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! :) 

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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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Friday, August 3, 2012

Review of Kinara Kitchen

Kinara Kitchen was a restaurant we had heard about and were eager to try, so when we were offered a Complimentary Lunch Voucher for their Ranelagh eatery, we jumped at the chance to try out some of their Eastern and Pakistani cuisine.

When we arrived around 3pm on a sunny Saturday afternoon we were greeted warmly by the team of staff and offered both the lunch menu and the a la carte to choose from.  We stuck to the lunch menu, which, although not extensive, had some interesting dishes such as nan wraps and traditional Thali lunch.
The décor was fresh and modern; one particular touch we liked were the belts and buckles on the seat backs – it’s original touches like that which make one restaurant stand out and be remembered by customers.

After ordering, we were served delicious poppadums and a selection of garnishes – mango chutney, tamarind sauce, and diced onions – which perfectly complimented the poppadums and left us wanting more! Also noteworthy is the mint-infused water, which was highly refreshing; again, it’s the little things which make a meal POP.


Wanting to be authentic, I ordered the traditional Thali lunch, which consisted of a main dish, side dish, pilau rice and mini nan.  The main dish I chose was Makanwala Murghi: A breast of barbecued chicken, mellowed in a creamy sundried tomato sauce.  This was delicious: I could really taste the smokiness of the barbecued chicken, while the sauce reminded me of an old favourite, tikka masala! There was lots of meat, and it was very good quality. 

The side dish was potato cubes in a chunky sauce, which was almost sweet at times.  This was very tasty, the perfect complement to the smooth creamy tomato based sauce on the chicken.  Rice and nan were both delish; my only complaint is that there could have been slightly more of both, but that’s just me being greedy because they were sooooooooo good! What really surprised and interested me about the meal was its presentation: the main dish, side dish, and carbs were all laid out separately to each other in little compartments on the same plate – really cool!-photo above :)

Matt ordered the Keema Mathi (signature dish) Nan wrap which are "freshly made nan wraps from our tandoor over) he had it served with skinny fries and they were really skinny! like little knives, little tasty knives... the wrap itself was amazing, imagine a really Herby/tasty kebab from Zaytoon but with much more taste sensations and wrapped with love as opposed to fired onto the plate. He was tasting; "coriander, lamb, parsley, spice, and about 5 other unknowns all of which were yum".


We thought, ah sure, why not!? I ordered the Mississippi Mud Pie, a divine chocolate pudding served with cream, ice-cream and crème anglais (because one cream based accompaniment just isn’t enough.).  Oh Sweet Jesus, it was sublime.  Just the right size, the chocolate was perfectly gooey and melty and spongy…I could go on and on.  Nothing short of sweet heaven.

All in all the place is lovely, the staff are great and the food is fantastic. Go.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Review of Taste of Everest, Baggot St.

Review of Taste of Everest, Baggot Street

My performance in the last review must have been up to Matt’s high standards, because I was rewarded with another ‘man-date’ even though his partner in crime, Ev, was home from London! Given an inch take a mile and all that jazz, so I’ll take what I can get!

Met up with Matt after work and went for a quick pint before heading to the Taste of Everest, a Nepalese/Indian Restaurant for a bit of grub. Once again this meal was purchased via a deals website and I would really start to recommend them; you get a good meal (usually min. 2 courses) and a few extras for two people for €30- €40. This meal voucher entitled us to any two starters and two mains for €30, which was very reasonable!

When we arrived we were met by a friendly host who quickly sat us at what seemed like the VIP table, tucked away nicely by itself by the front window. In fairness it may have been an advertising stunt to make it appear the restaurant was busy, but we were happy all the same. We were promptly brought a generous portion of Poppadum’s with three sides of Mango Chutney, Chilli Peppers and a creamy refreshing raita.
Getting something for free is always a nice touch but this really was delicious with the three flavours blending very well. Just want to highlight a the different eating habits; I preferred to try the sides one or maybe two at a time (neat freak maybe?) whereas Matt went with the gung-ho approach of mashed poppadums’ with everything on top. But hey, it gets down the same way.

The menu had plenty of choices and we kind of struggled to decide on our starters so we went with a sharing platter, which proved to be an excellent choice. The sharing platter consisted of Lamb Sheesh Kebab, Indian Style Chicken Wings and Vegetable Baji. There was plenty to go around between the two of us and they all tasted in great, my fave being the vegetable baji surprisingly, considered I love my meat! At this point we decided to go for the now customary bottle of vino (sure why not!) with Matt using his connoisseur skills to pick a 2010 Pinot Grigio. I was pleasantly surprised by the wine and really enjoyed it, evidenced by the quickly draining glasses!

