Archive for the ‘ Tex-Mex ’ Category

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.




Belly Bites: work in progress?

I think I need to give Belly Bites another go.

Last April (as I’m sure you remember!) I visited Mama’s Revenge on Nassau Street and they told me that they had opened another branch on Thomas Street. I meant to try it out but I never did. Now I can’t because it’s been Belly Bites since last November, with a new owner but still looking very like its erstwhile sibling.

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It’s Tex-Mex, serving a variety of burritos, quesadillas, nachos and the like but one of the things that attracted me, despite the weather, was the possibility of putting together a customised ‘salad’ box. Part of this attraction was a suggestion on Twitter that I should try to feature some gluten-free foods in the blog. Not something I had given much thought to previously but now I was on the look out.

Belly Bites is on Thomas Street, just across the road from the junction with Francis Street. Close enough to NCAD.

It’s boards above the counter suggest that it welcomes students …

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… and its prices are competitive. But, then again, Luncheonette in NCAD seems to have captured many of the hearts and mouths of NCAD staff and students.

Belly Bites is not on Facebook or Twitter (yet) and it hasn’t made itself onto Yelp either. So it’s a little underexposed. Certainly compared to other burrito places in the city.

The soup (last Friday) was gluten free –

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– and the menu in the window …

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…  indicated the range of things I could put in my salad box for a fiver.

Inside, Belly Bites is warm and colourful.

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I asked for my salad box in a bowl and chose pulled pork, sweet potato, aubergines, pico de gallo, sour cream, cheese and a hot salsa. I’m not an expert but that sounds pretty gluten-free. I handed over my fiver and sat down.

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There it is.

It wasn’t hot. Why? Well, the clue is in the title: salad box. I suppose I kind of assumed that the pulled pork and vegetables would be warmer than they were. But despite being served from a bain marie, they were lukewarm before they were put in a cold plastic bowl. And, of course, I insisted on the dollop of sour cream on top so I must bear some responsibility for the final temperature.

Notwithstanding its coolness, the constituent parts were tasty and although I got the last scrapings from the sweet potato container, there was a reasonable amount of food in the bowl for my fiver.

The reason I’d like to give Belly Bites another go is that everything I’ve written above sounds as lukewarm as my lunch. However, I don’t think it’s fair to judge it on the basis of ordering a salad box on a cold wet day in February. The place is quite new. Winter couldn’t be a great time to try to get a small eatery established. Their burritos may be awesome.

I can’t help feeling that Thomas Street needs a colourful place like this and I’m hoping it’ll be there for a while yet.

If anyone reading this has been to Belly Bites, please let me know what you think.





Mama’s Revenge is sweet

I love it when I walk out of an eatery satisfied. Today was one of those days.

I followed my own suggestion in my last posting and went to Mama’s Revenge (the link leads to their Facebook page), a small(ish) ‘burrito hut’ (that’s what it says outside) on South Leinster Street. To answer the obvious question, South Leinster Street is the continuation of Nassau Street, running from the junction with Kildare Street to Lincoln Place, opposite TCD’s railings.


Mama’s Revenge is on two levels: the ground floor comprises the kitchen, serving area and three two-place tables while downstairs there is a collection of different size tables in a sizeable room, seating about 25-30. It’s clean, bright and yellowy-orange.

Service at the counter is pleasant, efficient and helpful. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: being greeted with a smile and a reasonable level of attentiveness makes a big difference to the dining experience, at whatever level of expenditure. In saying this, I understand that servers are not paid huge amounts of money and that it’s not the easiest job in the world to be stuck on your feet all day, under significant amounts of pressure at certain times, trying to please people, some of whom are bound to be unpleasant/rude difficult. Still …

The menu options are laid out clearly on a board behind the serving area and there’s plenty of choice, even for a fiver.

Click to embiggen

Click to embiggen. Go back to return.

If you’re a student, there’s even more choice. They do ask you to show your student card, by the way, if you order one of the student offers.

I was there at about 1.30pm and there was a steady stream of customers, mostly ordering food to take away. I had a look downstairs when I was leaving and it was about a quarter full. Anna, from behind the counter, who I spoke to told me that it had been very busy between 11.30 and 12.30.

I ordered a chili con carne. A generous portion of chili con carne was spooned over a couple of spoonfuls of rice. Grated cheese and jalapeños were offered, both of which I accepted. I grabbed a spoon, paid over my fiver and found a seat by the window.


The rice was nicely cooked and firm. The chili was tasty, tomatoey, and meaty, with kidney beans and a moderate amount of chili heat. Extra heat was supplied by the jalapeños. The food was tasty and filling and, I felt, pretty good value for my fiver. My only criticism is that it wasn’t hot (temperature-wise). That doesn’t bother me much, to be honest. I’m not a fan of high temperature food but it would bother some people. I’m sure, however, that they would have heated it up a bit more had I asked.

Anna told me that Mama’s Revenge has been open in South Leinster Street for about a year and that, more recently, another branch had opened on Thomas Street, near the National College of Art and Design. It gets mad busy at lunchtime so, if you want a more leisurely Tex-Mex experience, Anna suggests that you come after 2pm.

It has a wall on which people have written things.


Apparently the wall in the Thomas Street branch is more arty, as one might expect.

I liked Mama’s Revenge. Good atmosphere, pleasant service, nice food and plenty of choice for your fiver. I’m going to try their other branch and I’ll return to this one too, maybe with a companion. I’d say it’s definitely worth a shot.



By the way, has almost doubled in value in the last three months. It’s now worth $22. Yay!




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