Duck

*Guest Post by Edward Meredith*

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I was pessimistic when informed that I would be eating in a place named ‘Duck’, but my mood quickly changed as I walked in the front door. Although small, this small shop was filled with atmosphere.

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The line stretched as far as the door and was even longer when we left. Bright colours and interesting pictures on the wall enhanced the experience and the man who took your order had a great smile on his face.

The menu was quite extensive (click -> big) …

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… but we only had eyes for the meals for €5.

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This daily special menu had two options for each day and it changes daily.

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As we went on a Wednesday, the two options to pick from were sambal chicken and thai green curry chicken. We both went for the sambal chicken, but I had it with noodles and my dad had it with boiled rice.

The meal was enjoyable and for only a fiver, we got enough food to fill us up …

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The chicken was succulent and the whole box had a great spicy flavour. The vegetables tasted nice but I had hoped they would be crunchier to add a bit of texture. I made the mistake of adding some sauce that was found on the table which made the meal unbearably spicy, but otherwise, very tasty. If you happen to go and order this meal, I strongly recommend getting it with rice. I found that the noodles were quite chewy and rather tasteless.

 

Additional Notes: Duck is on Fade Street, around the corner from the Asia Market (on Drury Street) with which it has a connection. Duck has a website and a Facebook page and there are bundles of reviews online, mostly focusing on the duck items. Students get the special for a fiver. Non-students have to fork out another 50c. It’s open from 12 noon, 7 days a week, closing at 8pm most evenings, and 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays. You can eat inside or take your food away.

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Hawker by the Dome

My intention had been to go to Burdock’s in Rathmines for a battered sausage and chips. It was a reluctant intention, to be honest. Christmas has left me rounder than I’m supposed to be and chips would be unlikely to help.

In the back of my mind when I got to Rathmines, however, was a place that I thought was in the old civil defence fire station nearly opposite the library. This place is now called the Mart and is an art space/gallery which I thought, wrongly, had a café in it. So when the reluctance got the better of me, I turned right rather than left and headed to it.

It was empty and café-less but a sign suggested that the café part of it was located further up Lower Rathmines Road. So that’s where I headed.

The place I was looking for is next to the big church with the green dome, at the canal end of Rathmines Road. I think it’s where the Blackberry Market used to be some years ago, so called because of its proximity to the attractively named Blackberry Lane.

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The Martcade is a multi-purpose space. Its entrance opens into a corridor on either side of which are small rooms which seem to be artists’ studios. At the end of the corridor is a large space containing Hawker (the café I was looking for), a variety of chairs and tables, a large screen, board games, a games console and other bits and pieces.

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ents

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The place is bright (a little too bright really) and the walls are decorated with large brightly coloured round face-like shapes.

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A4 sheets tacked to the wall advertise cinema nights, a father and kids group, a clothes swap shop and an exhibition at the Mart.

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It has free wifi and, once I got used to the brightness of it, I found it a pleasant relaxing space to be in.

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Hawker Café offers a good variety of coffee offerings, pastries and other sweetmeats, soup, salads and sandwiches.

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Taking the advice of the helpful man behind the counter, I opted for a Veggie Sandwich. Now, as regular readers will know, I don’t usually do sandwiches in eatforafiver, so I was in two minds as to whether Hawker was going to end up in this blog.

What I witnessed being assembled with some care, however, was not just a sandwich but a work of culinary art. Well … I’m exaggerating of course. It was pretty good though, and was made, thoughtfully, in several stages. The bread with the roasted marinated vegetables and slices of pecorino was heated in a panini grill. Lightly dressed rocket leaves and a thin spreading of garlic mayonnaise were then added before the resulting creation was presented to me on a small tray.

Here’s the finished product:

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And a closer look:

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It was an unpredicted riot of textures and taste. Crispy crust. Soft yielding bread. Slightly warmed succulent vegetables. Fresh rocket leaves. And the gentle tang of the pecorino. Really tasty. And very filling. Messy too, in a good way. In other words, it didn’t destroy my shirt but there were lots of bits to hoover up after the main part of the sandwich had been eaten. Lovely.

