Archive for the ‘ Café style ’ Category

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.

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

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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) …

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… 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 …

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My dining companion reacted variously …

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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 …

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Good times.

 

 

 

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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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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.

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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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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.

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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

 

 

 

 

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.

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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 …

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… 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.

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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.

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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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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.

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Lagoona Feast

That man Garwin Liu has a good nose for cheap, filling food. This is the guy who recommended Star Pizza and the Oriental Emporium, where I’ve had two great feeds. He told me about the Lagoona Bar, just opposite the National College of Ireland on Mayor Street in the IFSC area ages ago. I was a little reluctant to go because the last time I was in that area I got stuck in an almighty traffic jam that lasted for ever.

Anyway, Garwin was in touch again recently through the eatforafiver Facebook page and mentioned Lagoona again. Guilt and curiosity combined today with a little flexibility in the middle of the day and the availability of a feeding partner: the young lad, on interminable school holidays, and perpetually peckish.

I think part of the problem the last time I was in Mayor Street was that the Luas tracks were being laid and the place was a mess. It’s all settled down now and today the area, even out of term time, was hopping. I have a pal who used to work in NCI some years ago when it first moved from Ranelagh. Back then, NCI was a bit lonely among cranes, not yet occupied office blocks, remnants of old dockland buildings and a lot of hoardings. Then, it was difficult enough to find somewhere to eat. Now you can’t move for bagel bars, pubs, pizza parlours, sandwich shops and pricy pasta purveyors.

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The Lagoona is a big place, situated in a corner of Custom House Square which is home to several other bars and restaurants.

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It was a pleasant day and most other establishments had several tables and chairs outside to facilitate al fresco dining. The Lagoona had two quite high tables, one of which we nabbed when we’d got our food.

Garwin told me that Wednesday’s special was roast meat in a roll with chips. And he was right. The choice of meats was beef or pork. The young lad opted for beef and I went for the pork. You can opt for different breads if you want and also have a few salad items to accompany the meat: lettuce and mayo for the young lad and coleslaw for me.

The portions of roast meat were generous and the meat was nicely cooked, moist and tasty.

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The rolls were pretty standard but fresh. The chips were a little hard, probably from being kept warm for a little bit too long. Still, hey, this was a pretty decent feed for a fiver. I think in the amount of meat stakes, the young lad was the winner.

There’s a carvery special each day (click to big up) …

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… and there’s lots of other food on offer too …

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… including this whopper sausage.

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We took a little wander around after our lunch to see what else was on offer. The odd thing was that the Lagoona seemed to be the least busy place in the area. Maybe it’s because it’s principally a bar. Maybe it’s because it’s a bit dark inside. Maybe it has too few tables outside and maybe they are the wrong sort of tables. They’re high, man-type tables. Maybe it’s mainly a student place and it’s not term time. I don’t really know.

Anyway, thumbs up for Lagoona. Meat, bread, chips. Cheap and filling. Nice one.

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Lagoona is on Facebook and Twitter, btw (thanks @MsFrugalone for the latter link).

 

So, yes, I was in a film, set in Belfast but shot in Dublin in the early 1970s. It was a made-for-American-TV film called ‘A War of Children‘, starring Jenny Agutter and Anthony Andrews among others. The only reason I mention it (well, apart from pure vanity) was that the opening scene was shot just off Harcourt Road, the location for yesterday’s eatforafiver adventure. Interestingly (to me anyway) the road on which the scene was shot no longer exists. It was Old Camden Street which kind of curved through what is now the Camden Hotel. Charlotte Street, which continued from Charlemont Street to Camden Street is also gone.

(There’s more information about these streets and the history of this area on wideandconvenientstreets and comeheretome, if you’re interested. Both of these sites are fascinating if you’re at all keen on finding out more about the history of Dublin.)

The Birdcage Bakery…

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… is at 21 Harcourt Road, between the Soup Stop (previously described here) and an Abrakebabra (another branch of which I dealt with here). It’s been open since November 2013 and has been the subject of loads of reviews, including ones from Lovin’ Dublin and A French Foodie in Dublin. There are also consumer reviews on Yelp and on its own Facebook page. Overwhelmingly positive. And I’m not going to disagree.

I got there early, just before 12.30pm mainly because I’m fed up arriving at places when half the food is gone. Also, I saw on their Facebook page that there weren’t that many seats. (It seats about 10 or so but it’s mainly a take-away place.) I was greeted warmly (nice) and the choices were explained clearly. You do have to look in different locations in the Birdcage for the price of things and maybe making their price list a bit clearer is something they could look at for the future.

