Friday, 31 August 2012


A famous rugby player whom I follow on Twitter recently tweeted about Bite giving away lobster burgers and claimed they were "ridiculously good". My curiosity had also been piqued a few weeks earlier after our dinner at Dunne & Crescenzi and seeing that Bite across had a nice resto buzz with a tempting menu. The famed lobster burgers are only available on a Friday and Saturday so I did try to nab a table for dinner the week before. Ringing on a Thursday night, I was told they were fully booked for the following 2 nights and it was best to reserve a week ahead of when we wanted to dine. Surely enough, a week later and we secured a table for Friday night.

We were seated in the "front room" of the resto (having read other blogs since, apparently, there are a number of other rooms within the building). Even though we were dining early, the place was already heaving with diners. Bite USP is "fish and chips with cocktails". I was tempted to have a cocktail with my meal but after perusing the menu, found the cocktail list to be pretty pedestrian and didn't bother. Food was OK but not fantastic; service from the waiting staff was competent. What was really annoying was seeing what looked like the 3 owners of the place lurking in the alcove (direct view from our table) and doing SFA whilst:
  • getting in the way of the other waiters
  • blocking the entrance to the disabled toilet
  • blocking dishes coming out from the kitchen
  • being a waste of space 
If you insist on being in your own resto to supervise, do it at a less busy time rather than your busiest time and wreaking havoc in a non-ergonomically friendly resto??!! If you insist on coming at a busy time, at least give the impression you are getting your hands dirty and roping in to ensure a perfect service rather gloat over your vanity project.....

Overall, Bite looks like the type of place where it is more important to "be seen" in rather than for the fundamentals of enjoying your food and having a great service - unlikely, we will be back....
Complimentary popcorn to start - a nice touch

Starter of baby squid with feta, chorizo and romesco sauce - the flavours tasted nice but my dish arrived lukewarm. Yes, some of the components of a romesco sauce were there but slapping diced tomatoes, garlic, some almonds and bits of stale bread together hardly constitutes and smacks of laziness (with "deconstruction aspirations").

Lobster burger (which comes on a burger bun, lettuce, tomato, pickled cucumber, raclette cheese, pancetta, crispy onions and truffle aioli and a side of truffle and parmesan skinny fries). The lobster was excellent and fresh and did not need the million accompanying ingredients. Personally, I would've preferred if the half was served grilled in the shell, perhaps with some sauce and perfectly cooked fried rather than this elaborate artery clogger. Fries were soggy too.   

JD plumped for the lobster linguine - overall, it was tasty but he spent the majority of his time picking up slivers of garlic. This is what his plate looked like a third of the way in......

 .....maybe 3-4 cloves of garlic in one pasta main? Completely unacceptable.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Han Sung

Finally!!! A place in town which sells my beloved Jin ramen also houses a pretty decent cafe in the back serving Chinese / Korean food. Initially, I was going to plump for some naengmyeon but in the end, went for the trusty bibimbap. Not a great selection of namul on top but pretty tasty and very generous considering I paid a fiver for it!! Will be visiting again to try out naengmyeon, tteokbokki and jjigae :)

Friday, 24 August 2012


Back when we were last living in Dublin, l'Gueuleton had just opened and was one of the hot tables in town. Its no reservation policy also meant that you had to get there to nab a table and at the height of the Celtic tiger, the queues of customers used to snake outside the resto and around the corner. Fast forward 8 years and we were back to try it again for an early Friday dinner. No problems with getting a table this time and even more surprising, the place was not even full by the time we left (peak dining tim, 8pm). L'Gueuleton's food was resolutely French back in the day but it looks like it has had to widen its appeal these with a menu that is Irish/European with a splash of French dishes. Dinner was pretty good overall with decent food and service :) 
(Warning! Avoid ordering coffee as it was burnt and tasted terrible!!)
Charcuterie board with red deer bresaola, parma ham, salchicon, air dried Connemara meats, goats cheese, pickles and grilled sourdough - yummy and great value at €11.50

Lamb chops with mint choucroute and potato boulangérè - lamb was tasty but portion was a little mean with just 2 chops. Mint did not add anything to the choucroute and potatoes were underseasoned (we also had no salt and pepper to add out seasoning despite other tables having salt and pepper on their tables, careless table setting). All this was a little steep for €22.50.

Raspberry shortbread with raspberry sorbet - nice but very rich. Pastry cream inside the shortbread was too cloggy, would've actually preferred a lightly whipped chantilly perhaps?

The door next to the resto leads to a cocktail bar upstairs :)

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Coppinger Row

Some very close family friends were in Dublin recently for a day trip so I popped into town to catch up with them over a spot of lunch.

I had originally thought of taking them to L'Gueuleton but that walk was a little too long in the freak rain shower when I met them so we settled for a resto closer to our meeting place, Coppinger Row (JD and I had walked past the resto one Saturday evening and it was rammed to the gills with peeps; further research on the net showed some positive reviews so I figured, why not?)

We ordered a few starters to share which were a little hit and miss. I opted for a vegetarian option for my main which was very tasty but a tad on the stodgy side. Prices are reasonable but service is a little patchy. Am sure the atmosphere is prolly great when it gets a bit busier but not sure if I would be rushing back when the basics (ie. food, service) were under par.

A big thank you to "the other Chan clan" for lunch though!! :)

 Mixed mezze platter - generous and overall, pretty good.

Salt cod croquettes - too stodgy in consistency

Garlic and chilli prawns a la plancha - the Irish obsession with gambas continues.....these were pretty poor with flesh sitcking to the shells and the poor prawns were almost incinerated to charcoal!

Main of risotto with artichokes, broad beans and peas - abundant with ingredients but would've preferred a lighter consistency.

