT SALAD

You can buy buckwheat…

View original post 1,405 more words

Posted by: susanjcaldwell28 | January 2, 2014

SOME CAFES AND RESTAURANTS IN DUBLIN THAT SERVE SOYA COFFEES

Accents Coffee Shop (Lower Stephen Street)

Costa Coffee – all do soya milk

Bewleys, Grafton Street (the winner by far, amazing soya lattes)

Butlers Coffee Shops, Dundrum and Town

Cornocopia, Wicklow Street

The Queen of Tarts, Cows Lane, Temple Bar

Starbucks

Insomnia

KC Peaches, Nassau Street and Dame Street (also do homemade almond milk)

Dunne and Crescenzi, Dundrum, South Frederick Street, Sandymount

Douglas and Caldi Dundrum

The Gresham Hotel

The Westbury Hotel

Cafe Novo, Westbury Hotel

Brambles, Dundrum

Fix, Dawson Street

Coffee Society, Ranelagh and branches in town

Cinnamon, Ranelagh

Peperina, Ranelagh

Staple Foods (Temple Bar)

Posted by: susanjcaldwell28 | December 22, 2013

THE CENTRAL HOTEL – DUBLIN

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Just back from a fantastic night in my favourite hotel in Dublin.  Myself and John and the girls used to go every year before Christmas and book the interconnecting rooms on the top floor.  We have not gone for the last few years but managed to get back this year.  I love this hotel, it does exactly what it says on the tin, central, it certainly is.  Located on Exchequer Street,  its literally a few minutes from everywhere you would ever want to go in the city.  It combines old world elegance with modern style,  its very clean and neutral but has such wonderful old rooms,  I really feel the history everytime I walk in here.  I first got interested in this hotel after I discovered the magnificent Library Bar, think of the coffee shop in friends combined with a beautiful cosy antiquated feel.  The times we have been lucky enough to grab the couch by the fire in a room surrounded by books, are ones I treasure so much.  Its like walking into a friend’s beautiful dining room.
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We arrived yesterday morning, we had “journeyed” in on the tram 10 minutes away from our cottage in Dundrum and left off our cases and headed into The James Joyce Room in Bewleys for soya lattes and soya hot chocs. We had some last minute shopping to do and then decided to head back to our hotel for a drink.  We book into the same rooms each time, right at the top of the building and I gaze out in wonder at the wonderful architecture of the surrounding rooftops.  Our beautiful rooms have a twin room for the girls and an interconnecting double room for ourselves with a really comfortable couch and a few armchairs surrounding a coffee table. When we arrived back cold and damp from the predictable Irish weather, the wine fairy had appeared and on our coffee table was a beautiful bottle of Merlot and two wine glasses, whats a girl to do?  It would be impolite not to parktake of such wonderful hospitality!.  We sipped our wine and our girls came back from their shopping. We got ready to go out to dinner, the weather was suitable dreadful but we knew we had a 2 minute walk to the beautiful Porthouse for Spanish Tapas.  The Porthouse is beautifully coccooned in a cellar like atmospher wine all around the walls and candles aplenty.  We had a fabulous meal and then returned to our hotel.  Our fab Library Bar was full to capacity but the very helpful waitresses informed us that their function room on the other side of the bar was also open.  I have been in this room for Sunday afternoon jazz and its another beautiful room.  So off we headed. My one gripe in the past with the bar has been the lack of variety of beers, well I was gobsmacked the other night and delighted to note the addition of Peroni, Tiger and San Miguel, all my favourite beers. Well seeing as we were in a nostalgic mood, it had to be San Miguel. I remember the family holidays in Spain when we could afford to go abroad, very fondly.  We always picked places that were very child friendly and made sure the holidays were all about the girls, I cannot understand anyone who would leave their children unsupervised.  We would head out for a meal, on one particular occasion Jessie got the nickname “messy Jessie” after her spectacular enjoyment of her spaghetti dish left her face and hair covered in same!.  We would then take the girls to one of the many places that featured bouncy castles and we would sit and have a drink watching them bounce around the place, we were so grateful to have half an hour to talk whilst never taking our eyes off them and then home to the apartment and when the girls were tucked safely in bed, we would go to our balcony and partake of San Miguel to the sound of crickets singing in the night.  So here we were in a cold December night in a magnificent Dublin hotel partaking of the same said beverage.
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Our girls had gone up to their room to watch a film. They are now 18 and 16 so its wonderful to see them growing up and gaining independence whilst still remaining a very close family. We got up this morning and went down to the breakfast room.  Again, another beautiful room and whatever way the staff are trained in this hotel or else its just their natural disposition, they are always friendly, smiling and helpful.  It makes the stay extremely pleasant.  We have been to many hotels where you have to queue to get the buffet and they run out of food etc.  This is so laid back and calm.  You help yourself to cereal, there are also prunes, grapefruits and many juices to choose from.  You can then order whatever hot food you like from the menu, we had hash browns, tomatoes and mushrooms, arriving at our table fabulously hot and fresh with a basket of brown and white toast and pots of decaf coffee.
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Any friends coming over from UK or coming up from the country have stayed in this hotel.  I always book the rooms for them and they have all been really happy.  The Central do extremely favourable rates and are really good to their return customers, which is a huge incentive to go back again and again!!!.  If you are coming to Dublin, I would strongly advise staying in this hotel,  just give me a shout and I will ensure you are wonderfully catered for, as we always have been.  If you want to feel a little of the history of Dublin and experience a beautiful old world hotel, the wonderful architecture and hospitality, whilst also staying somewhere that is very clean and modern with amazingly friendly staff, this is the hotel for you, the only hotel I return to time and time again in my own city.