There’s a good choice of food … (click to embiggen)

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… and most of the single items (wraps, calzoni, and so on) are under a fiver. They also do deals …

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My crappy photos …

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… give no sense of the portion size but let me assure you that the items are pretty substantial, especially the calzoni. As you see they also do soup (but not on hot days), coffees and tea, and a range of scrumptiously delicious looking cakes and biscuits (this pic shows only a small selection of the sweet goodies on offer) …

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A French Foodie’s review was tacked up on the window and I saw that she had had a salad box for under a fiver, so that’s what I opted for too although the salad boxes aren’t advertised or listed anywhere that I could see.

For my fiver I got a large salad box (a small one is a fourer) comprising these salads here …

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Ok, so from the left: potato/feta and cherry tomato, chickpea and chicken, and bean and rocket: each dressed freshly and not an ounce of mayonnaise in sight.

The salads are spooned generously into a plastic box and, if you want to eat in, the box is served on a slate.

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Water was offered and accepted gratefully. A fiver changed hands. I sat and ate.

The Birdcage Bakery is lovely and bright, decorated with appropriate murals …

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and shelves containing coffee and ingredients.

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It’s a pleasant place in which to spend a bit of time although one is always conscious of the substantial traffic that seems to speed along Harcourt Road.

Its natural customer base must be the offices opposite and around the corner on Charlemont Street. It’s not a long walk from Adelaide Road and Hatch Street either and I’m sure that they’ve done their marketing there too.

The salads were gorgeous. They were fresh tasting, interesting and quite filling. I love beans and chickpeas anyway so … yeah… good. I’ll go back and I do recommend that you try this place if you work anywhere close. It opens at 7.30am for breakfast

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and closes at five.

My fiver spent, judgement made and integrity upheld, I then had a flat white (€2.50). Oh. Yes. Well-made. Gorgeous.

Do try The Birdcage Bakery out. It’s restored my faith in the eatforafiverthing.

If you work nearby, by the way, please give Darragh next door in Soup Stop a bit of your custom too. I’d love to see these places continue to do their independent thing.

 

To end, here’s a gratuitous picture of our cyclamen …

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Mmmm … Buttery

I used to spend a fair amount of time in the Buttery. In fact, in my final year in college, I used to spend most Tuesday afternoons there, between lunchtime and after the tutorial I used to miss on a regular basis. In those days it was mainly a pub, with an added haze of marijuana smoke. It was also the place where I had my first legal pint of stout. Angela worked there. She wore socks, sandals and too much make-up. I remember the Buttery being pretty basic, a little dingy, with not great coffee but quite outstanding chocolate biscuity things.

It’s now HUGE … and bright. And it does food, and probably better coffee than it used to.

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For those who don’t know, this is the Buttery in Trinity College Dublin (shortly to become Trinity College, the University of Dublin). The entrance is located to the right of the steps leading up to the Dining Hall, the Buttery being in its basement.

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It’s actually quite a good space, with several (maybe 4 … ish) distinct areas and a variety of seating to suit individual diners/snackers and different size groups.

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The furniture is standard canteen but the Buttery is clean and well lit. One of the spaces, with vaults, has more subdued lighting and seemed today to be more popular than the others.

There’s a pretty massive selection of food on offer. At the lower end of the cost scale, there’s coffee, biscuits, cakes, sandwiches, rolls, paninis and so on. I didn’t really pay much attention to these, to be honest, although it’s hard to ignore the preponderance of signs for the Lavazza brand of coffee which must have a thing going on there.

For more substantial eats, there is a salad bar, with cautionary instructions …

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… and with a reasonable selection of cold dishes; most, however, involving mayonnaise to a greater or lesser extent.

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There’s also a fried food section,

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… the size of the sausages providing brief but significant temptation. And a hot food section with the following items, the first once being beyond my budget unfortunately:

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The idea of potatoes accompanied by potatoes didn’t really appeal to me although it was probably the slightly healthier option. However, my choice of the lamb casserole was confirmed when I saw the size of the portion being ladled on the plate of the customer in front of me and that the meat to sauce ratio looked pretty good.

Here’s my plate-full:

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A lot more potatoes were destined for the plate but I stopped the server just in time.

So, what have we got here? A good number of potatoes, small, roasted in their skins. A ladle and a half full of french beans. And a truckload of casserole. A fair feed for my €4.85.

Let’s remember two things here. Firstly, this is a canteen rather than a bistro. The Buttery is catering for a variable number of hungry students, some staff members, some people like me drifting in because we happened to know that there’s cheap food available, and people such as the older woman beside me who comes in at least once a week and gets a cheap but substantial hot meal. Secondly, this large plate of food cost less than a medium size Lindt Easter bunny.

