Tag Archives: beer

Wahaca, Covent Garden

13 May
Guacamole and chips.

Guacamole and chips.

I found myself in London recently. One recommendation that came through on twitter and from friends over and over was Wahaca. So I made sure I tried it for dinner one of the night’s on my trip. I met with a friend from college, who had never eaten with a food blogger before. She did very well, and waited for photos of the food to be taken before going near anything.

We arrived not long after 6, and there was already a wait for tables. We used this time to grab a refreshing beverage- and soon our buzzer was going telling us that the table was ready. We ordered some guacamole and chips while we perused the menu. The guacamole was very pleasant. It had some coriander and wasn’t too heavy-handed on the red onion. Very tasty.

Pork pibil

Pork pibil

I left most of the ordering in my friend’s hands, having been before but my influence did extend to the pork pibil, which was first to arrive. Tender marinated pork, served on soft tortillas, garnished with some pickled onions. It was very tasty but perhaps it lacked a little punch. This may have been due to the heat coming from my beer– which owing to a slight mix up in ordering, was served with chilli and all sorts of other stuff. Interesting and quite spicy.

There was a herring tostada which was sour and a little bit smokey. Delicious. We went for both the taquitos on the menu, the winner here was the sweet potato and feta one. A triumphant combination of sweet and salty. There was also a very flavoursome mushroom quesadilla, which had an earthy taste.

All of this was rounded off with a split order of churros, doused in cinnamon and sugar. Tip (from my mate): order a side of dulce de leche with the chocolate it comes with. Pretty tasty combo. Service throughout was helpful (for us first timers), not rushed and very friendly. In short, the food’s very good, it’s great value and it is a fun place for some casual dining and a few drinks. I just hope they don’t over-extend as they are expanding at quite a rate.

Wahaca, Covent Garden.

66 Chandos Place.

Phone: +44 (0) 207 240 1883 (but they don’t take bookings.)

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A day of wandering in Bruges

25 Nov

Bruges. Canals.

I recently travelled to see my accomplice in dining in Brussels, and while he was in work one day I decided that I would take the train to Bruges.

As I whizzed through the (not so) scenic Belgian countryside on the train, quotes from “In Bruges” whirling around my not so PC brain, I looked forward to visiting a spot that has been on my radar since I saw the film. Bruges looked like the kind of place I would like. Getting from the train station to the center of the city is painless. €1.20 for a single journey and there are a number of routes that will get you to the town center. Easy. The bus I was on, dropped me right in the main square.

I then went wandering, I wanted to avoid the touristy restaurants on the main square that seem to charge the same exorbitant prices for what I would imagine is pretty ordinary fare. I happened to wander down a side street and I stumbled upon an absolutely wonderful coffee shop Li O Lait. Free wifi, delicious cappuccino and a little plate of (free) biscuits to accompany it- All in the surrounds of a very cosy coffee shop.

I then toddled around some more, saw the canals, climbed the tower that forms the basis for this little diplomatic incident in the film. He was right. It is narrow. Very narrow.

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Traditional Flemish toilet

Unfortunately I seemed to be a week or two early for the Christmas market in Bruges (and in Brussels), they were only setting it up. I am assured the town gets even prettier closer to Christmas, when it gets the snow globe treatment.

I stopped into Patisserie Prestige for a mid afternoon jolt of caffeine. It was like eating in your granny’s front room (with your granny’s friends). I think in all honesty they were all a little bemused why this bearded youngfella wanted to eat a raspberry tart amongst them all.

All of it please.

Bruges is filled with an assortment of very nice cooking shops, good food shops, many chocolatiers and beer shops- so it is very possible for someone so inclined to while away a few hours perusing the shops and indeed to lighten your wallet.

I would love to go back again, it would have been ideal to spend a night there, but my timetable did not permit such. Before I knew it, after a very relaxing day, I was back on the train whizzing towards Brussels.

