Archive for the ‘ Sicilian ’ Category

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.

outer

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.

Inner2

ents

cosyspace

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

yelloface

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

thingshappening

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

signandlogo

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

saladmenu

sambomenu

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:

sandwich1

And a closer look:

sandwich2

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.

Hawker2

Oh … and you can bring your dog …

dogsallowed

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Camden Snack @ Martino’s

I was going to tell you about the film I was in but you’ll have to wait.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted but such are the rhythms of the work I do. March to mid-June is busy. Well … manic. And this year, because Easter was so late, it was super-manic.

Why we all have to suffer because some crowd in 325CE decided that the date of Easter should be determined by the equinox and the full moon beats me. It’s inconvenient and, in the 21st Century, just a bit bizarre.

Today, I was going to try Toni’s Diner on Charlotte Way at the top of Camden Street but, to be honest, I’m feeling fat at the moment and the last thing I wanted was a feed of chips. And then I thought I’d have a look in a new place that seems to have opened opposite the Aussie BBQ at that triangle at Kelly’s Corner. It’s called Grubhub but when I went in, the bloke behind the counter was more interested in his phone than a potential (actually, his only) customer and the filled rolls were a whopping €7.50. It seems that you just need to put ‘Pulled Pork’ on the menu to give yourself a licence to charge a fortune for a glorified sandwich.

Luckily (although it was more to do with good marketing than luck) a very pleasant person outside a relatively new place at the corner of Camden Street and Grantham Street, Martino’s, had waved a wooden board in front of me a few minutes before, on which were little bits of pizza impaled on cocktail sticks. The pizza was tasty and her patter was enticing. So, I wandered back to Martino’s to see what was on offer for my fiver.

outside

Martino’s is where a sushi place was until reasonably recently. It’s tiny, with room for a counter, a coffee machine, a pizza oven and two very small tables, but they’ve made the best of the available space outside to put another four or five tables outside, some of which are under an awning.

interior

Before I go on, let me just say that I have a deep affection for Camden Street. True, it’s a little run down but on what other street can you get your thesis bound, book a holiday, sort out your taxes, dance until 2am, get a t-shirt embroidered, play on a slot machine, buy a bike, get your computer fixed, hire a bike, purchase street art supplies, get a loan, visit a gallery, order your wedding stationery, have a bohemian mingle, eat well and eat poorly, and get muntered in any number of interesting pubs?

Back to Martino’s. You won’t get stuffed for your fiver here, but you’ll have a pleasant (very) light snack and you can people-watch to your heart’s content. They do muffins, pastries, coffee and, from well before lunchtime (they open at 8am, btw) pizza, calzone and arancini. They do paninis and so on too but at this stage I was hungry so I wasn’t in the mood to write out a list. Here’s the menu board:

menuboard

I ordered a slice of anchovy pizza and an Americano, sat down outside and waited.

Service was quick (and friendly). Not a massive slice of pizza. In fact, a very small slice of pizza …

pizza

… but it tasted pretty good. Thin base, decent cheese, not too much tomato sauce, and a generous helping of anchovies. The pizza is part of a meal deal: a slice of pizza and a drink for €3.95 (although a post on their Facebook page from January advertises it at €3.50 – that’s a 12% increase in a few months). In hindsight, I might have been better ordering 3 Arancinis for €4.50 or a couple of Calzones (although they were sold out of these by the time I got there).

Martino’s have just launched another deal recently: all you can eat pizza with a glass of wine for €15 and they plan soon to open until 3am, presumably to cater for the drunken sweaty crowds emerging from the Palace down the road. Good luck with that.

Not much more to say except that the coffee was pretty good. Martino’s seems to be part of an expanding enterprise. They have a Trattoria in Ranelagh. Unfortunately their website is impenetrably crap so I couldn’t work out whether they are anywhere else and their Facebook page doesn’t really say.

Summing up: pleasant helpful servers, tasty pizza, small portions, good coffee. Don’t expect to be stuffed but do expect what you eat to be tasty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Il Siciliano @ The Stables Market

The Stables Market …

2014-01-10 13.35.37

…is where the Ferocious Mingle Marcade was: 72 Thomas Street, close to the junction with Francis Street. The Mingle one has moved to Camden Street.

Some stall holders stayed, however, including Alberto (who I referred to briefly at the end of this post), who runs Il Siciliano.

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Alberto fed me some cannoli some months back and I promised myself I’d go back to sample some more of his Sicilian food. Since then, the Marcade closed and the Stables Market opened in its place in late November. It’s still finding its feet by the looks of it, but Il Siciliano is open and is doing what it does.

I pondered over the menu for a while (as ever, click to embiggen) …

2014-01-10 13.36.38

… As you see there’s a bit of a choice for your fiver. In the end, I settled on the Pitoni (also known as Pidone or Pituni). Although it’s described on the menu as a folded pizza, it’s more like a pasty in shape and size. Alberto spent a bit of time asking me what I wanted in it, and suggested two items: a Sicilian Pecorino cheese and a Sicilian Salami called Capocollo.

He then invited me to sit down while he prepared the Pitoni. Alberto is pretty passionate about his food and, I suspect, he’d go bananas if you described it as Italian. I didn’t dare. While I was waiting, he let me sample some the Pecorino. It’s a hard sheep cheese, quite salty, and the version he gave me had stuffed olives through it, which gave it an olive-y and slightly spicy kick. Nice.

My Pitoni arrived …

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… with a freshly made garnish. I cut into it …

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… and laid bare its innards. You can see (especially if you enlarge the pic) the slices of cheese, the salami, chopped tomatoes and red onion which made up the filling. All fresh, flavoursome with some herby seasoning. The casing was more pastry than bread: warm and unstodgy. The meal was tasty and filling.

The other items on the menu forafiver were Arancini, a Sicilian filled rice ball and Sciacciata, a pie filled with spinach and cheese, by the looks of it.

I’m not an expert on Sicilian food so I have no basis on which to evaluate whether what Alberto serves is a good example. No matter. What I like about Il Siciliano and Alberto is the enthusiasm with which he talks about, prepares and serves the food, and the pride he has in his country’s specialities. That and the fact that the food is tasty, filling and (in my opinion) good value. Il Siciliano is open from Thursday to Sunday from 11 or 12 until about 7 or 8 (sorry, a bit vague about this). The market itself hasn’t quite hit its stride yet but it has the makings of an interesting place to visit. Give it a try and see what you think.

 

Before I go, let me tell you about yesterday. I was in Blackrock having lunch with the spouse: a reasonable chowder in Conway’s. Anyway, before we met, I went searching for the Fish Shop, a place I had read about on Twitter and in various other places. It’s not that easy to find: it’s at the far end of the Blackrock Market if you enter from the front. However, if you go up George’s Avenue from the village end, you’ll see a sign pointing to a lane to the left which will bring you to it.

The Fish Shop does fish and chips. But it does them well. It’s run by Peter and Jumoke and yesterday they served me the freshest fish (slip sole) in the lightest batter, cooked lovingly and served with the most gorgeous homemade tartare sauce I have ever had. A fiver for the fish and a euro for the sauce.

It’s open from Tuesday to Sunday, 12 – 9. I’ll leave you with some reviews:

from Canal Cook

from Marie Claire Digby in the Irish Times

 

Tomorrow, I eat pie in Galway.

 

 

 

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