The casserole, which contained quite a few lamb pieces, carrot, onion, and red pepper, was VERY tomato-ey. But there was lots of it and it was hot. The potatoes were lovely: soft inside, with an almost crispy and slightly caramelised skin. The beans weren’t great to be honest. the serving comprised a mixture of beans that had been in the bain-marie for some time and some that had been more recently cooked. They were a bit soggy. Edible but soggy.

But hey, I’m not complaining. This was a hearty feed in the centre of town for €4.85 and, if you don’t like the sound of the casserole option, there’s lots of other things to choose from for your fiver.

The evidence:

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Goosey Loosey

Goose on the Loose is a warm, comfortable, laid-back café-style restaurant on Kevin Street, just next to the junction with Wexford Street.

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It’s small, seating about 18 people. The decor is … I don’t know … thoughtful. Some candles, ornaments, potted plants, a huge armchair.

A CD player sits in a brick alcove, playing Craig David and Madonna (not together, thankfully).

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It’s the sort of place you could spend some time in, with a paper, coffee and a pastry.

It wasn’t my first choice but I’m glad I ended up there. I had intended to try out Karma Stone on the corner but they’ve changed their Fiver Friday deal from all day to 3pm-7pm. Still good value, I’m sure, but I didn’t have time to hang around until 3 to find out.

Goose on the Loose (their Facebook page, needing updating, is here) has a varied menu. It opens near enough to 8am apparently and serves breakfasts. It also serves pastries, soups, salads, crepes, a selection of Hot Pots and a few other things besides, closing at 5pm. Click on this to get an idea of today’s offerings …

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The non-soup choice for under a fiver is limited to a couple of omelettes, so that’s what I had: an own choice omelette, with two fillings from a choice of about eight. I chose ham and feta.

The kitchen area is tiny but evidently big enough to crack a couple of free-range eggs and whisk up an omelette, which arrived soon enough, with two slices of fresh toast and a little bowl of (mercifully) soft butter.

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Actually, this was a perfect lunch for today and I’m kind of glad I wasn’t faced with wading through lots of meat and spuds. It was light, soft and smooth with the tanginess of the feta offsetting the slight cured flavour of the ham. The toast was unexpected, but a good accompaniment. Service was helpful, pleasant and efficient. And it only knocked me back €4.60.

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I’d like to try GOTL for brunch some weekend (it opens at 10 on Saturday and 11 on Sunday) and I’m kind of sorry I don’t live as close to it as I used to. This was a good eatforafiver experience.

 

On my way down Wexford Street, I passed a place I forgot to include in my recent post about Wexford Street fiver eateries. Here it is …

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If you’ve a hankering for a battered sausage, chips and a can and you’re a bit short, you could try it out. I was last in it 25 years ago.

A few doors away, a place called Evergreen, in a very limited space, carries a brilliant range of food. If you’re keen on mushrooms, this will be your new home. I counted 10 different types of mushrooms, including these trippy-looking ones …

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Artichokes, pomegranates, alfalfa shoots, sumac … Evergreen seems to stock it all. Yelp it here. Did I just say that?

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I’m losing it. That’ll do for today, so.

 

Flavor on Camden Street

I feel a lyrical wax coming on.

I’ve written about Camden Street before. I like it. Sometimes better than others. The best times were in the mid 1980s. But it’s still got character and variety and an extraordinary range of shops and services.

Flavor (yes, no u) is next to the Bank of Ireland, on the stretch from Pleasants Street to Camden Row or, in pub terms, from Devitt’s (which I will always think of as the Cusack Stand) and Ryan’s. It’s where Yum Yum used to be.

My attention was drawn to it the other day by a curious combination of a board outside advertising Tuna Melt for a fiver and the sight of four young woman at the window table tucking into enormous cooked breakfasts. Who could resist?

I have to confess that I wasn’t sure what a Tuna Melt was. I asked Ruth (who works with me and knows many useful things) and she told me it was a combination of tuna fish and melted cheese, most probably contained within some sort of bread or toast. I’ve had that before and I remember not being sure about it.

Flavor looks like this on the outside …

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Inside, it’s quite green and deceptively spacious, seating maybe 36. It has some blank walls that cry out for something on them to soften the look a bit.

In addition to the board outside, there’s a huge blackboard inside (actually one and a half blackboards) with Flavor’s offerings …

You'll be able to read it if you click on it

You’ll be able to read it if you click on it

Sarah, who was welcoming, friendly (with all the customers), attentive, very helpful and very informative, told me that Flavor had been open for about two months. It’s open seven days a week, from breakfast time (this is a fudge – I can’t remember what time she said it opens) until about 4pm. She told me about the breakfast menu (several breakfast offerings cost a fiver or less) and the daily specials (costing a tenner for A LOT of food and a beverage). She also confirmed the composition of the Tuna Melt, more of which below. Every café/small restaurant should have a Sarah.