The fiver exercise over, I went back to the counter to order a flat white. I spotted cannoli. I succumbed.

cannoli

Oh sweet ricotta …

Here’s a link to the Martcade website. It’s interesting: a new type of commercial social space offering opportunities to create, meet, relax and consume.

This is the brochure. You’ll have to click on it a couple of times to be able to read it.

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Oh … and you can bring your dog …

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Siri Satisfies

Siri is where Toki Doki was, at the top of Lord Edward Street, opposite Fishamble Street.

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I wrote about Toki Doki here, but I had the feeling even then that it might not survive. This particular premises has had a significant turnover of businesses over the years. It’s just a little too far away from the burgeoning restaurant zones at the bottom of South Great George’s Street, the middle of Dame Street, Parliament Street and Temple Bar to be noticed. And it’s on the wrong side of the road to capture passing tourist trade from Christ Church Cathedral. Let’s hope that Siri does a bit better.

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Siri (here’s its Facebook page) opened about four months ago. Lucinda O’Sullivan’s write-up (here) describes the people behind it, so I won’t.

Inside, it’s small, clean and bright, with nice bold patterns on the walls. There’s a small counter, about four high stools, a small bench and the kitchen/ serving area.

Inside

So, essentially, it’s a take-away. It also, unusually, offers a delivery service to offices at lunch time in what it terms ‘temperature controlled containers’.

This fact brought to mind a rather touching film I saw last year, called ‘The Lunchbox‘.

lunchbox-poster

Set in Mumbai, it’s about the development of a epistolary relationship between a woman and an older man based on a rare mis-direction of a lunchbox in the famous dabbawalla system of lunch deliveries in the city. If you get a chance to see it – do.

Siri has three distinct menus, as you can see here. Among the standards, there are a few unusual dishes that look interesting. I’m not quite sure of the point of the In-house menu, though. There’s not much space for in-housing, so to speak. (Clicking on these menus embiggens them, cromulently, obvs. Clicking again makes them readable.)

In-house menu

In-house menu

Take-away menu

Take-away menu

The menu that attracted my attention was the Lunchbox menu. This image is from the leaflet available in the shop which explains the lunch box concept and also has slightly different pricing from the version on Siri’s website.

siri lunchbox-1I went in ready to order the Vegetable Dhansak but ended up ordering the Mutter Paneer.

Paneer, as you probably know, is a fresh curd cheese made from milk. In Mutter or Mattar Paneer, the cheese is combined with peas and is served in a tomato based sauce, accompanied by rice or bread.

Here’s how mine was presented …

Lunch covered

… and when I took off the lid …

Lunchuncovered

… steamy and inviting. The green stuff beside the rice is rocket, by the way. Undressed.

I tucked in. Pretty good. Basmati rice, nicely cooked. Rocket, fresh. The paneer was firm and creamy.

Paneer

The peas were … well … peas, and the sauce was tasty and, without being critical, I would describe it as unexceptional. But pleasantly unexceptional. It had a nice chilli kick to it, providing a tingly mouth sensation rather than a blow your head off one.

There was plenty of it, although I might have liked a few more cubes of paneer and maybe a spoon. But, as I’ve said before: hey, this was a plentiful feed and it cost a mere fiver. And that, in post-recession, let’s dust off the party hats and queue up to buy a house off the plans Dublin, is good value. And it seemed more so because it was a dirty day and because of the gracious and friendly way I was greeted and treated.

If you’re in the area, pop in. And really, trust me, it’s worth a bit of a walk if you happen to be lurking somewhere further down Dame Street.

 

Could fill a gap …

… if you’re stuck.

5xMcD

 

Happy New Year!

A Little Brazil in Eustace Street

To be honest, I was beginning to think that my future eatforafiver adventures were all going to involve fancy sandwiches or falafels. Today’s fiver meal came about purely by accident. Or rather by idly clicking links on the internet when I was supposed to be drafting bits of a new website. Brazilian food appeared on a Yelp link and quite by chance I saw the word fiver mentioned.

The Mezz is a long, narrow, dark bar on Eustace Street.

MezzOut

I’ve never been in it before but it looks like one of these places which I might not really enjoy when it’s in full swing. That’s not a criticism of it. More a reflection on my age.

