In lots of ways, I see my sisters as built-in best friends, extensions of myself, and practice runs for when I have daughters of my own. Trust me, we have the love-hate relationship between mother and daughter down pat. (I love them, they hate me.) Jokes aside, visiting my sister in Dublin is something I always look forward to because, if it isn’t already amply clear by now, we are a family that just loves to eat. This is but a small compilation of our fatventures thus far – A LOT more to come!
I am big on brunch and I don’t think you can visit Dublin without stopping by San Lorenzo for their Brunch of Champions. It’s really popular, so even if you do have a reservation, do go early because the place was already buzzing and there were people queuing out the door when we bounced up. The place is styled to look like a trendy New York eatery with high ceilings and large windows, and they were blasting the most fascinating medley of tunes like Cry Me A River, Come on Eileen, Dance Wiv Me (yes, I did just spell it with a ‘V’), Arctic Monkeys… It was full of young’uns, as proof that there ARE young people in Dublin. The staff were extremely friendly as well, so in general, it had a pretty great atmosphere.
One glance at the menu will tell you that this is really not the place for clean-eating folk. I mean, this is a brunch created for champions, see, so if you are one of those who goes out to brunch and eats granola (which we all know is my pet peeve Numero Uno), then a champion you clearly are not. I myself was rather torn because I wanted to eat just about everything on the menu. In the end I went with the crab cakes, which seemed to be a very popular item with the other diners.
One thing I will say about this place is that the portions are anything but itty bitty. Even the chicken bruschetta, which I saw the girl at the next table ordering, came in a very sizeable portion.
See, it actually took me an entire mini-series of photos just to show you everything in its full glory.
The crab cakes were hefty little things, plump and substantial, with a golden crust; well-seasoned and particularly good with a squirt of lemon. The home fries were very tasty as well, and the poached eggs with hollandaise, clumsy-looking as they were, were still wonderful in all their imperfection.
Now, this next dish is no longer on the menu but I still feel the need to tell you all about it because it was kind of awesome, and actually the whole reason I wanted to bring my sister here in the first place. Ladies and gents, I present to you the Duck Confit Hash.
I may have mentioned before how much my sister loves duck. She insists on going to Gold Mine (see post here) for Cantonese roast duck every time she’s in London, so this dish was right up her street, and oh my goodness was it delicious.
What stole the show was the hashed potatoes, because potatoes in duck fat are probably the best thing since before the internet, and these were no exception.
Even though you can no longer get this, I’ve just checked and they do have something similar in the form of a pulled pork belly hash, which I will definitely look into myself. After all, potatoes in pork fat are probably the best thing since before potatoes in duck fat.
The Brunch of Champions is available only on the weekend. The rest of the time they do an Italian menu, which looks rather delicious as well, but I can’t vouch for it personally as I haven’t tried it myself. I would highly recommend this place for a (very) hearty spot of brunch though!
South Great George’s Street, Dublin, Ireland
The Winding Stair
Another place that has become an institution in Dubz is The Winding Stair. It’s apparently named after the Yeats poem, and yes, it does have a winding staircase (duh). It’s quite a small space, rustic and cosy. I’d called up in advance to book a table so we got a window-seat with a pretty gorgeous view of the river Liffey and Ha’penny bridge.
Sorry for the weird spots but I took this through the window!
The menu is compact yet sufficiently diverse, and they are very keen to emphasise their use of locally sourced, sustainably farmed, high-quality ingredients. Obviously the menu has changed since our last visit but these photos are just to give you an idea of the sort of food you can expect here.
Don’t know about you but I’m a big fan of Irish soda bread.
We got hot smoked salmon.
A hearty celeriac soup.
For mains, a rib-eye steak topped with truffle butter.
And lamb shoulder steak with chickpea puree.
As well as roast duck breast with pak choi and mash.
THE WINDING STAIR
40 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1, Ireland
Lunch: 12pm-5pm, Dinner: 5:30pm-10:30pm
Brasserie le Pont
Housed in the pretty Fitzwilliam Hall, this French place was admittedly a little fancier than the other places we usually ate at, with plush, heavy furniture and thick, soft carpeting. Nevertheless, the staff were all extremely down-to-earth, charming and attentive, and the food is really quite reasonably priced, particularly if you come for lunch, where you can have 2 courses for €23. Maybe it’s because of the time we were here – weekday lunch, I believe – but it seemed to be popular with the well-heeled oldies and the suited and booted working crowd.
Again, the menu has changed since our last visit but you’ll notice that it’s a little bit more refined than what we were eating the rest of the time.
Yay bread! We were given a selection of white, walnut and raisin, and Guinness and walnut breads.
