Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Review of Dillingers, Ranelagh

Review of Dillinger's, Ranelagh

On a rainy Tuesday evening – what better way to round of the evening than a sneaky dinner out in Ranelagh. Ev and I said that we’d get the LUAS as we fancied some booze! We meandered past Pinocchio's, Kinara Kitchen, TapHouse and came across Dillinger's. Reading the menu outside we saw ‘Super Nacho Tuesday’ was on and knew we had found our newest haunt.

We were greeted upon entry and sat down at a rickety table that was soon steadied by the helpful waitress with the help of some corks. For those of you not familiar, Dillinger's is a kind of cool, modern bar that serves food and yum cocktails.  A place with a very trendy vibe, and considerably busier than we expected on a November weekday evening.

Supernachos – a huge sharing main course of nachos topped with mince, guacamole, salsa, cheese, jalapenos and sour cream – is the special on Tuesday at €10, so we naturally chose these to split as a main, along with individual starters – gnocchi for Matt and pork belly for me.  We rounded our dinner off with a cocktail each – whisky sour for Matt and a classic margarita for myself.

Drinks (€10): The cocktails were well-made and nicely presented – it was clear they had lashings of alcohol, always a bonus.  My margarita came with loads of salt around the glass (a good thing, for the girl who loves salt) and Matt’s blend of wild turkey bourbon, lemon, orange, sugar and bitters was tangy and refreshing.


On to the starters (€7-10): My spicy pork belly was glazed in ginger and soy molasses and served with a mint salad and crushed peanuts.  It was a nice portion size – not too big, considering we knew the Mexican feast which was to follow – and the flavours really blended well together.  I especially liked the accompanying salad which was crisp and fresh.

Matt had the sautéed potato gnocchi, artichoke heart with parmesan cream, spinach and truffle.  It was covered in a foam emulsion which while appealing and ticking the ‘fancy-food’ box disguised the neat presentation of ingredients underneath. Taste wise, delicious. Gnocchi (never know how to pronounce this correctly – assuming ‘knocky’) was tender but not soggy or glupey, Parmesan and spinach flavors were not overpowering but ever present.. overall great dish that I didn’t want to share. ( - he really didn't. Ev)

Nachos: Normally with nachos, the first ½ is brilliant as you’ve plenty of toppings but then you run out and it’s like eating original flavour Pringles…not the case here – plenty of cheese, sour cream, guacamole or guac as I've heard it referred to as. We had originally ordered sides but the waitress advised against it due to the size of the main dish, we took her advice and were glad.

Overall: Very happy with the experience – a sharing mains for €10 in Ranelagh – how could you go wrong and who doesn't eat nachos? Cocktails were made with love and had none of this premixed bullshit. Nice staff. 

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Review of Ouzos, Dalkey

As part of our anniversary weekend away, now re-branded as a romantic –mini-break (Twenty twelve fans…) we decided to start as we meant to continue. Ev had finished work in Killiney so we headed down to Dalkey village on Sunday afternoon. Matt had timed parking in the church car park perfectly to coincide with a communion/mass exodus. After 10 minutes of waiting ‘patiently’ in the car for the OAPs to get their dinted Jaguars out of the spots (Dalkey) we parked up and began our stroll.

We came across Ouzo’s on the main street. We had been advised to check them out previously in Blackrock but hadn’t had a chance.

2 Course lunch for €18 seemed agreeable and the environs were lovely.

We were greeted at the door and shown to our own booth- which is great because I hate those dinky 2-seater tables that mean you get ass-bumped by the waitress every 5 minutes. Live lobster cages on the way in – for some reason always gives me a good feeling about ordering seafood.

Ev ordered:


Chicken Liver & Brandy Parfait
“Our rich and smooth parfait served with a red onion, apricot & pecan compote”

Fun Food fact: The difference between Pate and Parfait, Parfait is sieved pate which makes is smooth (parfait is French for perfect… don’t ya know!)