Inside, just before 1pm, it was buzzing. Not packed. But full enough for one to have to look around for somewhere to sit.

A sign outside …

MenuSignbig

… had confirmed that there was food to be had for a fiver but in the gloom I didn’t spot it immediately. And then, when I did, it wasn’t immediately obvious how the system worked. I asked the friendly woman doing the serving and she told me to take a plate, help myself to as much as I wanted from the cold buffet dishes, and that she would serve me my choice of hot food and receive my fiver. Fair enough.

SaladBuffet

It’s hard to see from the photo but the cold dishes comprised a mayonnaise-y potato salad, grated carrot, sliced cucumber, lettuce, cauliflower, beetroot, a mixed salad of tomato, onion and cucumber and a few others that I can’t remember. Then, as the carbohydrate base for the hot dishes there was a choice of rice, pasta, chips and cassava flour/tapioca.

I filled my plate, my excuse being that I wanted to taste the different elements (rather than sheer gluttony), placed a bed of rice in a small space I had left and handed my plate to the server.

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There were four hot dishes: a fried chicken and vegetable dish, a beef stew, a wet pork stew and Feijoada. I went for the last one because it looked interesting.

I know next to nothing about South American food and I didn’t know that the stuff she ladled onto my plate was called Feijoada until I looked it up later. It turns out that Feijoada has Portuguese and Brazilian versions. It’s primary ingredients are black beans and pig, usually cheaper cuts of the animal.

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Here’s my massive plateful. All this for a fiver! The salads were freshly made and either unadorned or simply dressed (apart from the potato salad which had quite a lot of mayonnaise in it). The rice was nicely cooked. The Feijoada was really rather tasty, with lots of black beans and smoky fatty pork, including, as you might spot in the middle …

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… a tail (click the pic to see it more clearly). If you have an aversion to pork fat (I don’t), choose another dish. They all looked good.

Glasses of iced water are available free of charge along the bar and the bar is open to serve other drinks as required. (Curiously, the area above the bar is adorned with brassieres and foreign currency. I didn’t ask.)

I have to say that this was one of the most filling, satisfying and good value eatforafiver meals I’ve ever had. By 1.15pm, there were a lot of people in the Mezz and a small queue had formed for the food. There was a hum of conversation in various languages, especially Portuguese.

PriceSignIn

Food is served from 12 until 8pm Monday to Friday which I think is extraordinary, and on Saturdays they offer an all-you-can-eat Feijoada menu for €8 with some samba thrown in for good measure. Goodness!

(The food in the Mezz is provided by Feijoadao Dublin, and they have a Facebook page here on which there are much nicer photos than I am able to take.)

Hungry Hordes

Eustace Street, for those who are trying to place it, leads from Dame Street (opposite the big Spar at the junction of South Great George’s Street) to Temple Bar. It’s the one with the Irish Film Institute, the Ark and the Friends’ Meeting House on it.

Directly opposite the Mezz is Basic Instincts …

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where you can buy these most beautiful masks …

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… and Christmas presents for Uncle Bob …

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and Auntie Betty

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:-)

Pig & Heifer: a celebratory feast

To celebrate the older lad’s engagement*, I thought I’d treat myself to a slap-up meal lunchforafiver.

I have Seán McElroy to thank for the venue. He emailed me a few weeks back and suggested that I try the Pig & Heifer, and another place down the road in Montague Street, which I now have on my list.

The Pig & Heifer has four branches in Dublin according to their website. The one I went to is in Charlotte Way, the street that links Camden Street to Harcourt Street. To be honest, I’d never thought of looking at the menu here. Not sure why. It just didn’t seem like an eatforafiver place.

From the outside it looks quite dull with a grubby stripy awning and really, unless you looked closely, you wouldn’t really notice the name.

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Inside, it’s dimly lit, with dull ochre walls and dark green trimmings. I couldn’t work out whether this was a style statement or whether it just needed a bit of brightening up.

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The colour and variety in the place is provided by the counter that runs along the right hand wall, the chalked menu behind it and the bustling activity of the pleasant staff.