Now, I may have mentioned before that my sister loves foie gras almost as much as I do, and I do believe it was the whole reason we came here in the first place, as we both needed our dose of fatty liver.
This was perfectly done, meltingly tender and delicious with the crispy toasted brioche. They served it with wedges of sweet beetroot, crunchy salted almonds and, rather cruelly, thin slices of smoked duck.
Next up was one of the daily specials – grilled beef with couscous, yogurt and cucumber.
I normally have reservations about eating meat any way other than piping hot, but the room-temperature beef, soaked in the cool and creamy yogurt, was actually delightful. The baby spinach was tossed in a honey mustard vinaigrette, but the couscous was forgettable.
For mains, my sister ordered the duck confit (surprise surprise). It was good. Our only gripe was that it could have been fattier. The mash and the accompanying veg were tasty as well.
I ordered the pan-fried hake with clams and cassoulet.
This was very good. The fish was crisp-skinned, perfectly cooked and flakey. The creamy bean cassoulet actually tasted very much like the sauce that comes with my favourite crab raviolo at Medlar (see post here).
For dessert, we got the chocolate fondant, because – ok fine I’ll stop going through the whole charade of how it’s not my favourite dessert – that is Sister’s favourite dessert. (You’re probably learning a lot about my sister from this post.)
It comes with cherry compote, which I asked to be served on the side because I hate cherry anything, and we switched out the pistachio ice-cream for vanilla because Sister doesn’t do pistache. The fondant itself was alright but the vanilla ice-cream tasted disappointingly shop-bought.
Would I come back here again? Yes, I would. It’s not an everyday kind of dining experience, but it’s well worth trying out if you’re after something a little fancier.
BRASSERIE LE PONT
26 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2
Tuesday – Friday serving lunch from 12 noon – 2.30pm
Tuesday – Saturday serving dinner from 6pm
Closed Sunday & Monday
Or fancier than pub grub at least. Of which we had A LOT. In fact, we even have a favourite pub…
It’s listed as one of the best gastro pubs and won the All Ireland Pub of the Year in 2012. Inside it’s big but almost always packed, the waitresses are a friendly bunch, and the food is good, as far as pub food goes anyway.
I find that, wherever you go, it’s always great to have at least one pub with dependably good food in your arsenal of food places, and I’m glad my sister has this!
GLEESONS OF BOOTERSTOWN
44 Booterstown Ave
Blackrock, Co Dublin
Breakfast from 8am 6 days, 8.30am Sun
Food served til 9.30pm 6 days, 8.30pm Sun
Anyone who knows me know that I’m almost evangelistic about my at-least-once-a-week burger ritual. The Counter, which is an American chain, came highly recommended, so we decided to check it out one afternoon. Even though we came here at an odd time, it was still crowded, so we had to wait a while for a table.
We decided to get the buffalo wings because they seemed really popular with all the other diners, and with good reason, as they were some rather tasty wings.
I know €11.95 may seem like an exorbitant price to pay for chicken wings but trust me, I hadn’t seen a pile of chicken wings as large as this in a pretty long time. Definitely good for sharing between a few people.
You can build your own burger, and the options are pretty extensive so you can get any number of permutations and combinations you desire. I chose not to customise my burger this time, and instead, ordered their signature burger, figuring that, if it’s good enough for them to put their name on it, then it’s good enough for me.
And it certainly looked promising enough!
Unfortunately, I was really quite disappointed. It sounded quite perfect and indeed, the various components by themselves were good, particularly the crispy onion strings, which you can order as a starter or side. However, the patty itself was overcooked and tough, and given that I like my beef quite, quite rare, this was quite the let-down. Such a shame.
My sister got one of the specials, which was something like a breakfast burger, complete with fried egg and bacon.
Again, I think her burger patty was quite overdone, not to mention that fried egg! Nothing as disappointing as a rubbery sunny side-up ugh.
I think I was disappointed because I wanted so much to like the burgers, which had all the makings to be quite awesome but were just let down by poor execution. To their credit though, their starters and sides almost made up for it. Almost. Besides the wings and fried onion strings, the sweet potato fries were good as well.
If I come back in the future I will definitely be asking them not to overcook my burger, and I’ll definitely get the wings, fried onion strings and sweet potato fries to go with! I do also want to check out Bunsen, Bobo’s and Jo Burger though!
20 Suffolk Street Dublin
Dublin City Center 2
Mon to Thurs: 12-10PM
Fri and Sat: 12-11PM
But that’ll do it from us today! I hope you’ve enjoyed this post as much as I’ve enjoyed doing it for you! Sorry it’s been such a long time coming, and even then I’m still saving the rest – there’s a lot more goodness to come – hang tight for another post!