Mandarin House, Parnell Street

27 Aug

After my first foray into the Chinese restaurants on Parnell Street- I was eager to sample another. A great blog for all things food-related in Dublin is Stitch and Bear. I have dined out on foot of a few recommendations from Joanne’s site and the Mandarin House became my next target.

I ventured in with Shane- my partner in crime from my London and Brussels posts. He was back in Dublin for a brief stint and is always willing to try something different.

After being seated we examined the menus- and similarly to my recent experience in The Sichaun House we found a much more adventurous menu than you would associate with ‘Chinese food’ in Ireland. Shane having eaten already ordered two starters, spring rolls and some meat dumplings.

More roll than spring.

The spring rolls came out piping hot and on a bed of shredded lettuce. They were served with a chilli dipping sauce, thankfully a more refined version of the sticky gloop found everywhere. They were tasty, but unremarkable. A spring roll is a spring roll.

I had ordered a chicken dish for mains. After some goading by earlymodernjohn in the comments section of the China Sichuan post- I wanted to try something with some oomph. So I went for a dish that had ‘spicy’, ‘chicken’ and ‘heaven’ in the title. I cannot remember exactly in what order these words came.

Chicken that is both spicy and heavenly…

Out came a big bowl of chicken pieces in a murky brown broth. This was an ugly duckling dish. What it lacked in initial beauty it made up for in taste. There was great punch to the dish. It was hot, but had a great depth of flavour. There were dried chillis, peppercorns and what seemed to be clove powder throughout the dish.  It was a triumph. There was a wonderful assortment of  bean-sprouts  and noodles of various sorts lurking underneath. The staff were very friendly and answered my queries about what lurked beneath with interest and a smile.

Shane’s dumplings then arrived. They were tasty, and again the meat inside was spiced very nicely. Neither of us were mad about the texture of the filling- a little over processed perhaps- but they were all eaten all the same!

With a beer and a coke the bill finished up just over €25. While the Mandarin House is not the cheapest place on Parnell Street- the value is there. Firstly the portions are generous- my main could have filled two people easily. Secondly the quality of the food on offer here is very strong. It takes some good cooking to have dishes with such depth of flavour. Certainly a restaurant to try.

Sichuan House Chinese Restaurant, Parnell Street

15 Aug

Parnell street has transformed itself from what most Dubliners knew it as. When I first frequented it on a regular basis back in the early noughties, it was a bleak, desolate place. It now bustles as Dublin’s unofficial Chinatown. The vast majority of Chinese food dished up in this country is bland and non-descript. It is largely the same no matter where you go. Not so on Parnell Street I was told. Here you see the Asian community eating authentic Asian food. So recently I dragged a friend along to try The Sichuan House Chinese Restaurant (to give it its full title) a try.

 

I was comforted on entering to see not one single waving feline, nor was there fake bamboo or  a fish tank to be seen. Equally we were certainly in the minority as Irish- a good sign. The surrounding s are basic.  But I like that. We perused the menu and skipped over some of the intestinal and more unusual parts of beast on offer. We both went for the chicken satay to start. I spent two years of my life in Indonesia when I was younger- and they know how to do satay- Thankfully they did here also. The sauce was nutty, sweet and just a little spicy. Everything it should be. It was served on a bed of crispy shredded lettuce.

Shredded Pork

For mains I opted for fried shredded pork in a hot and spicy sauce. It was huge. It could have fed us both. It was a tasty dish. The pork was cut a little fine for my liking making for a slightly strange texture, but the sauce was vibrant and there was plenty of veg to liven the dish up. Mark’s Kung Pao Chicken lacked a little punch but was happily eaten all the same. The rice served with both was perfect and could easily be eaten with chopsticks.

The bill came out at just over €40. Which included a beer (€3 ish) and a few Cokes (€1.50). Overall it was nice. It was a hell of a lot better than most ‘Chinese food’ we know of. However it lacked the wow factor. There were dishes paraded by throughout the evening that definitely were not on the menu we were given and they looked delicious- so it could be a place to point and order.

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