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Behind the glass there’s a veritable cornucopia of fillings, salads, meats and so on, and on top of the counter there’s is an impressive variety of breads. Please excuse my, by now customary, crappy photos.

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The menu is huge, offering a variety of breakfasts (P&H opens at 8 on weekdays, 10 on Saturday, and closes at 4), salads, beverages, and then a massive range of meat, salad, cheese combinations to be placed between slices of bread, toast, bagel or wrap, or between two halves of a roll.

Click = big

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The vast majority of the items are priced between €4.50 and €6.50 and there are quite a few items in the €4.50 to €5 range, more if you want to take your purchase into the Autumn sunshine, or back to your place of work.

Seán (see above) told me that he had had a Chicken Paddy, that it had come with a portion of pasta and that it was tasty and good value. I thought I’d try something different, so I went for a Hot Pesto.

I was offered a choice of breads and rolls. I went for something orangey. This was halved and toasted and filled with a spread of pesto, some mayonnaise, leaves, tomato and some warm and melted mozzarella. I received it on a plate with a spoonful of couscous and raisins, onto which was applied some sweet chilli sauce.

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I handed over my fiver and took a seat.There’s plenty of seating, by the way (I didn’t count but, from memory, I’d say the place seats about 25 or so). Most customers took their orders away so there was plenty of space.

I found the couscous very sweet, especially with the addition of the sweet chilli sauce. I’m personally not a huge fan of sweet things with savoury things. But, hey, I’m not going to blame the P&H people for that. If I was paying more attention, I’m sure I could have asked them for some other accompaniment.

The filled roll was VERY good. The toasting gave the roll itself some texture, the garlic and basil of the pesto came through clearly, the leaves and tomato gave it a bit of coolness and the mozzarella gave it substance.

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Very tasty and, unsurprisingly, very filling.

I lingered for a while, watching customers come and go. Most seemed to come in knowing what they wanted so I’m guessing the Pig & Heifer has a loyal local customer base. Which makes sense because I’m not sure that it’s a passing trade sort of place.

Despite its relatively anonymous exterior and its dullish interior, The Pig & Heifer serves a massive variety of food, prepared by pleasant helpful staff. The food is tasty, filling and good value.

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If you’re within an asses roar of Charlotte Way, give it a try. Thanks again Seán for the tip.

 

* The affianced …

T&N

 

 

 

 

IstanbEl FalafEl

My Dad used to cut my hair until I was about 16 or so. I’m not certain that the result was all that much help in attracting potential girlfriends.* The vague relevance of this Dad haircutting revelation is that I walked past Snips in Middle Abbey Street (the site of my first non-pudding bowl haircut in 1976) on my way to my latest eatforafiver venue.

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It’s looking a bit battered but it’s still in business.

My eatforafiver venue of choice is of a much more recent vintage.

Extuse

Google didn’t believe the spelling, asking politely if I meant Istanbul. But there it is, in red and white, at 10 Lower Liffey Street, just a couple of doors down from the Food Emporium and the Gin Palace.

To me, Lower Liffey Street is like a corridor that you have to go through to get from the Ha’penny Bridge to Henry Street. The shops have no sense of permanence, apart from the enthusiastically evangelical Games Workshop with its bespectacled, black t-shirted and acne’d patrons endlessly strategising on behalf of their plastic orc armies.

I don’t know how long Istanbel has been there but a Google search showed that it was established as a company just over a year ago.

Its food offerings are plastered brightly all over the outside of the building, with more on the backlit panels behind the serving area. It caters for a broad range of tastes, offering kebabs, pizza, burgers, chips, a range of Indian and Thai curries, and Mediterranean/Turkish staples such as falafels, Lahmacun, Kofte and Baklava.

I was greeted warmly by the woman behind the counter and I ordered the falafel plate and handed over my fiver. I took a seat beside a massive wall mirror that makes the place look twice as big as it is, and had a look around. There were only two other patrons. Well, two and a half really: a couple with a baby.

Inside, it’s clean and bright but a little spartan.

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Not a venue for a romantic evening but not a bad place for a quick bite and a chat, or to fill up in if you happen to be passing. At a guess (lazily, I didn’t count), it seats about 24 but I’d say a lot of its trade is take-away.

