WTF Happened to eatforafiver?

I’ve been on a diet. A supervised carbohydrate-controlled diet. Which rules out a lot of cheap food. And that really limits the eatforafiver options.

I miss doing eatforafiver. So when I’ve done what I need to do with my cholesterol and triglycerides, I’ll be back.


Honest to Goodness 2.0

2011! Good grief. That was when I last visited Honest to Goodness. Then it was in the George’s Street Arcade where a load of other things have been since, none as stunningly successful as H to G.

It’s now in Dame Court, very close (too close: see below) to the Stag’s Head.


It’s bigger. It’s brighter. And to be honest, it’s still excellent value.


You may remember Tim. You know, ex-hyperactive adolescent, now retired, lives in Bangkok. No? Well, here.

He’s over here for a holiday and a bit of relief from the relentless sloth of retirement. He’s good company and deserving of my munificence. A fiver’s worth of it anyway.

We met in H to G at 12.30. The place was already humming, with most tables occupied and a queue forming for take-aways. Attentive staff members poured water, told us about the specials (hot pot, crayfish salad, something else, and the fiver special: lamb kofte burrito) and returned at frequent intervals to see if we wanted to order. They weren’t rushing us, you understand, but it is a bit of an in-and-out sort of place, with a pretty rapid turnover of customers, so they were facilitating that … I suppose.

Apart from the specials, the menu is salad and sandwich based, with a selection of lurid juices on offer to accompany your food. Here’s a pic of the lunch menu (click x 1 = bigger, click x 2 = massive) …


… on which one writes with a water-based marker to convey one’s choice.

Looking back at the 2011 posting, I see that the speed of service was a bit of an issue in other people’s reviews back then. If it ever was really an issue, it’s not now. There was plenty of staff both behind and in front of the counter, buzzing around furiously, and productively.

We ordered our lamb kofte burritos and barely had time to draw breath before they arrived …


My dining companion reacted variously …





Don’t ask me why they call them lamb kofte burritos. Although, what else might you call them? Essentially they were tortilla wraps, inside which was a generous quantity of spiced minced lamb, with a pinky mayonnaise type sauce, and a minty something in the background. They were served with a small heap of couscous.

OK. So we were chatting and I really wasn’t paying that much attention to what I was shovelling into my mouth. I tell you what though. It was tasty. And it was filling. And although kofte usually come formed into some sort of round or cylindrical shape, who cares, as long as it hits the spot. And who ever heard of a kofte burrito anyway? Job done. The spot was hit.

I like Honest to Goodness. It’s one of a reducing number of places that has kept a fiver option on its menu. The portions were decent and the food was good and I recommend you give it a try. Dame Court.

Post-lunch, the proximity of the Stag’s Head proved difficult to resist, so we spent the rest of the afternoon sculling back these lads …


Good times.





Ashes Dosa

Soooo … every so often my pal Richard, the older lad Tom and I go to Britain to watch some cricket. It’s customarily an England v Australia Ashes Test match, or a few days of it, anyway. It’s difficult to explain the allure but cricket played well contains just the right mix of aggression, psychology, skill, elegance, excitement and serenity to make watching it for 6 hours a day a very worthwhile and absorbing experience.


This year, the first test was in Cardiff. It was last week, in fact. Our tickets were for Thursday and Friday but I travelled on Wednesday to avail of reasonable fares, and found myself exploring Cardiff city centre and eventually feeling peckish. The real discovery for me in Cardiff was the existence of arcades (and a vibrant market) which have become home to a refreshing array of independent shops, cafes and parlours. (The Claire’s and Mangos and all the other international chains have been thankfully corralled into one commercial mausoleum-like structure. The main streets contain a mix of shuttered premises, bars, restaurants and banks and, late at night especially at the weekend, the centre metamorphoses into a drink-fuelled dystopian nightmare. That’s a little over the top: I just liked the phrase. It does get a little wild but, underneath it all, it’s a pretty friendly city with some lovely sights.)

castle clock tower

I was just about to give in to my hunger and head to a burger joint when I spotted Sophie’s Creperie in the High Street Arcade.

arcade entrance

What drew my attention was this …

Dosa sign

… and I thought to myself: that’s exactly what I want right now.

Sophies sign

Sophie’s is a bright, spacious cafe …


… and I was welcomed warmly by the charming and friendly Michael …


… who explained what came with the dosa. I ordered one, took my seat, was presented with an interesting table marker …

table marker

… and waited. (I should come clean at this stage that, although the dosa was going to cost me £3, I also ordered a smoothie which was going to push the cost of my visit a little over the fiver in local currency. Forgive me!)

In fact, my smoothie came first. It was the second one on this list …

Smoothy menu

… and was cold, refreshing, summery and delicious.

