As mentioned on a previous post, my brother turned 30 before Christmas. For his present I decided that I would take him to Dublin for the weekend as neither of us had ever been to Ireland. Terrible I know. It’s so close and a quick hour and fifteen minutes from Gatwick. Which was quicker than me travelling from Bristol to London by train! Crazy!
We dumped our bags in our cute Airbnb flat I had found in the city for the weekend and scampered out in search of food. My brother introduced my a few years back to the joy of a well made burrito. Not typical Irish food but after a day of travelling, a burrito and beer sounded a grand idea. Using the brilliant tripadvisor app we hunted down Pablo Picanté for the award winning burritos in Dublin. A cute little place decorated with vibrant bottles of hot sauce and a grand map of the journey of the burrito, we tucked into an ‘El Classico- Marinated, roasted steak, black beans, fresh long-grain rice, grated cheese and freshly-made salsa in a flour tortilla.’ Juicy, tender steak with a kick and fresh zingy salsa that meant we had polished our burritos and beers we headed to the famous Temple Bar to have a couple of drinks, maybe a whiskey or two before heading to bed before a very fun packed next day.
With two slightly sore heads (nothing to do with the whiskeys we had the night before), we grabbed a quick coffee and muffin at KC Peaches before scampering to a 3 hour walking tour. Bro went for a juicy blueberry muffin stuffed with plump berries and I went for a raspberry jam muffin, with a great big pocket of jam in the middle. Running with our velvety rich coffees, we just made it in time to join the walking tour in the lashing rain! As our taxi driver said on the journey the first night, ‘ Wet outside then you get wet inside the pub!’ The tour was great and our tour was full of great stories and facts. I love a walking tour as means you can go places where the open top buses just can’t.
After the walking tour, it’s fair to say we were totally frozen to the bone and starving! My cousin had told us about this fried chicken place we needed to try out for sure when we were in Dublin. Fried Chicken?? After walking 3 hours in the rain, was exactly what we wanted! Crackbird , the sister restaurant of Jo’Burger was so warm and the menu was drool worthy. While we were deciding what to go for we ordered a side of the hand-rolled croquettes. Yum. Since my first trip to Spain, I’ve been in love with croquettes. Tasty balls of fried fun. This lived up to the croquettes of the past and then some. Warning – order more when eating with people with the same croquette views as me. They don’t last long!
Another side dish we order to go with the main event was the chipotle baked beans. Smokey, slightly meaty with a nice blend of beans. Again order more next time as it goes far to quickly!
There were so many tempting chicken treats on offer, but we settled for the classic Buttermilk chicken. We got half a bird between the two of us. Next time I fancy some of the soy fried wings by the dozen. The chicken was tender and juicy, whilst the coating had a good hit of paprika and fennel seeds. The fresh lemon juice over the top cut through the rich and made sure we had a spring in over step!
Waddling away we visited an iconic place in the whole of Ireland. The Guinness factory of course and it wouldn’t right if we didn’t sample a pint of the stuff at the top of the Gravity bar. We even went into the Tasting Room to learn how to drink it properly. Apparently you need to inhale, take a bit sip, shallow then exhale to get the true flavour from the hops and roasted barley. It did definitely taste of coffee and dark chocolate. Yum.
We got a small pint in the Tasting Room, this wasn’t a giant holding a Guinness!
After a pint of the delicious stuff we hot footed it to the restaurant I had booked for our evening meal. I had heard great reviews about The Winding Stair so knew I needed to try it out! We went for the pre-theatre menu as we wanted to head to some comedy afterwards.
I went for the extremely meaty ‘Pressed Wild Irish Game pheasant and game terrine, kohlrabi slaw, clementines and crispy shallots’. It was the biggest and most delicious terrine I had ever had. The bread actually didn’t get a look in! The fresh clementines with the meat, cut through the richness of the game which was a great addition to the salad. As well as the crispy shallots, adding crunch and sweetness to the perfectly dressed salad. I fell in love with the kohlrabi slaw, lighter than the normal white cabbage and less harsh, adding a softness to the overall dish.
Bro went for the ‘Terry Butterly’s smoked salmon with potato pancake, Goatsbridge Farm caviar and horseradish soured cream’ A beautifully balanced dish, with excitement coming from the little jewels of orange caviar and the almost buttery smoked salmon. With a crisp potato pancake carrying the flavours with the peppery watercress.
After my super meaty starter, I’m pleased I went for the veggie option as I don’t think I would of managed another meaty course. ‘Smoked Gubbeen and spring onion croquettes with cauliflower crumble and beetroot & apple relish’ As I mentioned earlier, I love croquettes, so to have two lots in one day is a dream come true. (Yes I need to dream bigger!) With the creamy smoke note from the cheese paired with the mellow spring onion was divine. The crumble had a rich creamy cauliflower base with a nutty crispy topping including pumpkin seeds. The ultra young watercress added a lovely light peppery note to the dish.
Bro went for double fish and picked the fabulous sounding ‘Doran’s plaice with roasted garlic mash, tender-stem broccoli, capers, anchovies and brown butter’ . I’m not a huge fish fan but I could of eaten all of this and then another plate. The fish was cooked perfectly, crisp without being dry and packing a punch from the capers and milky tender anchovy fillets. Also there was a good healthy dose of mashed potato and melted brown butter. Yums.
We were so stuffed for that amazing food that we sadly didn’t try out the desserts but that just means I can go back again soon to try out the wicked sounding Bread and butter pudding with whiskey sauce. The staff was super friendly and you have to pop into the book shop downstairs and tuck in a cosy chair to get lost in another world.
On our last day (again with slightly sore heads, again not due to the whiskeys from the night before) we popped into the beautiful Fallon and Byrne food hall. I could of easily lost a lot of control in here with all the tempting treats on offer. I was very good and rationed myself to very light things I could get back in my suitcase and some nice bits for my Foodie Penpal. There was everything a foodie could ever want to create their masterpieces in the kitchen. Even prickly pears and fresh edible flowers. I treat bro and myself to a blood orange each to have on the bus back to the airport that evening, covering ourselves in ruby juice.
We spent the remaining day wondering around previously undiscovered areas for us and visiting a lot of museums. We even saw bog men! As in men preserved from the prehistoric time perfectly as they were in the bogs. Mind blowing.
We needed fuel to take in all the facts and ended up in KC Peaches again but the bigger restaurant near St Stevens Gate. It’s a really nice set up of delicious big salads packed full of seasonal goodness, rich pasta dishes and bubbling cauldrons of soups, which we tucked into a steaming bowl of mushroom soup. It was exactly what I fancied to warm me up. Dunking in thick slabs of granary bread, a simple pleasure.
Bro went for a raspberry crumble slice for afters, where as I went for a taste little morsel in the form of a Passionfruit and Coconut Cake. Wow, the passionfruit was sharp and tangy with the tropical coconut was a thing of beauty. I ate every last flake of dessicated coconut. Then it was back to more museums and Giant Irish Deer Skeletons.
I might of met some people while waiting for my plane. A special photo for my housemates!
I had a wonderful time in Dublin and can’t wait to go back again to explore more of Ireland. But to be frank I could of been anywhere and still have a fantastic time with my amazing brother. I’m incredibly lucky to have him as one of my close friends and send the whole time laughing together, mainly over our lacking skill of co-ordination and map reading skills. Can’t wait to go away with him again soon. x
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