WHETHER we see him or not in a green jersey again remains to be seen (in my books anyway) but with one eye on the Lions tour this year, Brian O’Driscoll traded rugby greens for chef whites recently in a video produced by HSBC at Saba in Dublin. Take a look as BOD tries his hand at spring rolls with sous-chef Yo before doling out tips on how to get a pass off. While he might yet become a dab hand at Thai and Vietnamese cooking, it turns out the number 13 prefers the plainer spaghetti and chicken before a big game. Take a look at the video above or check out the Saba blog for more behind the scenes clips.
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Dublin’s hottest new Cocktail Club VCC (Vintage Cocktail Club), recently opened its doors in Crown Alley, Temple Bar in the heart of Dublin city. VCC is not only about cocktails as food is also high on the agenda, with an appetising menu created by renowned chef Mark Bradley now available.
Cooked and prepared to order, the menu includes some of the most delicious and unique dishes in Dublin with a wide variety of snacks, smalls and boards on offer. If you are looking for a snack, why not try the anchovy and olive sticks served with roasted garlic aioli (€5.00), for something really unique go for the fried Brussels sprouts, which come in an apple cider glaze with a celeriac puree (€8.00). Smalls on offer include crispy rosemary risotto balls served with herb puree garlic, chilli and parsley (€10.00). For the fish lovers, the seared scallops with a chargrilled cauliflower puree, garlic chilli and parsley or the grilled pickled mackerel with warm fingerling potato salad and mustard seed crème fraiche (€12.00) should do just the trick.
If you are hungry, the VCC boards offer something more substantial and a whole lot of flavour. Dishes such as the crispy pork belly, served with barbecue beans and coleslaw (€19.00) or the hanger steak with chared winter vegetables and shoe string fries (€22.00) are sure to satisfy any appetite whilst delivering outstanding flavour.
The VCC kitchen is open from 6pm every evening, closing at 10.30pm.
From 1st December, VCC will now open from every Saturday for brunch, serving delicious dishes and the best cocktails in the city, including master mixologist Gareth Lambe’s ‘VCC Bloody Mary’ created with his secret 16 ingredient spice mix – rejoice!
If you’re involved in running or promoting a restaurant in Ireland and have news to share on how your restaurant is going, new additions to your menu or staff, then why not drop me a line? Send your news and high resolution photos to email@example.com
The First Floor Bar & Brasserie at Harvey Nichols has introduced a Festive Afternoon Tea for the season ahead complete with a glass of Mulled Wine. The Festive Afternoon Tea is an ideal mid-madness shopping treat or an alternative to a long lunch to catch-up with friends.
Choose from savoury delights including Smoked Salmon on Brown Soda Bread, Mozzarella and Pesto on Mediterranean Olive Bread, Chargrilled Chicken Ciabatta or Foccacia with Ham, Cheese and Mustard. Followed by Sweet Treats including must-have Mince Pies, Chocolate Éclairs, Strawberry Shortbread Biscuits, Chocolate Brownies or Scones with Jam and Clotted Cream. Finished with a selection of Harvey Nichols superior tea blends and a glass of Harvey Nichols Mulled Wine.
The Festive Afternoon Tea is available in the First Floor Bar & Brasserie from the 17th November, Tuesday to Saturday, served from 3pm to 6pm.
Festive Afternoon Tea including Mulled Wine for two people is €30. Festive Afternoon Tea, including Mulled Wine and a glass of Harvey Nichols Prosecco is €45 for two people.
VOTED CONNAUGHT’S Best Restraurant 2012 at the Irish Restaurant Awards earlier this year, Artisan Restaurant, in Galway’s Latin Quarter, have recently launched their new winter menu, described by the restaurant as ‘a delicious infusion of carefully selected ingredients and mouth-watering flavour’.-
Found on the restaurant’s menu this winter you’ll find
- Baked Connemara Crab on toasted brioche and lime aioli
- 12 Year Jameson Marinated Organic Salmon Gravlax
- Pan-seared Loin of Rabbit served witih sauté cabbage, bacon and carrot with thyme jus
- Sage and Horseradish Homemade Potato Gnocchi with light Cooleeney Cheese
- Pan-roasted Monkfish fillet, cassoulet canneli bean, pork confit & Toulouse sausage, tomato and smoked paprika jus.