Posted by: susanjcaldwell28 | December 14, 2013

UMI – felafel – Dame Street

umiNo coincidence that Umi rhymes with Yummy, this is a relatively new establishment, of 2 months duration, that has opened on Dame Street.  Its a  vegetarian and vegan Lebanese establishment, yes another one, halleluiah, us “weirdos” are becoming more mainstream.

Its a casual diner nicely laid out with open booths and seats that could have you bum to bum with the people behind you if you were of the largest variety!.  Myself and my daughter Sarah went into today and I get a bit stupid in places where I have an actual choice rather than the normal restaurant where they squint their eyes, roll their nose upwards and place a finger on their upper lip and announce “we could do ya a stirfry, I suppose” There were sandwiches, mezze, salads, soups and bites to choose from.  Lebanese, I have to say is the most vegan friendly food with their array of vine leaves, hummous, felafel, taboulleh etc. it just ruins it for me in so many places when I also see the word “halal” proud ways to murder be it kosher, halal or organic freerange etc, all in the name of cruelty just make me want to scream almost as loudly as the poor animals.

Sarah and I decided to go for the Umi Felafel Plate for Two People Sharing, we opted to change the cheese roll for spinach rolls to make it all vegan.  I love tapas and mezze and basically any meals that have loads of bits and pieces of food, variety being the spice of life.  Our server Stephanie was very helpful and recommended the Tunisian Salad as part of our meal, there was also a Moroccan quinoa salad, a felafel salad, tabouleh, tahini and fatoush salad, all sounded amazing.

Our meal arrived, for 14.50 between 2, we received 8 felafel in their own really cutsy fryer, 4 stuffed vine leaves, 2 spinach rolls, a huge salad, pitta bread and hummous.   All the food was so delicate and flavoursome, the spinach rolls tasted like they were made from rice paper, nothing heavy,  just mouthwateringly delicious, the hummous had the exact right amount of lemon, garlic, herbs infused into it, absolutely fabulous, could have eaten it off my fingers!.  The felafel had a beautiful spicy flavour to it and the salad was fabulous and the warmed pitta just delightfully enveloped all the flavours, I usually hate cold vine leaves, something about them makes me squirm but these were delish.  All the food is made on the premises and tastes so fresh and delicious, the staff are wonderfully friendly and helpful.  This is a really good eaterie.  They had many juices on offer, they are awaiting their wine licence and I meant to ask them if they offer a BYOB in the meantime. I would have many ideas how they could cosy up the premises at night as everything is more stark during the day but a few candles and a little music can change any venue.