Michael and I chatted, about drama amongst other things. Turns out she’s a fan of Wicked the musical, so we talked about the costumes, the spectacle, the incredible impact of the special effects and, of course, the songs.

My dosa arrived and I tucked in. Still chatting, I completely forgot about photographing the dosa until I’d almost finished it. Here’s the last couple of mouthfuls …

My Lunch

I’ve written about Masala Dosas before, here, so I won’t repeat myself. This one had a beautifully spicy potato filling, a coconut chutney and a thickish tomato-based sauce (not a sambar, though). It was tasty, filling and satisfying. And did the job it was designed to do. And it so happened that I was the first person ever to have one in Sophie’s.

The other savoury items on offer at Sophie’s are …

Savoury menu

and they also offer a range of sweet crepes.

I spent a very pleasant 30 minutes or so in Sophie’s. It wasn’t busy but it was about 2.45pm when I got there anyway so it was well after any lunchtime business. I read some online reviews of Sophie’s and they’re consistently positive. So, while I’m not suggesting that you hop on a plane especially, I am saying that if you happen to find yourself in Cardiff when it seems as if it’s, as Pooh would say, time for a little something, then Sophie’s would be a good choice.


Australia lost, sadly.



I Believe in Cheap Food

The eatforafiver cogs have been stationary for a while. The day job takes over in April, May and June and the opportunities for taking a jaunt into town or elsewhere in search of cheap food are limited.

Last October, a helpful man called Sean McElroy pointed me towards a few places in the Camden Street area. One, I tried soon after but the other has been gathering dust in my inbox ever since. Until today.

In the 1980s, I worked in Montague Street, a narrow street that connects Camden Street with Harcourt Street. It’s home to a few casinos, a post office, the National Youth Council of Ireland (where I used to work), a few sandwich and pizza places, Gerry’s …


and Credo, the location for today’s extravaganza.

I haven’t eaten in Gerry’s since I worked in NYCI but it has to be one of the best value restaurants in Dublin. It’s not cutting edge cuisine, fine dining, fusion or, indeed, anything other than meat and two veg, cooked plainly and well, served quickly and designed to satisfy your mid-day hunger. And all for well under a tenner. I’ve hesitated and I don’t really want to do this but I’m going to call it an institution, unless by the time I’ve finished this post, I can think of something better and less hackneyed to call it.

Credo is a little further towards Harcourt Street beside the very popular Green Bench Cafe.


The link above will bring you to Credo’s lunch menu. Credo is also on Facebook (where its page features daily specials) and is reviewed on Yelp.

For its size, Credo has a pretty good range of offerings: pizza, pasta, soup and sandwiches, to take away or eat in, the latter in a small (seating about 16-18), but not cramped, room beside the serving area.

Here’s the inside out view …

window from in

My lunch companion today was PJ, a friend with multifarious interests and multiple talents but for whom wheat is a thing to be avoided.

We entered, and consulted a most helpful woman (with a most eye-catchingly attractive tattoo) behind the counter who explained the options and offered various suggestions for wheat-free eating. Sean (see above) had mentioned that Credo does a pasta option for a fiver. Today there were three pasta dishes on offer, two of them costing €5. One was a fettuccine dish with a creamy sauce, spinach and green beans, and the other rigatoni with a tomato sauce, aubergines and spinach. The aubergines swayed me towards the latter.

PJ chose a Caesar salad without croutons but with a little extra protein thrown in to compensate, for €4.50.

We paid and took our seats. Our food arrived soon after, served in boxes, nicely presented on paper-covered boards. Condiments and cutlery were available close by.

Of the rigatoni, there was plenty. The sauce was rich but otherwise unexceptional (I’m describing, not critiquing, you understand). There was spinach and there was aubergine. And there was a good sprinkling of grated parmesan. It was tasty and filling.


PJ’s Caesar was a revelation, his container filled to the brim with dressed leaves, both lettuce and spinach, with some tomato and a generous helping of chicken and bacon, also sprinkled with parmesan.


Here he is, getting outside it …


… and, having done so, he pronounced himself satisfied.

Credo was busy and, by the time we were leaving, there was a small queue outside. Most people ordered to take away but we weren’t alone in the dining area.

Do have a look at their Facebook page (link above). Some of those sandwiches and salads look very appetising and are excellent value.

If you work in the area, or study in DIT down the road, put this place on your list.

(It’s only when you write one of these things that you realise how important commas are.)




Second Bite @ Belly Bites

So, apropos the forthcoming referendum (the one that few people are talking about), the young lad reminded us that Michael Collins was 30 when he was killed. Just one example to counter the exclusionists who consider that nobody under 35 has had sufficient experience of what life has to offer, to be able to do the things that Presidents are required to do. To my mind, if you’re old enough to vote, you’re old enough to stand for President. I thoroughly dislike exclusionist politics. I’ll be voting yes. In both referendums.