If you’re in Galway, or heading that way, you’ll find Artisan in Galway’s Latin Quarter up over Ti Neachtain’s pub with Mark Campbell ruling the roost in the kitchen.
You’ll get more information over at artisangalway.com.
Running a restaurant and have news to share? Drop me a line via email to ken@anygivenfood or click here to contact me.
The Vietnamese New Year, “Tet” begins on Monday, 23 January and marks the beginning of the Year of the Dragon. To celebrate, Saba is introducing a delicious lunchtime Noodle Soup Station, at which your dish will be prepared and cooked in minutes in front of you in the restaurant.
Tết is celebrated on the same day as Chinese New Year, though exceptions arise due to the one-hour time difference between Hanoi and Beijing resulting in the alternate calculation of the new moon. It takes place from the first day of the first month of the Lunar calendar (around late January or early February) until at least the third day. Many Vietnamese prepare for Tết by cooking special holiday foods and cleaning the house. There are a lot of customs practiced during Tết, such as visiting a person’s house on the first day of the new year (xông nhà), ancestral worshipping, wishing New Year’s greetings, giving lucky money to children and elderly people, and opening a shop.
Drawing inspiration from regional Vietnam, this soup menu has something to suit all tastes. From Pho Bo (Beef noodle soup accompanied with dried chilli, hot chilli sauce, bean sprouts and sweet basil) to the very hot Spicy Minced Pork *** (Spicy vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork, crushed peanuts, crispy garlic, spring onion and coriander). Other dishes on offer include the Yentafo (Egg noodle soup with squid, prawns and red sour sauce, pak choi, morning glory and crispy wontons); Duck Five Spice (Rice noodle soup with duck stew and 5 spices, pak choi, bean sprouts and preserved cabbage); and Roasted Honey Pork (Vermicelli noodle soup with roasted honey pork, pak choi and bean sprouts).
A range of condiments will be served with the soups so whether you prefer hot, salty, sweet or sour; dishes can be seasoned to taste.
The Soup Noodle Station will be open from 12.30 to 2.30pm Monday to Friday and runs from Monday, 23 January until Friday, 10 February. There is also a takeaway option, perfect for a quick and wholesome alternative lunch at your desk.
You can check out SabaDublin.com for more on the restaurant and a peek at their menus.
The last time the full Devious Theatre troupe travelled to Dublin, we took over a few tables in Milano‘s in Temple Bar for some great pizza and pasta before a night on the town. With January being a month where a lot of us tend to watch our waistlines and start counting calories all over again, Milano’s have announced 500 calorie Leggera pizza makes their American Hot suitable for Weight Watchers members. Considering a quarter of a Dominos’ pizza can be upward of several hundred calories, it should put a smile on a few diners faces.
From the Milano blog, the full range of 500 calorie pizzas include the American Hot, Padana, Pomodoro Pesto, Gustosa, American and Pollo Ad Astra pizzas. The pizza lovers here at Chez McGuire all of a sudden have the desire to drive to Cork for Saturday lunch.
Read on for the full news… Continue Reading →
No, I’m not talking about solving any crises surrounding restaurant wages, food wastage or skipping out on restaurant bookings. Each year, I make a small resolution to do more of something that I enjoy. Last year it was theatre and outside of taking to the stage in no fewer than six occasions, I made a plan to go and see one different show a month for the year. Involvement in Theatre Machine, Solstice and TEXT|Messages in December certainly helped this but I managed to tick all the boxes and get out and see theatre from a different company every month for the year.