Saturday, 18 August 2012


We had driven past Arisu a couple of weeks ago. Those who have been and have mentioned it on the net had pretty good things to say about it so I figured we had to give it a shot and see if it might turn out to be our go-to place for Korean in this city :)

The resto is not very big and was full up by the time we arrived on Saturday evening. Bizarrely enough, the customers were very multi-national as we could hear French, Japanese, Spanish and Irish voices in the resto! Korean cuisine has spread far and wide, huh??!! 

Decor is basic, service is not bad (the guy brought us our bucket of charcoal was super-smiley!) and the food is OK too with pretty generous portions for Korean BBQ. We were stuffed after dinner and paid 50-something yoyos for the privilege - around the same as our meagre seafood lunch earlier on in the day. As we were leaving, we noticed that more Korean restos look set to open on the same street - fingers crossed, this will elevate the standard and we will get some top notch Korean food soon :)
Side dishes - not generous but they were free

Kimchi pancake - will not order again. Pancake was more bready than soft batter :(

Our BBQ cooking utensil with extraction similar to what you get in Korea!! (There is also a bucket of charcoal underneath that as opposed to the gas version you will find in Blighty!)

BBQ cooking away - in total, 4 types of meat with 3 rounds of cooking like this!

Dolsot bibimbap - no option of yuk whe but quite tasty. Rice had a nice nutty flavour to it as well :)

Seafood lunch - Beshoffs

This weekend, we spent a lazy Saturday in DNS. Having already checked out a farmer's market there, we took advantage of the sunny day and decided to venture further up to Howth for a spot of lunch. Howth has sure changed a lot since the last time we were there with more development around the pier, which is now full of fishmongers and restos. We had a wander and perused the menus before settling for some seafood tapas at Beshoffs. Tapas were served at a bar area within a large, airy shop with a fish stall and other goodies. The building itself was lovely and lunch was OK but not a patch on the seafood tapas we had earlier on in the year here. Portions were not exactly generous here and our bill was over 50 yoyos compared with the 30 yoyo bargain in Spain. The quest for affordable and good quality dining out options in this country continues......
Fried calamari - tasty but sauce was looking it was an accident on the plate. Probably would've been better in a separate container.

Pretty mean looking portion of crab claws - only 5! Minute tapas portion charging un-tapas like prices €8.95 for these bad boys?!!

The rip off continues; monkfish and serrano ham brochettes with salsa verde. 4 tiny bits of fish for 8 yoyos? And one of my pieces was only half cooked. 

Patatas bravas - looked the part but there was spicy kick in the tomato sauce 

Scallop gratin with breadcrumbs and tomatoes - not a looked but didn't taste too bad once you managed to dig out the scallop (1 split into 3 pieces)

Friday, 17 August 2012


Our tour of Joe Macken's empire is now complete!!

Despite the not-so-great reviews I had read about Skinflint, I have to say I am a fan :)

I was left a little puzzled after dinner as to why Skinflint serve tea/coffee and yet its more upmarket and pricier sibling, does not??? Surely Skinflint is the more likely candidate than Bear to be the place where you get served, eat your food and then be on your merry way?  
 Home-made lemonade with a fizz - giving the bar at Hix Soho a run for its money!

I had ordered a starter portion of baby back ribs and we were presented with the main course version - not too big of a deal in this case as they were pretty scrummy!

Pizzas - Dorothy and Breda. Could not finish mine which was very kindly put in a doggy bag :)

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Midweek dindins - Dunne & Crescenzi

Every time there is the slightest bit of rain in this city, traffic comes to a stand the point you'd think we had just come under an avalanche of snow! Add an annual horse event which pulls a large amount of punters from all over the country to one showground and cue, total gridlock from all angles. Unfortunately for me, JD's workplace is right beside all this mayhem and on this particular night, it looked like we might be better off heading into town rather than heading home after I had picked him up from work. Not such a good idea as we were cruising at around 1km/hr all the way in!!! It got so bad that we ended up parking the car at one point and walking the rest of the way. Since we were walking past, we decided to try our luck and grab a table at Dunne and Crescenzi. When we were last living here, JD and I had been in a couple of times for a spot of lunch and had always enjoyed our food and been impressed with the quality. Fast forward 8 years and Dunne and Crescenzi are no longer the quaint Italian cafe/wine bar but a sprawling resto spanning 3 buildings across the original site plus a mini empire of restos throughout the city.

Things did not get off to a great start; the resto was not that busy and there were several waiting staff milling around not appearing to do a whole lot yet we were made to wait several minutes before someone decided that we deserved their attention to come and seat us. The same waiter who seated us continued with his service with a 'tude which wasn't exactly pleasant; a little ironic given the fact that we are pretty hassle-free customers and yet he was fawning over another mucho fussy customer, offering numerous samples of wine when she was only ordering the one glass??!!

Our food was OK except my pasta main course was seriously undercooked. I declined to say anything but halfway through my meal, a waiter (not the one with the 'tude) finally walked past our table and JD mentioned to him that my pasta was not cooked enough. He was very helpful and offered to cook another one for me. At first, I felt a little bad as I had already half of my dish but he was very gracious and said that it would be better that they served me something which I was happy with. The second dish of pasta was cooked properly but overseasoned which was a shame. 

I could not stomach any dessert having eaten 1.5 dishes of pasta so JD was going to order a coffee. Service again was non-existent after our dessert menus were presented and we were kept waiting so long that in the end, we just asked for the bill instead. If we had had better service, I would consider coming back and I would've bought a bottle of wine for Ma Chan upon leaving. I won't be doing the former and I didn't do the latter.......their loss.
 Starter of mixed antipasto and tomato bruschetta

"Problem" main of home-made pasta with porcini, speck and pecorino