Comments: Very tasty and smooth parfait with crisp delicate melba toast. Tangy flavoursome relish (compote) topped it off. What was nice about it was the individual portion of parfait served in its own bowl. I like it like this (same with lasagne... none of this ‘cut it from the bigger one’)


Chicken Ballotine

"Breast of chicken stuffed with spinach and goat’s cheese, served on mixed vegetables and potato rosti in a tarragon cream sauce"

Comments: Overall lovely. The cabbage/lettuce throughout was quite stringy and didn’t quite lend to the dish: would’ve preferred pureed carrots (think Roly’s)

Matt ordered:

Potted Crab & Shrimp

“Fresh Irish Crab meat with Boston shrimp in a creamy dill and mussel sauce topped with a Parmesan crumb”

Comments: very tasy, well presented. The Crumb had a crunch and was Parmesan-y and the crab was light and fresh. Lemon squeezed on top was all it needed.

Ouzos Fish“n”Chips.
“Fresh Haddock coated with a light tasty tempura batter seasoned with a hint of chili and fresh parsley and deep-fried. Served with sweet pea puree and Ouzos homemade fries”

Comments: Delish. Batter was spot on, really crisp and not gluey on the inside and you didn’t have to go looking for the fish inside it either. Mushy pea puree was very good (almost luminous green) although I think I prefer the texture of the mushy peas rather than a puree form… anyway the tartar sauce was very good and zingy and it all went down a treat.

Nice addition: waitress asked whether I wanted skinny or fat chips. Great to have the choice, but I like them big. (chips J)

Overall: Service was exceptional. Can’t fault the ladies who attended to us, we also got a ½ litre carafe of Sauvigon blanc for €15 which made the lunch even nicer. #boozylunch

Forgot to mention the breads that we were served were delicious (homemade brown x2 and cheesy doughy ones x2). Ev as you may have gathered from previous posts loves her carbs J

Appreciate that it was an expensive lunch 2 x €18 (food) + €15 for vino, but for the weekend that was in it, well worth it.

As always - happy to get feedback and mail us with any recommendations of places to review!

The Early Birds.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Review of Aprile Ristorante, Stillorgan

Probably one of the best value eateries around, Aprile is situated above the chipper of the same name in Stillorgan village, where I spent perhaps too much time during my college years.. however don't let this put you off going!

Aprile has a superb early bird menu all week with Monday-Thursday offering 2 courses and a generous glass of vino or bottle of beer for €15.90! You also usually get a complimentary shot of limoncello as a digestif (always good!)

The menu is extensive, the staff are friendly and attentive and the food is great. We've eaten there probably 5-6 times in as many months and haven't had a bad experience. The place is always packed out too!

Recommendations & Descriptions below;

Matt's picks: Calamari Fritti & Penne Mare e Monti

Ev's picks: Bruschetta Al Pomodoro & Rigatoni All'Amatriciana

Penne Mare e Monti
Penne pasta with strips of beef, succulent prawns and rich tomato sauce, finished with cream and basil pesto.

Rigatoni All'Amatriciana

Another well known traditional Italian pasta dish with our tasty Napoletana sauce, Italian pancetta, shallots and cherry tomatoes.

Food is excellent and flavorsome, portions are generous and it's great value.

Can't go wrong folks!

If you've any comments, queries or suggestions where we should go, let us know!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Review of Tribeca, Ranelagh

TRIBECA, Ranelagh – Like Honestly?

Fetch the Mont Blanc, I feel a letter to the Times coming on!

Readers of Ross O’Carroll Kelly will hopefully appreciate the reference and hence the urgent need to inform the public of the sham that is Tribeca.

Tribeca is an institution in SoCoDu, nestled in lovely Ranelagh, easily accessible via the nice LUAS and has 24hr pay & display on street parking available.

We walked in (without a reservation- as it’s Wednesday night) to a fully-booked ground floor dining room. The waitress/Maitre'd with clipboard in hand escorted us upstairs to the bar/dining area B where there were several tables neatly arranged with nice lighting and comfortable seats.

The problem with Tribeca is simple, the food is bad and cheap. Cheap in terms of quality-where the ingredients are sub-prime. This is the type of place that will give you re-constituted chicken and pasta and charge you €16 for the privilege.


