When I think about myself and my friends, one word springs to mind ‘foodistas’. I’m not so sure that’s a real word or anything, all I know is that it really should be. I mean, come on!
Every time we venture to a new city we are like wide eyed yokels, bleary eyed and excited staring in the face of all the new opportunities to ‘feast’. It’s almost like we’ve just been released from a women’s prison or like we’ve been starved for several months at the bottom of a well. I guess that could be a little embarrassing but trust me we’re all totally cool with it!
Capital cities are the best, brimming with the multi-cultural razzmatazz of all the nations of visitor’s it draws in they effortlessly cater to every taste. Dublin was no exception. I’m gonna go there, I’m just gonna say it, Dublin is a food Utopia and in many ways bared a resemblance to our food forefathers across both ponds with a heavy reliance on French cuisine and Americansed menu’s greeting you at every delicious turn. Heck, if that doesn’t float your boat there’s everything from Moroccan to Korean to Indonesian to get your motor going but for me it was all about the Big Apple. This is how Dublin made me want to move to New York. For starters, the weekend see’s the city champion the concept of ‘Brunch’, something I’ve previously only really been familiar with through episodes of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ or movies about planning weddings and I personally had never had the pleasure of indulging in Mimosa’s before noon. Making the decision of where to eat can be a minefield, so here’s a little guide to where we found awesome.
- Elephant & Castle: Located on Fleet Street at the heart of the infamous Temple Bar this honest to goodness New York inspired diner actually has a sister diner in Greenwich in New York. Thus making it the ultimate choice for brunch and undoubted first choice on our food tour of the city. Free from any cliché’s of the American Diner craze that swept the UK in the last couple of years, Elephant & Castle reminds me more of your dressed down Manhattan breakfast joint that would be kept afloat by a bunch of diehard locals and regulars…in many ways it’s a sitcom waiting to happen. The Menu was phenomenal. We opted for the Brioche French toast with maple syrup, crème fraiche and berry compote and the Smoked Salmon on toasted muffins with scrambled eggs and Hollandaise sauce. Brunch allows for a spectacular amount of creativity in combining breakfast and lunch ingredients. For that reason maybe one of my biggest life regrets will be not trying the Eggs Chiapas; a magnificent Mexican treat of Crisp tortilla, Sunnyside eggs, guacamole, bacon and refried beans or the steak and eggs Ipanema with avocado and fried banana. The free coffee refills are also awesome and good for axing any potential Temple Bar inflicted hangover.
- 37 Dawson Street: If there’s one thing that rivals our love for food it’s probably cocktails. Ironically this quirky, dim lit bar with a neon sign proclaiming ‘Things are not what they seem’ doesn’t actually have a cocktail menu. Instead they have expert barmen who will create a totally bespoke cocktail specific to your tastes. How freaking cool! This place is pretty sweet. We also dug their Alice in Wonderland theme and how it explored the darker, dirtier, grown-up side of the fairy-tale. They also have some pretty impressive bar snacks including a fine selection of sliders and their Louisiana hot wings with blue cheese dip are not bad either.
- Fallon & Byrne: If you get a kick outta supermarkets, if you’re weird that way you’ll love Fallon & Byrne. Think an Americanised hybrid of Waitrose and Boothes where the staff wears aprons, shirts and ties as they pack your groceries. This place is straight outta Connecticut, a fact confirmed by their Pastrami and sauerkraut sandwich at the deli counter. Well worth a visit if you’re into the cool chilli co, red bananas or posh condiments.
- L’Gueleton: Dublin is famed for its French/Irish fusion cuisine; it’s what’s got half the Michelin star rated restaurants in the city its accreditation. However, if you fancy something a little less pricey and on a whim without a reservations this place is perfect. The Chicken Liver and fois Gras parafait with the pickled, cinnamon pear and toasted croutons was incredible and I am told the Venison was cooked to perfection. As you can’t actually book in, there may be a wait for a table but that’s no sweat, which leads me to our next destination, perfect for idling away the wait time.
- The Bar With No Name/No Name bar: If you do pay L’Gueleton a visit you would be bat shit crazy to not venture upstairs into the super cool secret bar that actually doesn’t have a name. In fact if you do find yourself in this loft style bar your pretty lucky, as from the outside you’d be hard pressed to realise there is anything there at all. The smoking balcony is particularly impressive, housed in a circus tent and filled with hipster types deep in the wraps of what I’m sure was existential conversation. Sure it sort of felt like we crashed a party but I was totally ok with it.
- Juniors: A half hour walk out of the city centre and you’ll find one of, if not Dublin’s most loved Deli’s. During the week this modestly sized venue has their bar piled 3 ft tall with incredible sandwiches. The weekend sees a much slower pace. Their meatball sub I have no doubt would make Subway cry in shame. I had the Huevos Rancheros…yeah I got some Mexican breakfast goods in their to kick off day 2 and they were fantastic.
- Ukyio: Beware of the size of the sushi! This place is nothing if not value for money and their portions are Godzilla sized. Maybe a little on the seedy side with its basement karoke booths, but heck it seemed to popular even on a Sunday night so that speaks for itself right?
So ultimately, Dublin’s eateries made me want to ditch village life whereby I feel like I live in an episode of Emmerdale and trade it in for some big city sitcom action where we hang out in cocktail bars, musing about life over fine food. I have no doubt it would totally wind up on E4. We will definitely be going back soon!