A ‘Nothin’ but Food’ Weekend

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What a weekend of gastronomical proportions! If you like looking at pictures of loads of food, beer and cocktails, then YOU my friend, will be most satisfied. If you’re currently experiencing pangs of hunger or have cibophobia (sadly and remarkably, an actual thing) then look AWAY! Or peep through your fingers. I always do that when I’m told not to look at something. The feeling of curiosity is far too strong.

For those still with me, welcome to a picture heavy account of my weekend, where I’m going to cheat a little. My weekend, for the sake of this post, started on Thursday. Which these days really isn’t that inaccurate for a lot of people – if you look at bars and restaurants on a Thursday evening, they’re always bustling. Thursday is the new Friday!

Prepare to want to lick the screen on some occasions. You can if you like, if you’re alone. No one can judge you!

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On Thursday (the new Friday *wink wink* look at us, with our finger on the pulse!) I met my dear sister at TGI Friday’s on Stephen’s Green for a few pre-dinner cocktails. There cocktails are a great pre-dinner choice – you can’t beat a good bargain! Ok so they don’t have a cocktail selection for a fiver like they used to, but at €6.95 each, who can complain? That right above is a martini. A gin martini. My first ever. They didn’t have any olives but no matter, the lemon looks nice, don’t you think? It actually wasn’t bad. 7/10, would try again. 10/10, felt grown up.
Martini connoisseurs, is vodka or gin best? I hear The Bank on Dame Street does a good one, I’ll keep it in mind when my next martini mood strikes.

After cocktails we went to the opposite corner of Stephen’s Green, up to Merrion Row to experience the five course tasting menu at Bang.

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The menu was created using local seasonal Irish produce and each course has a suggested wine pairing. Sides aren’t included, so one or two would be good for sharing. Since there is some time between courses for food to settle, we only shared one side (the triple cooked chips with garlic aioli) and they were more than enough. They were also the star image of this post, which you may have noticed. They deserve it. Possibly the best chips I’ve had in my life, and I take the potato very seriously.

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We began with seared tuna, cucumber, radish and sesame paste; a very tasty and elegant little amuse bouche.

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Celeriac with a celeriac soup, seaweed, apple and smoked hazelnuts. A light refreshing dish which smelled like stewed cooking apples! The smoked hazelnuts were my favourite part.

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Charred mackerel with avocado mousse, pickled ginger and scallops. I really enjoyed this course and the main after. They were definitely the stars of the menu for me.

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The main event – pork neck fillet, onion risotto, onion and cavolo nero. The pork neck was slow cooked so it was juicy, tender and just delicious. We had this course with the aforementioned drool inducing triple cooked chips.

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The garlic aioli was perfect too, I wish every restaurant served aioli this good.

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Dessert was a dark chocolate bar with passionfruit sorbet and hazelnut, which was nicely presented.

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The petit fours were cute – a little almond chocolate tart, vanilla fudge, turkish delight and a madeleine with jam.

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The cocktails we had weren’t great at all; but the wine we shared was lovely and well priced.

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Because it’s small, Bang can get busy and quite noisy, but the location is excellent after all. Service was good throughout the night but a little impersonal. I got my sister a voucher for Bang for Christmas yet it was pricey enough when the bill came regardless of the voucher. Service charge is applied, and a bottle of still water cost €6.50, which I thought was pretty high. It was great to finally visit, and some courses really were delicious (I’ll never forget that pork neck!) but I expected more from the overall experience. For more information, click here for their website.

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The #AAFoodies at The Chef’s Table, Sika Restaurant, with an amazing view of the kitchen, watching the chefs at work.

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A box of black truffles! I wonder how many times the word ‘truffle’ was uttered at the table last Friday night.

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Friday evening was truly magical, with many thanks to The AA. Every year, the folks at The AA (Automobile Association, not the other AA!) host their very own hospitality awards, where Ireland’s best hotels are accredited by The AA. The top AA hotels host #AAFoodies events where a select few are invited to experience amazing food at the hotel.
This AA Foodies event was at the 5 star Powerscourt Hotel in Wicklow. We were invited to join chef Peter Byrne at the Chef’s Table at Sika Restaurant, where Peter devised a menu around black truffles, complete with wine pairings. The event was wonderful from start to finish – the AA team were fantastic, as were all the staff at Powerscourt. I’m doing a post on the event later this week, and hopefully the AA Foodies video from the event will be ready to share by then too!
What’s great about the AA Foodies is that events are open to anyone – if you have a passion for food you can register no matter who you are, so keep an eye here for upcoming events.