The wings are good, firstly because you get a large portion and secondly because they’re wings and everyone loves wings. At €12.95 you are entitled to a good sized portion and we split it between 2! The hot sauce was nice and the blue cheese dip was good- neither were overpowering. The wings were on the small side, there was lots of them but they are not very meaty and you spend most of your time nibbling the bits of the end of the bones.

After we finished the wings we bathed our fingers in the lemon-water cleanser and then dried our hands in the napkins provided. Point of note, the napkins came apart when you dry your hands which compounds the belief that the place is cheap. You can get a large 650g box of wings in Tesco for €2.50, so don’t tell me they’re not.

Matt ordered the Rigatoni with Slow Braised Lamb, Tomato and Wild Mushroom Ragu & Parmesan Cheese. On the face of it I was excited. Not too often have I had lamb with pasta and combined with the ragu and pine nuts spelled winner in my book.

Thoughts: Lamb looked like Tuna Flakes (that is the cheap tuna, below tuna chunks). It was really bitty and stringy and could have come from anything. I expected pieces of Lamb not a minced-paste of the dregs.

Ev ordered from the “Specials Menu” which detailed her dish as “smoked chicken with cherry tomatoes, chilli, extra virgin olive-and-garlic-oil, baby spinach and mushrooms with a Parmesan crust.

Thoughts: Not enough Pasta, Chicken came from a packet (as in the sambo-ready M&S pack) tomatoes were not ripe, Parmesan crust was only breadcrumbs and the balance of ingredients/quantity did not justify the €16 price tag.

We finished quickly, got the bill (below) and left, slightly shell-shocked at what was Tribeca. As we walked back to the car we past a host of other eateries such as the Butchers Grill, Cinnamon and Eatery 120. The latter having a 2-courses for €22 menu- which in hindsight would have been a better choice.

Other Recommendations

Main courses at MAO in Dundrum are of a similar price and better quality.
Mario’s in Ranelagh does good grub too!
JD’s Steakhouse in Terenure- A true Dublin gem.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Review of Busaba Eathai Thai Restaurant (London)

Busaba Eathai

busaba, thai, london,

Continuing on with the London theme as I'm sure some of our readers have now emigrated! Apparently Busaba is a chain of Thai restaurants that I suppose us plebs would typically compare to MAO or Wagamama

Myself and Ev were walking down Oxford Street doing a bit of shopping when the expected pangs of hunger started.. Having experience of Wardour street where we had eaten previously at Wahaca, we thought it would be a good place to start! A few mins walking and eyeing up the competition, we settled on an unknown symbol which was busy and had cool communal seating.

We were greeted by some uber cool guy with slick back long hair who signalled for one of the lesser waiters to bring us to our table. We were sat around a corner of one of the tables so Ev was to my right.

As we were famished (as normal) we ordered quickly. I went for Chicken Satay in peanut sauce £4.95 to start followed by the  Pad Kweito (sen yai noodle, smoked chicken, prawn and holy basil) for £8.30. Ev ordered the Spring rolls, because it’s Ev and she always orders spring rolls… (unless there is only veg ones) and the Fried Chicken (classy bird) with Lemongrass, chilli sauce, shallot and daikon- now you know!for £7.70 accompanied with Jasmine Rice (£2.20). 

We also took the initiative to order 4 glasses of fresh Thames tap water as we were informed the food was very spicy. Bring it on I say! After about 15 minutes we were delivered all of our food at the same time which was good because we didn't scoff down the starters straight away.

Busaba, Thai, eat thai, wardour, london,

The Chicken Satay was very good, the chicken was real and plentiful. Low point I thought that the peanut sauce wasn't very runny or viscous (if you prefer) so you had to mash the chicken into the bowl to get it out #firstworldproblems

The pad Kweito was very good, the noodles were sweet. Areas for improvement would be around number of large prawns and chicken. There was a lot of veg.

The spring rolls were nice, crisp batter to which was also dunked in my peanut sauce! And the fried chicken was really flavorsome  When you really bit into the batter you tasted the chili and lemongrass and they gave you LOADS of rice (Ev is happy)

All in all a very good experience and would recommend the place to people. The service around water top-ups could have been better and I don’t like when places charge separately for rice. A few more prawns and we would have been smitten!