The prices are very reasonable, the staff lovely and the variety is fab. I dont eat dessert myself but did ask where there any vegan desserts on offer, they have not, they tried the vegan pancake but felt it was not working well enough.  I know from my own children making vegan desserts that you can replace dairy with so many different options like almond milk, oat cream etc. and I do think they should make an effort to produce a good vegan dessert.  I did recommend my friend Debbie Debbo and her Cakeability Company as an option.

This is  a fantastic casual dining option with really gorgeous fresh food and ample portions.  Lebanese is quickly becoming my most favourite food. Highly recommended, just get the wine in and Ill be back!.

Posted by: susanjcaldwell28 | November 21, 2013

VEGANISM GOES MAINSTREAM – FROM HIPPY TO HIP

henrietta

I have never actually followed trends, I have always looked deep inside of myself and to the outer world to try and find the truth, rather than mindlessly follow.  I gave up religion when I was 16 and I have been vegetarian over 30 years and vegan for 2 1/2 years. I did it because once I knew the truth of how animals lived and died, it was the only compassionate choice.  I know the stereotype of the vegan to be the celery crunching, pale, skinny (I wish!) person with a little touch of misery from starvation!!!. I know loads of vegans online and a few in life and most of them are extremely glamorous and love food and cooking, some are raw vegans but are always surrounded by so much fruit and veg. Most eat cooked food.  Many love wine and beer (most lagers are vegan, guinness is not vegan or vegi cos it is filtered with isinglass from fish, check out Barnivore.com for lists)  All take joy in eating and being fit and enjoying life. Its not about giving things up but really utilising good quality healthy food, of which there is so much, living cruelty free whilst looking after your own health.  I actually make it a point not to go on Facebook when I’m hungry because the amount of imaginative delicious  dishes on display  is pretty phenomenal, we all eagerly share recipes.  Many of us are used to being the only vegan in the village, so to speak, and have developed a wicked sense of humour, as a result.  I love the shared sense of community and being able to reach across the net and have friends who understand. I am also very lucky to have some vegan friends in real life and many more are coming on board all the time.

clonskeagh castle

I love eating out and have gone to the odd hippy co-op type meet up for lunch etc. but I am not enamoured by brights lights and screaming kids and carrying your own tray etc. As I am a busy person, I take my relaxation time very seriously and I don’t like functional eating unless its grabbing a bowl of soup at home after the gym, for instance, so when I go out  I like to eat in relaxing non-fussy but accommodating,  friendly places with candle light and wine to go with my food.  Although there are now many vegan options, many of these nice places have been very carnist heavy.  Chefs have seemed to despise vegans and vegis and have grunted about “doing a stirfry” However, times are a changing and very rapidly it would seem.  My daughter recently celebrated her Debs in The Shelbourne Hotel and had a vegan meal that was the envy of her friends, many were sorry they had not ordered accordingly (picture below outside Shelbourne) . I had an amazing meal at a wedding there last year but Sarah’s meal was a few notches up from it, very imaginative and classy.  They are really using flair and imagination.