This year, my focus is on restaurants. I would like to try a different restaurant every month for the year. The qualifying cases being that
- If it’s in Kilkenny, I can’t have eaten there in the past 12 months.
- If it’s outside of Kilkenny, the same applies.
- Regular restaurants can still be frequented, but a new one has to enter the mix each month.
- I need to write something about said 12 restaurants, wherever they are.
Topping this list of new restaurants for me will be Campagne, largely fuelled by two crisp €50 vouchers held by myself and Mrs. Any Given Food-to-be. Despite it being on my hitlist since it opened, it is one of the few restaurants locally that I’ve yet to get out to.
The restaurant side of things doesn’t need to be expensive, could be a quick lunch or a four course dinner, but it just needs to be different is all. But I do like to eat out at least once in a month if not more so why not shake things up a bit?
Of course I have other food related resolutions – blog more (though I don’t think I’m doing too bad for a blog that’s up and going about 14 months or so), eat more, weigh less, cook more, shop at the farmers market more, read more food books, all the usual suspects. The restaurant one, however, could be a good bit of fun and throws a few extra quid to local and other businesses. Plus, it should get capped off nicely at the end of the year with a spin to the Cliff House for the annual “kind of self employed ish techie dinner” that wound up at the O’Brien Chop House for a great meal earlier this month.
So how about you, any foodie resolutions in particular planned for the year?
THIS WEEKEND in Graiguenamanagh, Co. Kilkenny, was all about the Town Of Books Festival and with herself broadcasting from their on Friday afternoon, we ended up spending Friday night and Saturday in Graigue to take in some food, theatre and all the book trail had to offer. Having spent Saturday morning strolling around the pop-up bookshops (and adding seven new books to the kitchen in the process), we picked Boats Bistro on the Tinnahinch side of Graigue for lunch.
We’d made two trips to the restaurant, which has been in the Bridgestone selection the past two years. On the first occasion we spotted the restaurant was full downstairs and started the trek back towards Coffee On High but spying a couple strolling out of the restaurant, managed to get the only free table downstairs (upstairs was being prepped for the evening servings).
It’s an airy and bright space with friendly staff and a pretty comprehensive lunch and dinner menu, with vegetarian options available for the non-seafood lover. Which is pretty much where I come in.
The vegetarian of the group loved the soup, Carrot & Coriander the flavour of the day served with two hunks of fresh bread for under a fiver. I think the phrase “I love chunky soup in a chunky bowl” may have been uttered over lunch. With soups, wraps, houmous, scallops, chicken and chorizo and fresh salmon with pesto among the lunchtime options, the winner for me was the Seafood Tapas Plate at a tenner even (pictured below).
The tastes across the plate are quite different, moving clockwise from the right we’ve got mussels in a chilli tomato sauce, prawns with an avocado sauce, crab crumble (possibly my favourite on the dish), and deep-fried calamari. As I’ve suggested though, I’m not a massive seafood lover. It’s taken me *years* to get around to ordering fish dishes off the menu. Having seen my folks tuck into bowls of mussels on holidays as a kid, it took me until my fourth year in college to try my hand at cooking and eating them but since moving back to Kilkenny I’ve been a bit more adventurous in the fish department. For someone who’s looking to do a bit of exploring in the same area, this is an ideal way to do it, all of the fish on the plate quite tasty.
Add in a coffee (you’ll spot the restaurant from the big Illy sign visible over the bridge) and the whole lunch experience was ours for under €20.
As more and more restaurants continue to list their suppliers, Boats Bistro does exactly the same, with a lot of their food sourced around the South East. The fish is sourced from the Duncannon Fish Company and Gone Fishing (Dunmore East. All beef on the menu is Irish and grass fed, chickens are farmed in Glin Valley and vegetables are sourced from Farrell’s in Kilkenny. Their cheeses are all available at the Cheese Stall from Carlow Farmer’s Market, ice-cream is also sourced in Kilkenny from Nigel & Carol Harper’s dairy herd and the wines come through Febvre wines, an Irish-owned wine importer.