Not too bad value either, we tipped in cash! :) 

As always- we welcome any comments- what you like, don't like and you can follow us on Twitter

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Review of Wahaca (London)


Wahaca is a very hip and trendy spot in Canary Wharf and Wardour Street (Just off Oxford St) that serves good Mexican food. There is also a cool tequila bar downstairs that serves your ‘ Mexican’ beers like Corona with the mandatory wedge of lime (that doesn't quite fit in the bottle or falls in...for me anyway)

Myself, Ev, Michael and Sarah went to Wahaca on 80 Wardour Street in mid September. We had no booking so were told it would be 35-45 min wait, but that we could wait at the bar. As we had no other plans, a drink in the bar seemed like a great idea! After 4 bottles of Corona and 2 glasses of wine are little electric buzzer started flashing- meaning they were ready for us!

We were seated in the back of the restaurant near the chefs and presented with the menu.
Myself and Ev who were both rather ravenous at this point ordered the Wahaca Selection which is for 2 people to share for £19.95 and contains the following:
  • ·        3 pork pibil tacos
  • ·         1 large broad bean quesadilla
  • ·         3 chicken tinga tacos
  • ·         2 black bean tostadas
  • ·         2 new potato taquitos
  • ·         Wahaca slaw

The food was served as it was made which was great although you kind of get caught up in the plates after plates that sometimes you lose track of what you’re eating.. maybe we newbies are just too not with-it?!

Regardless the food was delicious, good and spicy and fresh! Sarah (V) ordered the Sonora Salad which is served is a crisp tortilla bowl and just looks deadly!... sorry we don’t have a pic.. too hungry!

Mike ordered some stuff which I think included the black bean tostadas and a few other bits.

All in all a great night, place was hopping! Service was good and it’s not overly expensive- Myself and Ev (good feeders) were very satisfied for £20! Think we had a bottle of wine and a few more beers too, definitely recommend it.

P.S. throughout the bar there are huge glass bowls, filled with what I thought to be match boxes- instead they are chilli seeds! I thought that this was cool...

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Review of MAO, Dundrum

Review of Mao (Dundrum)

Matt and Ev using those new socially acceptable deal vouchers for food/cocktails!

One of my favourite things about being with the network O2 is Priority Moments, their offers and deals for customers.  On seeing there was a Mao 2 for 1 voucher available from O2 Matt and I wasted no time in heading for the branch in Dundrum to redeem it and bag ourselves some cheap and cheerful grub.

Our outing took place on one of the few sunny evenings Dublin experienced in July, so we decided to take a table outdoors to enjoy the fine weather.  The sun also influenced us to order two €5 cocktails (Cosmo for me, Long Island Iced Tea for Matt) which hit the spot nicely!

As it was a budget evening, we just ordered main courses.  It should be noted that these were delivered remarkably quickly, within five minutes I would say, but still managed to look well-presented and freshly cooked upon arrival at our table.  Matt ordered Nasi Goreng, a fried rice dish served with skewers of marinated chicken and super spicy chilli jam.  Oh, and a fried egg on top!  Matt devoured it all except the chilli jam, which he used very sparingly to add to his meal.  He said it didn’t need the extra flavour though.  It was a tasty, wholesome meal, but could have done with a bit more chicken, perhaps.

I ordered Thai Chicken with Cashews.  The dish came laden with chicken and a whole medly of stir fry veg including chilli, spring onion, red and green peppers.  The sauce was Thai and sweet soya (according to the menu) and was the perfect mix of sweet, spicy and salty.  The accompanying rice was cooked to perfection, and the meal was really filling.  Delish!

Our trip to Mao was great; the service was prompt and friendly, the food was tasty and the price was right.  Even without our vouchers both dishes would have been under €15 so this place doesn’t break the bank.  With the vouchers it was a steal and the total came to less than €30, including a generous tip!

Apologies for the lack of food photos- we were starving!

As always, comments, recommendations are always welcome!

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