Lurve Cafe,  Dublin’s first vegan restaurant, opened last year and it has, unfortunately, had to move on from its premises in Temple Bar, but will re-open in a new venue soon.  I was only getting over the shock of Dublin’s first vegan restaurant when unbelievably Dublin saw fit to host Dublin’s first Raw Vegan Restaurant, Sseduced.  This is the absolute antitheses of the hippy venue, with its white walls and very spartan bright surroundings, not a beanbag in sight,  just a lovely neutral restaurant preparing great food, in Cecilia Street, Temple Bar.  I found out last week that the beautiful old Clonskeagh Castle https://www.facebook.com/pages/Clonskeagh-Castle/244189305662693 (above)  is now hosting, wait for it… vegan suppers with music and BYOB,  yes maybe heaven does exist after all!.  What a gig, music, vegan food and wine in this ancient castle, with prices starting from 25 euro for food and entertainments, its literally a five minute walk from my house so I wont have far to stagger home, I cant wait to try it.  Then I discovered “Living Dinners”,  wherein two women run pop-up raw vegan events with what sounds like an amazing array of interesting food.  Hot on the success of this, they decided to start “Winter Dinners” (first pic above of Henrietta Street) , for 55 euro a head, you get a drink on arrival and can byob,  you can sample a five course vegetarian meal with cooked and raw options and Im sure mainly vegan fare, in different venues, the latest one being an old house on Henrietta Street, so beautifully laid out that you might feel you are walking into the set of John Huston’s “The Dead”. The meals have been booking out on the nights they go online and they have had to add extra nights.  Again, I cant wait to try out this when I can. http://www.livingdinners.com/  I always think I belong to another time (and some wish I would feck off back there!!!) I adore old houses and buildings and velvet and lace and these venues have excited me beyond belief. My friend in Monaghan, Kevin, even tells me a local hotel has a full vegan menu. http://www.nuremore.com/

A more casual eaterie, Il Umo on Dame Street has opened and again this is a fully vegan and vegetarian restaurant as is Cornocopia on Wickow Street.  Blazing Salads on Drury Street is an amazing take out deli, all their salads are vegan and most of their meals.

I rang in the Niall Boylan show a few months ago to make a comment regarding the topic “should people be allowed time off work for the death of a pet” and the host changed the theme of the show to veganism when I mentioned I was vegan and I was on for nearly an hour.  I went back on recently after a show where I was disagreeing with vaccinations for babies, and talked about raising vegan and vegetarian children and was asked to go on again this weekend to talk about the ramifications of the world going vegan (which unfortunately wont happen overnight anyway) but declined as I felt I had exhausted the subject on the airwaves for the moment.  The same night friends texted me telling me that there was a programme on RTE Dr on Call, about the benefits of the vegan diet.

All of the above has happened in the last few months mainly and I am surprised and delighted at how fast interest in veganism is developing.  Far from being the hippy outsiders, the in-crowd seem to be elbowing in and digging out their credit cards and booking fantastic nights in castles and old houses.  There is a definitely a huge shift in consciousness, especially when our TV and radio stations also start taking this subject on.  We have hardly gotten used to vegetarianism in this country and suddenly we are embracing veganism, mainly because people are more aware than ever of the cruelties within the dairy industry, the destruction of the planet due to farming and the affect on starving children, who could be eating the grains fed to animals bred en masse and the positive affect on human health that veganism is having. Vegtarianism is only useful as a gateway to veganism. The WHO and the UN both recommend veganism to save the planet and the AND American Nutrition and Dietetics Society have stated there is no reason why anyone at any stage of their lives from infancy to old age should not become vegan.  They are the most prestigious nutrition board on the planet.

The only vitamin vegans are generally missing (and half the population incidentally) is B12 which is found in the soil.  We have pretty much cleaned it out of our diets though many people who eat home grown organic veg do not supplement.  I get around this by buying a tin of nutritional yeast and just throwing it on meals a couple of times a week. B12 is water soluble and a minute amount can last a long time in your system, but deficiency is quite serious so its a good idea to either supplement or have fortified foods such as plant milks and tofu.  The general population again need some Vitamin D because of the lack of sunshine and D3 is stronger that D2 which is the normal plant supplement but can be found in a seawood supplement in all health stores.  I used to think you would have to really plan out food as a vegan, you dont,  just eat a healthy balance of fruit, veg, nuts and pulses (and dark vegan chocolate and wine!) and you will feel amazing.  All products can be veganised from mayo (Kelkin)  to milk (almond, soya, rice, hemp, cashew) to cheese (Sheeze, Vegusto, Daiya).  Vegan faux meats of every description.  You will never be alone, there is a whole network of people who will help you with anything you need and I am more than delighted to help anyone transition, its not so long ago I was helped myself and I continue to get great advice, tips and recipes from friends.