The main courses duely arrived, with Matt ordering the Butter Chicken and myself the Himalayan Chicken both with Pilau Rice and a Peshwari Naan bread. I ordered my Himalayan chicken on the recommendation of the waiter, as I was looking for a tikka masala with a bit of kick in it (oooh yeah) and I really was not  disappointed. Lovely taste with a bit of kick to it, just what the doctor ordered. Matt went for the oul reliable Butter Chicken which was very creamy and tasty just how it is meant to be. The only thing I might say about the food is that the portions were not huge, they were not small but I would have liked a bit more chicken or substance.

As always a quick work on the host/waiter! He was a lovely chap, awwh, but I’d definitely say a bit over eager. He was a big fan of the 5 minute check in, which is not a bad thing at times, but we there were times when we could have been left alone, taking 15 mins or so chatting after the meal while finishing our wine for example!

Overall, I had another good night out with one of my good mates which is always great and had a nice meal in the process. I thought the food was good and the variety and choice was excellent. Once again you get what you pay for I think, and the €30 price tag on the deal voucher was about right, I am not sure if I would have paid more for it. Being fair though the food was good, the service was good and the price was good, so if the option of purchasing a voucher for the Taste of Everest came up again, I would recommend it.

As a last thought though, could the same night have been achieved with a good Indian takeaway and a trip to the off licence…. I am not sure, that’s for you to decide….

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Review of Cafe Carlo, O'Connell Street

The following review has be composed entirely by Brian who was good enough to accompany me for a first adventure into the world of City Deals FOOD. I have to say, one of the best sites for all that jazz is it aggregates all the deals into one email.

Back to Brian....

In the absence of his better half, Matt allowed me the pleasure of a man-date with his excellency (still think I was invited to provide the lift) which I was more than happy to accept. Café Carlo is somewhere I had come across on a few occasions before, mostly offering a similar deal to ours on other deals websites. Yes, I do occasionally read one of those hundred emails we all receive a day!
I wasn’t quite sure on what to expect, €30 for 2 fillet steaks, fries dips and a bottle of wine seems like a steal.. but all in all I was quite pleasantly surprised. We found parking on the quays very handily and set off in search of Café Carlo armed with an iPhone. The signage in fairness could be better but we found it pretty easily and were greeted by a very friendly waiter. A quick look around confirmed that the restaurants online deals strategy was indeed working as the place was full of couples (no doubt manned with their Pigsback voucher stuffed into the wallet!). There was a bit of a delay as Matt had cleverly printed the wrong voucher, but all was solved with a quick visit to the reception of the adjoining ‘hotel’. I call it a ‘hotel’…. Well you can see for yourselves!!

We decided that although the voucher was for mains and a bit of vino, we would indulge and give the place a good once over… We looked at the menu and as typical MEN we both ordered the spicy wings and bleu cheese dip. The wings came fairly snappy and they looked tasty, although to be fair, for €6.95 I would have preferred a few more (6 pieces). You normally get what you expect with wings and these were no different; tasty, spicy and messy on the fingers. All around, a good start to the meal.

Quick word about the waiter. Very helpful and friendly and immediately swapped our bottle of red (as per the voucher) for a bottle of white upon a somewhat cheeky request. The wine was pretty sharp but honestly, wine all leads the same way so we were happy enough!

I was really looking forward to the ‘lava stone’ steak experience as it was something I had never tried before. Seems a bit odd that you pay somebody for steak and then cook it yourself, but it was definitely an enjoyable experience. The steak was very generous but in my opinion was more sirloin than fillet, and lacked that fluffy fillet texture that you expect. Maybe I am being harsh but as a first review I wanna do it right ;) Was very tasty and enjoyable however and I thought the sides of pepper sauce and garlic butter complimented it very well. The home cut fries were also delicious and I’m a big fan of fries with pepper sauce so I really was happy out!

No meal really is complete without taking a ‘look’ at the desert menu and myself and Matty were most definitely going to oblige! Matty straight away decided he was going to have a Toblerone cheesecake and I went for the ould reliable of chocolate fudge cake and vanilla ice cream. The deserts were definitely pre bought but they were good, sweet and hit the spot as one may say.

I think Café Carlo served us well, we left satisfied, full and more importantly with a few coffers in the pocket. I think the meal was good, but slightly lacking a bit of atmosphere but I had a good time over good food with a good friend. Cant really ask for much more than that.

I do think however that the €55 we paid for the meal (€30 voucher and €25 extras) was enough and about the right price, I wouldn’t be paying the total menu price for what we got of nearly €95. Lesson of the day; check those deals emails the odd time.. you can definitely pick up a good meal for a reasonable price!

Big thanks to Brian for his editorial debut on madforthegrub  as always, Twitter and Facebook are there for updates and comments. 

Have a good one!