For lunch, I decided to revisit a place I felt I had been a little unfair to the first time around. It’s a little place on Thomas Street, just opposite the top of Francis Street: Belly Bites.


I wrote about it before and gave it a lukewarm review but I did suggest then that ordering a salad at 1.45pm on a wet, cold February day, and criticising what I got was hardly just.

This time I got there at about 12.50pm. The place was humming and all the tables (there are only four) were filled with (male) lunchers …


… munching on burritos and quesadillas, as far as I could make out. It was a happy hum, supplemented by frequent calls of ‘next please’ from the servers, summoning orders from an ever-growing queue (both genders) which, at one stage, crept outside the door.

Belly Bites specialises in Tex Mex food: burritos, quesadillas and chilli con carne especially, which makes it altogether odd that I ordered a salad the last time I was here.

The prices are reasonable and, given its proximity to NCAD (the virtues of which I have acknowledged previously), there are plenty of discounts for students on the burritos menu.



I ordered a bowl of chilli con carne. A sizeable bowl was lined with rice, on top of which was spooned a good portion of chilli. I agreed to a sprinkling of grated cheese, and the bowl was whisked into a heating device under the counter. Upon its reappearance, jalapeños and soured cream were applied, again following my agreement, and the bowl was exchanged for a crisp-ish fiver.

I sat at a long counter opposite the serving area, read the graffiti wall (a hangover from Belly Bites’ previous existence as a branch of Mama’s Revenge) and tucked in.


It was plentiful, filling and tasty, with a pleasant chilli heat, provided mainly by the jalapeños.


It could have been hotter temperature-wise, but I suspect that the pressure of orders diminished the time available for reheating.

The wall provided further evidence of customer satisfaction …




and this …


I’m happy to revise my impression of Belly Bites. Good value for your fiver. Even better if you’ve a student card. Opening hours are 12 noon till 8pm Monday to Friday and 12 noon to 5pm on Saturdays. Belly Bites also does a full range of coffees and teas. It doesn’t seem to be anywhere on the internet (not even on Yelp), by the way, hence the absence of links.




A Frabjous Day

The frabjousness of the day arose first in McDonalds, Rathmines this morning, where the young lad and I indulged in the complementary Sausage and Egg McMuffins on offer.

McMuffin-Sausage copy

I’ve waxed lyrical about these before. So let me just say this: if I was facing execution and I was asked what I wanted for a final meal, the Sausage and Egg McMuffin would be pretty high up the list. It’s the junk food equivalent of getting back into a warm bed on a cold morning when you don’t have to go to work.

Frabjous item number two was collected on the way out of town following my eatforafiver outing described below, from the comfortingly friendly Corner Bakery in Terenure. Here’s the ones that I didn’t eat …


None of your over-sweetened supermarket hot cross crap. These are things of spicy goodness, light and airy, that, with a generous coating of butter, in the words of John Martyn, …




And so to more mundane matters. Today, for lunch, I ate this …


… here …


… which is on Liffey Street, beside the Istanbel place I went to recently.

It was, I have to tell you, a big box of food (I chose Chicken Noodles). It comprised mainly thin noodles, with onion, red and yellow pepper, sliced cabbage, shredded carrot, not a massive amount of chicken and a generic, slightly sweet, sauce. It was tonged into a box by a server in a hat and a broad smile who asked me if I liked it spicy. My ‘yes, please’ triggered the application of a small spoonful of chilli paste on top. I sat, ate and filled the gap.

Thai Basil is, to be honest, nothing special, but if all you want is some quick flavoursome fuel in the middle of the day, while you sit in bright, clean surroundings, then you could do a lot worse. There are five chairs against a counter on one side of the small premises but most of the customers who came in while I was there took their food away. Here’s a selection of the menu offerings …



… and here’s the food on display …


OK. So that’s really all I have to say about Thai Basil.

Wandering around the area afterwards, I spotted Mission (just beside the evangelical Games Workshop, opposite the aul’ wans sculpture on Liffey Street). tweeted about it recently. Its menu contains a few tasty items for a fiver or less, so it’s going on the to-do list.

In the Epicurean Food Hall there’s a Spanish place


that does these …


And then on Bachelor’s Walk, pretty close to O’Connell Bridge, there’s a student offer from Apache Pizza …


That’s it. It’s been a long week. I’m going to drink gin.







*Guest Post by Edward Meredith*


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.


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) …


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


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


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 …




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.


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.


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.




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


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


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


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



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:


And a closer look:


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.


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.


Oh … and you can bring your dog …



Siri Satisfies

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


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.


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.


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‘.


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 …


… 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.


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.



Happy New Year!


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