Saturday, 22 September 2012


A week later after the episode of the non-working phone and we were able to secure a table for dinner at Juniors, yay! Traffic was a little heavy with Leinster playing Edinburgh at the RDS around the same time as our booking but we managed to make it across town on time :)

We had been wanting to pay a visit to Juniors after walking past it having just had dinner at the Chophouse across the road. On that particular night, the resto looked busy and the dinner menu looked tempting :)

Juniors is tiny with seats for around 8 peeps inside and a further 12 outside (we plumped for an inside table as it was starting to get nippy, also people can smoke outside) - setup is very much like its sister resto, Paulie's Pizza with an open kitchen. Food was very tasty (well, apart from JD's steak. It seems like no-one in this town knows how to season a steak??!!) and service was attentive and with a smile. A lovely meal and would definitely come back :)
Starter of quail with beets, oranges and toasted hazelnuts - delicious!! Every bone of the bird sucked clean!! :) 
(JD's starter of mussels with peperonata also got the thumbs up!)

Main of seafood stew - very tasty. If there was one complaint, it would be that the toasted sourdough accompanying the stew had too much oil tasted a bit rancid. A shame because the bread itself was yummy 
(JD plumped for the steak tagliata which the chef had completely forgot to season, schoolboy error which unfortunately is found everywhere in this town)

Saturday, 15 September 2012

La Serre

We had originally planned on trying to get a table for Juniors for Saturday dinner. Between not getting through on the phone for reservations and being told by sister resto, Paulie's Pizza that Juniors would be rammed because of the Lady Gaga gig nearby, we decided to leave it for another time. I then rang La Serre late afternoon for a dinner reservation and they were able to accommodate so that was our destination for Saturday night.

La Serre is about 30 minutes drive outside Dublin and is the resto of the venue, the Village at Lyons. Once in the grounds, the setting is lovely with a long driveway to the main building (you know you are in the country with the numerous rabbits scampering around on either side of the road!) and it's easy to see why people often choose it as their wedding venue. La Serre is located in a conservatory attached to the main building which is picturesque. I would advise not sitting by the wall if possible as we were bothered by a pesky wasp (which was probably attracted to the plants growing beside us) throughout our meal. Dinner itself was not bad (I think I made better choices than JD) and service in general, was friendly and efficient. At 45 yoyos per person for 3 courses, it is not cheap either. Nice to go once but I am not sure if I will be making a return visit in a hurry.
Cured salmon with apple and fennel salad and lavender jelly - very tasty and nice balance of flavours. JD wasn't too impressed by the paucity of the dish.

Duck breast with roasted spuds in duck fat and cabbage sauteed with bacon - generous portion of breast but let down by a non-crispy skin

Bread and butter pudding with rhubarb compote and vanilla ice cream - not a looker! The bread and butter pudding looked like reheated lasagne from a microwave with no crunchy baked top. It didn't taste bad though....

Friday, 14 September 2012

Kouign amann

I have been wanting to make kouign amann for a long time but for one reason or another, I haven't been able to have an attempt at it until now. My first challenge was to track down some fresh yeast, not particularly easy with the lack of proper bakeries near me. I even popped into a bakery at my local village and was met with a bemused look when I asked for fresh yeast??!! Luckily, one of the national supermarket chains still have a proper bakery in each store and I was lucky enough to get my hands on some there :)

My first attempt looked promising but I had a major disaster when baking them - lots of liquid dripped from my pastries and onto the floor of my oven causing my kitchen and living room to be clouded in smoke!!! These unfortunately had to be abandoned whilst I attempted to aerate my flat!! (what was more worrying was JD sitting in living room oblivious to the place filling up with smoke!!!) Dommage :(

I then made my 2nd batch in Ma Chan's kitchen and everything turned out much better. I learned afterwards that I had placed my kouign amann the wrong way up for baking the first time which caused sugary liquid to leak out of the pastry :(

These buttery, sugary morsels of puff pastry are best eaten warm out of the oven. Its a shame that they go soggy overnight but I think Ma Chan may have found a solution for "resuscitation"! Bon app! :)

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Matt the Thresher

I came across Matt the Thresher after browsing through a Dublin lifestyle mag which was singing its praises about its seafood platter. It sounded tempting especially after many a meat-heavy meal in the city to date....and thats exactly where we headed for a spot of grub.

I suppose one of the good things about being in Dublin and not living in the big smoke anymore means more likelihood of bagging table for a semi-decent resto at the end of the week without having to book months in advance; we got lucky again and managed to bad a spot at Matt the Thresher.

Food was pretty good and at bargain prices; service was also friendly and attentive (despite our waitress being run ragged by a table of 10+ American tourists!). Again, we would definitely be paying another visit should we ever get a craving for fresh fish and seafood :)
Our dinner - shrimp, crab and avocado salad for me, pan fried plaice with baby spuds and salad for JD

Under 40 yoyos.....BARGAIN!! :)

Saturday lunch - Pablo Picante

Since we were last home, Pablo Picante has expanded from its original outlet on Lower Pembroke Street and now has an additional premises in town on Clarendon Market, with indoor and outdoor seating. Más burritos para todos ahora!! :)
Burrito was twice the size of my can of cream soda!!!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The Chop House

We had originally planned to go to the Chop House for dinner on a Friday night but re-scheduled at the last minute to Thursday instead rather than face chaotic rush hour traffic on the way home after collecting JD from work.

Luckily, they were able to squeeze us in with no reservations at short notice. Usually, when Anthony Bourdain recommends a place to eat, you can be fairly sure that its pretty good and the Chop House for the most part, did not disappoint. Service was decent enough but bordered on brusque at times. Overall, everything was solid and I would contemplate another visit :)
Wine list on a chopboard :)

Unbelievably delicious bread (the recipe is on their website) :)

Starter of scallops with pressed duck confit and Asian dressing - all the components tasted nice on their own but unsure whether they are all necessary in the one dish.

JD and I shared a rib on the bone, served with hand cut chips, onion marmalade, sauteed green beans. Usually, the steaks come with one sauce but our waitress very kindly offered all 3 to us (garlic butter, bearnaise and peppercorn). The meat was tasty but our steak came already carved and on separate boards with no bone resulting in a bit of an anticlimax and lack of theatre.  The rib of bone could've easily been served sliced on a large platter in the middle of the table (with bone) and guests could then help themselves. Irish people obviously don't like sharing ;)