My falafel plate arrived …

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… with its salad

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pickled chilli (I love those)

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and, under the bread, my falafels.

Falafels

There were also two sauces in one ramekin: a garlic mayonnaise and a VERY mild chilli sauce.

As you’ll see, my falafels were the doughnut type, with the hole in the middle. I understand that the purpose of this design is to allow more of the outside of the falafel to come in contact with the hot oil thereby making it crunchier. To be honest, I prefer the traditional type, made with the miniature ice cream scoop but that’s just me. I’m not that fussed about crunch. They tasted, well, falafel-y and not at all greasy.

As for the rest, the salad was fresh and crisp and the pickled chilli was as you might expect. The garlic mayonnaise I kept tasting for the rest of the day. The flatbread, however, was excellent.

This was a pleasant lunchtime snack, in a clean if rather featureless venue, served efficiently and pleasantly. If I was looking for a good value and reasonably healthy snack and I happened to be in the area, I’d go back to Istanbel rather than some of the places in the food emporium a few doors up the street.

I was there last Wednesday. Later in the evening, I was back in the area being dragged (willingly, to be honest) by Jacko, an old college pal, to The Academy to see Blackberry Smoke do their stuff. They were hairy and authentic, and it was a most enjoyable evening. What intrigued me were the fans. Blackberry Smoke is hardly a household name but the majority of the crowd (mostly men in dark t-shirts, aged between 45 and 60) were singing along to every song. They opened with this:

 

__________________________

*that is if you don’t count Maeve, with whom I almost shared a kiss in a nettled laneway when we were 9. It certainly doesn’t include Susan, however, who dragged me on to a bed when I was 10 and gave me an unrequested and unwanted wet kiss, the memory of which, to be honest, still has me a bit traumatised.

 

Falafel O’Falafel

It’s not often that one comes across a pregnant woman in a wire cage, on a vacant site. But there she was …

Pregwomaninbox

… at the corner of Harcourt Road and South Richmond Street. She was there as part of the Dublin Live Art Festival. She seemed a lot more squished in when I saw her first. I think this is her relaxing.

O’Falafel, where I went on Friday for lunch is on South Richmond Street; the bit of it that forms two sides of a triangle at Kelly’s Corner. If you need a landmark, it’s near the Bernard Shaw pub (see below).

O’Falafel is new. And orange. Bright. Eye-catching.

Entrance

Interestingly, I had two emails last week from people who, in one case (Siobhan), lives in and in the other case (Ian) works in this area who suggested that I give O’Falafel a go. I was more than happy to.

O’Falafel opens onto both parts of South Richmond Street. Here’s the inside out:

Insideout

The last time I was in this space was when it was Grub Hub, and the bloke ‘serving’ was more interested in his mobile phone than in the only potential paying customer in the place.

O’Falafel was notably different and service was both swift and attentive. My questions were answered clearly and my order taken without fuss.

O’Falafel is open almost all the time. I’ve been trying to find them online to check but they don’t seem to be there. As far as I can remember, the pleasant young woman behind the counter said that they open at 7am on weekdays and close at something like 2am.

Inside, it’s small but clean. There are five or six small tables but my guess is that it’s really more of a take-away place than a sit-down place.

The menu is very tempting. Lebanese inspired, there was lots on it that I want to eat and I’ll be back to work my way through other bits of the menu in due course. Here it is. (Click to big up.)

Menu1

 

Menu2

As you see, there’s lots of choice for a fiver or thereabouts, and lots of tempting treats, including things like Halloumi (a packet of which resides in my fridge and will remain there until I work out what to do with it) and Fattoush (which I made once and is gorgeous).

I went for the Spicy Sujuk, mainly because I was intrigued by the idea of a filled falafel, something I haven’t encountered before.

My Spicy Sujuk came soon enough. The falafels, tomato, lettuce and pickles were wrapped in a flat bread which had then been heated in a panini grill. While I’m quite happy for my wrap not to be grilled, the grilling process makes it a little crispy which is nice, and it also makes the thing less susceptible to splitting open and depositing its contents on your lap.