My Tuna Melt arrived and here it is …

food

Again, my poor photography on a phone camera does not do this justice. That’s a big plate and quite a substantial side salad.

As Sarah explained it, Flavor’s Tuna Melt isn’t just tuna and cheese. It also contains finely chopped peppers and sun-dried tomatoes. The cheese was tangy (finely grated and lightly melted) and the tuna plentiful. The toast (you can have a choice of brown or white: I chose white) was made with fresh bread and was lightly toasted so that it was exquisitely crunchy on the outside and soft inside. I can’t believe that I’m writing like this about a sandwich but, actually, this was GORGEOUS. The side salad was pretty good too. Fresh leaves, some red onion (could have been sliced a little thinner) and strips of roasted pepper. Tasty and filling. €4.95. Oh yeah.

I felt comfortable in Flavor and, encouraged by Sarah’s description of a ‘healthy’ muffin, I broke my own rule and ordered one, with an Americano. The coffee was good and the muffin delicious (cranberry and orange with lots of seeds to justify the ‘healthy’ description). Coffee and muffin cost just €2.95.

Stuffed, I paid, said goodbye to Sarah and left.

Flavor is one of those places I’d love to see do well. It’s unpretentious, serves good value decent filling food which is nicely presented, and has welcoming, friendly staff.

It could do with an internet presence just so as people know it exists.

If you’re in the Camden Street/ Wexford Street area, please give it a go and see what you think.

 

 

 

The Fumbally

I’m indebted to AoifeMc and Nialler9 (see below*) for tweeting about their visit to this place yesterday. It’s new. It’s gorgeous. It’s relaxing. It feeds you for a fiver.

The Fumbally is on the corner of New Street South and Fumbally Lane in Dublin 8. It’s on the ground floor of a pretty anonymous modern mixed use building.

Unmatched tables and chairs are scattered around the substantial floor space. A piano stands beside a pillar. A raised area has a low table and cushions, rather than chairs, to sit on. An alcove with a picture covered wall contains easy chairs and a few settees. There’s a few cookery books and newspapers scattered around. To the left there’s a few boxes of vegetables (for sale, maybe – I didn’t check). At the far corner is the food preparation area. On one wall is a massive menu board with just two items …

The eggs are lightly scrambled, served on a slice of toasted brioche with tomatoes. The falafel comprises a wrap, with three falafels, and a host of goodies that I’ll detail for you later.

This is a place in which one could spend a lot of time. In addition to the featured menu items, it serves coffee and tea, biscuits, cakes, baklava and home made soup. The atmosphere is relaxed. It’s spacious and this lunchtime it was filled with a mix of people – office workers and local residents, at a guess.

It wasn’t immediately obvious where one should order one’s food from but I was directed towards a friendly staff member with a notebook who explained what was on offer. I ordered the falafel, paid my fiver, grabbed a glass of water from this …

… and found a table. There’s a variety of sizes of tables but most are meant to be shared.

My falafel wrap arrived soon after, itself well wrapped in paper and served on a small board.

Substantial! I unwrapped it to see it in all its nakedness.

I took a bite …

Oh yeah. THIS is what eatforafiver is all about!

Inside the warm toasted wrap nestled three falafel, some coleslaw, beetroot, lettuce, tomato, tzatziki, tahini, hummus, fresh coriander and mint, and a small bit of a tomato and chilli sauce. It was thoughtful composition and I savoured every bite. It was, as I said, substantial and filling. And it cost just one of these things …

I wanted to stay a while. The Fumbally is a very pleasant place to be in. So, having done the eatforafiver thing, I ordered a flat white coffee and a slice of carrot cake. The flat white was one of the best I’ve ever tasted and it was hot (most flat whites seem to be served served in unwarmed cups and tend to be luke warm at best). The carrot cake was OK – nothing special. It might have been enhanced by the addition of a bit of bite – walnuts maybe.

The Fumbally is a place I wish I lived/worked closer to. Ironically, we used to live about 100m from it, on Malpas Street, but not anymore. It’s great value, very comfortable and welcoming, and the staff (and there seemed to be plenty of them) were friendly and helpful.

I’ll go again and I recommend it wholeheartedly.

 

*Aoife Mc is one of my favourite food bloggers. Her blog is icanhascook and she also tweets, writes a column in The Ticket, hosts a show on RTE 2XM and takes good food pics.

*Nialler9 is an award-winning music blogger (nialler9.com), twitterer, columnist, editor of State.ie and a superb and helpful freelance web designer for whom WordPress holds no mysteries.

 

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