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After all the truffle indulging like a little sniffer pig, I was nowhere finished with my gluttonous streak. I got up on sat morning and went to Avoca in Malahide (mentioned in my last weekend post!) for a very much needed coffee and dense, velvet-y, made by angels baked vanilla cheesecake with caramel sauce on top. It’s becoming a weekend staple. Rich, creamy, filling and borderline addictive. I still started my Saturday with cheesecake knowing full well that I’d be sampling food and beer an hour or two later, but that wasn’t going to stop me. After a quick ramble around Avoca and a few minutes at home, I was on my way into the city for this year’s Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fair, held once again at the Convention Centre Dublin.

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The Alltech fair was brilliant as always. I tried so many new and interesting beers (Lindemans cherry beer from Grand Cru was very interesting) as well as new cider flavours. Dan Kelly’s cider really stood out as being really natural and not too sweet, and I really liked Mac Ivor’s new ginger and plum cider. The rugby was broadcasted all weekend, and tweets were up on the big screen with everyone sharing their favourite beers, food and happenings at the event, the buzz was fantastic.
There were plenty of food stands showcasing the best of Irish produce. There were stands serving pizza, chilli dogs, pretzels…everything can be purchased using a token. 1 token is worth €2.50. Cornude Popcorn also had a stand (bottom left) I really love these guys – I first came across their artisan popcorn at an event for The Body Shop hosted by Revolve PR. The flavours are addictive – salted caramel, marshmallow, bourbon, and my favourite; peanut and chilli.

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Bottom left: I wasn’t sure if it would go down well, but the Danish beer Urban Haze (a pale ale with elderflower) was definitely a frequent refill that afternoon!

craft-beer-alltechTop right: Sheridan’s cheese – a cheesemongers from Galway that really can’t be beat. We had a few plates to share, naturally! Cheese and beer, an enjoyable combo.
Bottom left: Niamh from Gourmet Grazing and myself taking full advantage, pouring our own beer at Grand Cru.
The event is on every year around this time, if you haven’t gone yet, keep an eye out for next year’s fair. Or there’s always Lexington, Kentucky on May 21st!

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More food images! Post craft brew fair and I’m full of beans. I was running a bit late saying goodbye, so hopped into a taxi to Capel Street to meet a friend I hadn’t seen in ages for a quick dinner at Brasserie 7. It was a midway meeting point for us and she had a voucher, so we had dinner and cocktails there.
The food is pretty simple and fuss free. For starters I had mussels – the Thai broth made with coriander, lemon grass and cream was lovely, and I had Barberry duck for the main course. I wouldn’t be crazy about the cherries on top but the dish was tasty enough overall. We finished off with a cocktail, a Tom Collins and a very well made margarita, and decided to have espresso martinis at The Westin instead of having regular coffee. It was Saturday night after all! I know, a lot of alcohol features in this post too, but everyone loves pictures of cocktails, right? Cocktails make up the weekend 5 a day*. Making sure you hit the target is essential.

*definitely true and not a completely made up fact by me

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On Sunday, the weekend pace slowed down. We had a family dinner, with everyone coming over early to relax and watch the rugby. I say ‘relax’ but there was plenty of the usual roaring and shouting, which I enjoy as much as the match. Highly amusing stuff.
Dinner was reminiscent of a usual Sunday meal; simple, comforting and wholesome. It was really nice to get everyone together, a full table of friends and family for a long and leisurely afternoon of chats, catching up, baby excitement (there’ll soon be a new addition to our gang!) quiz questions (it wouldn’t be a gathering without them) and overeating (cheese board and chocolate cake, I’m looking at you both with the stink eye.)

So there you have it – a weekend of non-stop eating and drinking, so successful that I hardly ate anything all day yesterday due to the lingering feeling of fullness and enjoyment. My jaw I’m sure benefited from the break as well to be honest.

Until my next post, enjoy the week ahead!
I’m off to meet a friend for dinner. When will I ever learn?

 

♥ ♥ ♥

 

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