Taste-wise it was good. A little over-dominated by the pickles and, although the title and description emphasise the work ‘spicy’, it wasn’t much. Let’s not be too critical here, however. The wrap was very substantial and tasty and, if all the food on the menu is a) made with such care and b) as filling and tasty as this wrap then O’Falafel is exceedingly good value for money.

Pretty well stuffed, I paid and left, feeling that this was €4.50 well spent. Give it a try.

Wandering down Harcourt Road, I noticed that Soup Stop, which I wrote about some time ago, hasn’t reopened since it closed its doors a month or so ago. That’s a pity but around this area there are now quite a few nice cheap places to eat and drink coffee in, and South Richmond Street itself which has looked a little messy in the past is now getting interesting.

I mentioned the Bernard Shaw above. Here it is …

TheBS

I’ve always liked the look of this place, and the street art around it but I’ve felt this weird reluctance to go into it for a drink. I somehow always feel that I’m too old and dressed in the wrong clothes.

It has a sibling however, which is gorgeous. It’s the MVP on Clanbrassil Street, beside where the Man of Achill used to be, on the right as you go up the hill to cross over the canal bridge heading from town towards Harold’s Cross. I spent a very pleasant Friday night there a few weeks ago in the company of a couple of old pals. It’s got two floors, is basic but atmospheric, has lovely staff and mixes real cocktails. Well worth a go.

 

Banh Mi x 2 @ Pho Saigon

I have Garwin Liu to thank again for his tireless exploration of eating places north of the Liffey.

This time it was Amiens Street, just under the bridge and opposite Sheriff Street where I spent two pre-Christmases a long time ago pretending to be a postal worker.

The venue was Pho Saigon,

outs

and Tim B …

Tim Outside

… came along to sample the heady delights of eatingforafiver.

I’ve known Tim since he was a mischievous pre-adolescent and it’s safe to say that my pre- and early teen years would not have been so adrenaline filled had I not lived around the corner from him in Stepaside. From amateur demolition works on the Ballyogan Road, to gaining ‘free entry’ into Pat Quinn’s Club, to sending a string of taxis to a nearby housing estate, and phoning people with unusual names … well, I could go on but I won’t.

I shall also forever associate Tim with music, both for his meticulously kept lists of Top 20 hits, books of lyrics and for the rather innocent discos held in his house at which I always ended up with the same girl (I’m not complaining, you understand: she was gorgeous) dancing to Bridge Over Troubled Water but not quite managing to say anything to her.

It was Tim’s meticulous organisational ability that no doubt contributed to him becoming a rather significant figure in market research in the Far East for some time. Anyway, retired (!) and partnered up, he’s kind of at a loose end now (normally residing in Thailand) and our lunching was made possible by a short visit to Ireland to see his ma and her Labradors.

Pho Saigon opened about 3 months ago according to the nice man behind the counter (who I guessed by his enthusiasm is the owner).

ins sign

It opens from 12 noon to about 10pm and is spotlessly clean. It wasn’t full (a bit of an understatement) but those who were eating were doing so with some relish.

There’s not a huge choice for a fiver. Well, actually, we were limited to the Banh Mi (the anatomy of which you’ll remember was described here) and a drink = the ‘Lunch Special Offer’ = €5.

I might need to relax the strict fiver thing soon. For not too much over a fiver in Pho Saigon, there’s a pretty good choice, as you’ll see if you click on the menu …

menu

The Banh Mi (no idea what the plural is) arrived soon. Actually, we were deep in chat so I haven’t a clue how long they took. Quick enough anyway.

BanMi

The first thing we noticed was that the rolls were fresh. Pleasing. Inside were slices of pork, chilli, coriander leaves and grated carrot.

insroll

They hadn’t gone heavy on the pork. A little more (of everything) would have been better, but for a fiver, including a can and considering these were made on the spot, they were OK value. Tasty too. You never know with chillis whether slices of raw ones are going to blow your head off. These ones didn’t and I suppose there’s quite a lot of bread in a Banh Mi to dilute the capsaicin. Lots of fresh coriander too, which I love.

