Archive for September, 2014

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.

 

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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!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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