Veganism has become popular because people are really thinking about eating cruelty free and looking after their own health and the planet at the same time,  its all damn good. The vegan train is running so you better hop on board but be advised, get your skates on, it has already left the station!.

SARAHS SALAD 010

Posted by: susanjcaldwell28 | October 28, 2013

MEXICO TO ROME RESTAURANT TEMPLE BAR

As part of my cheap but cheerful lunches criteria, I set out today to do my usual and find a venue with lunch for a tenner or under with wine.  Not easy under the best of circumstances but on a bank holiday Monday it was nigh on impossible, but eventually we succeeded in our mission.

I have been to this restaurant before and their lunch menu is excellent value and the food is fabulous.  The menu displayed in the window though does not actually outline the full lunch menu, which is extensive.  The restaurant goes right back with views from the back onto the quays.  It was quite full when we arrived today and I was not surprised because their lunch menu is  2 courses plus a small glass of wine or beer for 9.95, which in rip off Temple Bar is highly unusual.  They also had another menu that featured main courses with fries and a bottle of Peroni for the same price.

When we arrived inside we realised there were a lot more vegan options than we thought.  For the main course, there was a homemade veggie burger, penne pasta with veg and tomatoe sauce and a vegi taco, which could be veganised by leaving out the cheese and sour cream.  They also do a veggie burrito in their early bird menu and have no problem doing it at lunch time, if requested.  We ordered two tomatoe bruschettas to start, which were very flavoursome,  I must remember when ordering tomatoe bruschetta to always say no pesto because it is often garnished on the side of the plate and contains cheese.  We were able to work our way around it.  For the main course, I ordered a veggie burrito, which arrived down in a spicy tomatoe sauce served with mexican style rice.  John ordered the veggie burger, which was made on the premises with kidney beans and chickpeas amongst other ingredients, and had a pineapple mango garnish and fries.  We decided to split the meals between us for variety.  It was a good call because the burrito was deliciously moist and the vegiburger extremely flavoursome and soft but more dry so the dishes complimented each other.  The next time we will probably ask for some salsa and guacamole with the burger.  The meal was fantastic,  the staff were run off their feet but very pleasant and accommodating.

This place is a real oasis in the midst of Temple Bar and superb for vegans and vegetarians because of the extensive choice on the lunch menu. This deal is available 7 days a week until 4.00 and if you order an extra wine (which, of course, we did!) its only 3 euro for a small glass at lunch time.  Highly recommended.

Posted by: susanjcaldwell28 | September 28, 2013

CRAVE CAFE AUNGIER STREET

This is a funky Cafe on Aungier Street.  I came upon when I was bringing my daughter down to the main DIT to get her ID card and thought it looked interesting.   We decided to head in for lunch. Their specialty is gourmet pittas.  Its a nice little cafe with outside space and a quirky feel inside, all the chairs are different and as someone who is allergic to symmetry, I appreciated this,  but I also like things to blend in their own weird mismatch rather that just being chaotic for the sake of it and they certainly did in this cafe, the wallpaper was The Financial Times.  I do feel though that they could get a little braver with colour but Im a gal who loves her heritage and Mediterranean colours and like restaurants to be a little brave with the terracotta, dark blue and gold colours, they should lose the brown a little.

Its a casual but cosy venue.  We ordered a humdinger pitta, which comprised of hummous, sundried tomatoe, roasted red pepper and rocket leaves with a substantial portion of mixed leaves and spicy Moroccan style hummous.  The presentation was wonderful and the food was succulent and mouthwatering, the glass of house wine came in at a very reasonably priced 4.95 and the pitta at 5.95, an excellent option for a casual but filling and comfortable lunch venue. Highly recommended and the staff were so friendly and wonderful.  A little jewel that sparkles in the midst of Aungier Street.

 

 

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