Oh yeah, here’s Tim stuffing his face:

Tim stuffing face

So … clean, new, enthusiastic owner, pretty good value (better if you spend over a fiver), freshly made Banh Mi. If you’re in the area (just turn left at the bottom on Talbot Street) this is a good and more healthy alternative to the pizza and chips offerings around the corner.

Tim paid. Thanks Tim. I lost the receipt.

We repaired thereafter to The Gin Palace on Middle Abbey Street and spent the rest of the afternoon in the company of pints. (Just in case there are any people associated with my work reading this, I did work two evenings to make up for it!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey. A guest post from my equine-friendly step-sister Judy who ventured across the county border to Limerick City and posted this bulletin.

Living in East County Clare, Limerick is my nearest city and I go there fairly regularly.  Recently I noticed several establishments offering lunch for a fiver or less.  Had I not been familiar with the eatforafiver blog I would probably not have paid any heed to them.  However, I determined to eat for a fiver on my next visit to Limerick.

Limerick, perhaps surprisingly to some, is, at 91k, Ireland’s third largest city, beating Galway by some 15,000 and being nearly twice the size of Waterford.  It is Ireland’s first National City of Culture and there is lots going on.  Of course it is also home to Munster Rugby and I have many times left the superb Thomond Park venue more than a little hoarse from screaming encouragement at our wonderful Red Army.  The atmosphere in Thomond Park, especially on those occasions when the Boys in Blue descend on us from Dublin, is second to none.

I digress as today was eatforafiver day for me.  I headed to Arthur’s Quay Shopping Centre as it has several establishments offering food (more than just soup and a roll) for the requisite price and opted for a Chinese stir-fry.   The place was empty, but I put this down to the fact that I was only getting around to lunch at three o’clock in the afternoon.  The menu board outside boasted a good selection of familiar sounding beef (€5) or chicken (€4.50) dishes and I ordered a beef dish with noodles only to be asked for “six euro please.”  Polite questioning elicited that rice, noodles or chips were one euro extra.  Looking at the menu board again I guess technically it does state this but I found the wording misleading (half & half €1 extra is what I saw) and think I can be forgiven for misinterpreting it.

A

 

B

 (^ Click = big)

However, you may disagree?

Indeed eatforafiver has several postings from Chinese restaurants with very tasty looking and positively reported on meals where rice or noodles were included in the price.  Oriental Emporium on Abbey Street (31st October 2013) in particular had my mouth watering.  Unfortunately today I had no option but to cancel my order.

I headed for my second choice in Arthur’s Quay, the Foodcourt Carvery/Deli …

B1

… where, for €4.95 I could have a chicken, ham, mushroom & spinach pasta bake with side salad or chips.  Sounded pretty good.  Must have been because by the time I got there it was sold out.  However, I was offered in its place a pulled pork wrap, again with a choice of salad or chips.  Acceptable.  I opted for the salad.

C

The wrap was hard and dry underneath, I deduced as a result of having been sitting on a warming tray for at least a couple of hours, but OK on top.  The pork was cut into several small chunks and definitely not pulled (which seems to be the “in” word for pork these days) but hey, at €4.95 I wasn’t complaining.

D

Mixed with the pork was a sparse selection of chopped soggy vegetables, all served in an inoffensive though rather sweet sauce, which provided the only flavour to the dish.  The salad was crisp and enjoyable.

I imagine that this restaurant does a very good lunchtime trade.  The seating area is open, clean and bright, with plenty of well spaced tables.

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F

Other food options were bacon and cabbage for €8.95 and chicken kiev for €7.95.  The pork wrap was also offered for €6.95 served with veg & mash or chips & salad and I suspected was only offered to me at the lesser price, but with less choices, to use it up.  However I didn’t mind this. I believe I could also have had a free tea or coffee but a glass of water suited fine on this occasion.

Overall impression:  Staff – friendly; salad – tasty; pork wrap – could not have told you what it was from taste alone, thus disappointing; Chinese – feeling duped as I think it a fair assumption that a stir-fry is served with at least rice included in the advertised price.  I would like to visit the Carvery/Deli again sometime, at an earlier hour, to hopefully sample the pasta bake.

H

 

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