There is a bit of a crossover with the dinner and lunch menu (pricing remains the same) but we’ve already decided that we’ll be back to try it out and see what their upstairs evening dining has to offer. There’s loads more you can find out about the restaurant, the owners, the building and more by visiting BoatsBistro.com.
To paraphrase a great movie quote, just when you think you’re on top of things, you get dragged back in. In that I’m referring to the latest blogging holiday, fuelled by my now annual involvement with the Kilkenny Arts Festival. Ten days of music, literature, theatre, craft and in my case, dining out, a lot.
But of all the places I’ve eaten in over the past fortnight, a serious tip of the hat has to go to Cleere’s Bar & Theatre on Parliament Street for their lunch menu.
It’s simple, there’s no denying it. But when it comes to the food side of things, I’m a firm believer in doing the simple things right. Don’t over complicate things, don’t bombard people with countless choices and combinations of dishes, if you’re doing food as a sidebar to your main business (keeping the pints going), then a straight up simple lunch choice is just what the doctor ordered. And you, as a patient, get just that. Just bear in mind that when I say there’s toasted sandwiches to feed an army, it’s quite possible that the one sandwich will do the whole army.
The menu on Cleere’s hangs on the door outside the pub, or can be found inside one of the copies of the Dandy or Beano annuals at the bar; and it is simple. Soup or a sandwich, or both.
€3.95 gets you a large bowl of fresh soup, usually with a choice of two soups rotated over the course of the week. So far I’ve managed to sample the vegetable, tomato and basil, broccoli blue cheese and pear along with their minestrone soup which is slightly more on the stew side but incredibly filling.
€3.95 also gets you your sandwich, plain or toasted, with no limit on the fillings. You want a ham and cheese sandwich? €3.95. You want a ham, cheese, chicken (cooked that morning), lettuce, onion, tomato sandwich? €3.95.
And, if you want them both, plus a full pot of tea and a purple snack to go along with it, it will set you back €9, though if you’re going the whole hog, don’t plan on having to eat for the remainder of the day. My own lunching over the week varied between toasted chicken, cheese and onion or the revered Toasted Special, a staple of many an Irishman’s weekly lunch.
Once you’ve had your food dropped to the table, you would be wise to take a look at the bar where you have a choice of 15-20 sauces and spreads from red pepper pesto to sweet chili mayonnaise, zingy lemon dips, chili jam, honey mustard and more besides. And, if like me, you happen to be on a working lunch, there’s now free WiFi in the bar as well with the password printed on signs around the bar.
With 60 seats, serving 12-hour days, seven days a week for 12 weeks, Crack Bird opens its doors at 19 Crane Lane in Dublin this Monday.
What is it? Well, it’s a pop-up chicken restaurant, brought to you by Jo’Burger’s Joe Macken. I reckon I’m going to have to get back to Dublin a lot sooner than I thought.
According to the Irish Times, the restaurant is being run on €15,000 of credit-card financing, €8,000 of which was the setup (when you exclude the rent for 12 weeks in Temple Bar).
One of the draws for Twitter heads and bloggers alike is going to be the free food up for grabs. If you follow @CrackBirdDublin on Twitter and book a reservation (successfully) using the hash tag #tweetseats, you find yourself at the receiving end of a free main course, shared side and shared dip, per person on your first visit. The restaurant will have six free sittings (in groups of six people) every two hours for the twelve weeks, with the remaining 54 seats available to paying customers.
All dishes on the menu are cooked fresh on site, with ingredients sourced from as many independent Irish producers as possible. Addictive chicken? Yes please.
Lord knows there’s enough empty retail units knocking around the streets in Kilkenny. Any chance there’s a restauranteur out there looking for a pop-up restaurant space?
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