March 27, 2013

Eastern Seaboard Bar and Grill

Bryanstown Centre is a row of average looking buildings plonked close to a housing estate done in true Celtic Tiger style. On first inspection it looks an unlikely place for a restaurant let alone being home to two of the best places to eat in Ireland. The first is the Brown Hound Bakery which I have blogged about here and the second is The Eastern Seaboard Bar and Grill. For mother’s day a few week’s ago I thought it would be nice if the mother and brother came up to my end of the woods to try out a place I knew they would love

The Eastern Seaboard Bar and Grill is a large restaurant but still manages to retain an air of cosiness probably due to the fact that it is separated into distinct areas with tables by the large front window and then a bar area with high stool seating. The furniture is vintage chic with old wooden chairs, large wooden tables and on this occasions daffodil on the table. My mother had left a vintage beaded purse at one end of the table which my brother thought was part of the decor albeit one that confused him slightly!! We arrived around 2.30 on a busy Saturday afternoon and were immediately seated. While waiting on my brother who somehow managed to get lost on his way up, we ordered Smoked Mackerel Pate with cucumber salad & crostini spears. This was a wonderful starter the texture was creamy and the taste wasn’t overpowering like some other pates I have had. This sated the hunger for a while but as time ticked by and with a lot of hopping off my seat and running outside to ring the brother it was soon time for another starter. 

Smoked Mackerel Pate
This time we went for the Seasonal Crudités & Grissini. This included carrots and strips of other vegetables accompanied by breadsticks. This was a great starter to nibble on but it’s just veggies so we weren’t expecting anything mind blowing. The only thing I didn’t like about this was the crudités at the bottom were very salty so they were left uneaten. By this stage the brother had finally arrived being only an hour late! He was stressed and hungry but calmed right on down once I showed him the extensive craft beer list. It brought us back to our recent trip to Brussels where I was introduced to beers such as Delirium Tremens which are available here. Cue big happy grin on the brother! 

The staff were over quickly once my brother arrived to take our main course order. The mother opted for the Sesame Seeded Loch Duart Salmon with soy butter. On the menu it says that 'the salmon is sustainably farmed and environmentally responsible and that this salmon is outstanding. It will be cooked ‘medium’ for optimum flavour'. My mother was quick to concur with that! It flaked easily while the sesame seeds were a new one on me.

Sesame Seeded Loch Duart Salmon
The brother ordered the Slow Roast Belly of Pork with salsa verde. It came with crackling and was soon devoured.  I opted for the Wild Garlic Guinea Kiev which was divine. The use of wild garlic seems to be confined to recipe use on websites and blogs and this was the first time I had seen it used mainstream. It was mouth-watering! The Kiev came on the bone which meant the meat was fabulously juicy while the wild garlic was a revelation. The flavour it gave off was subtle but tasty. 

Wild Garlic Guinea Kiev
All the mains came with the option of two sides so we went strategic on the menu and decided to get items we all liked! We opted for Warm Potato Salad, Tabouleh, Sweet Potato Wedges, Garlicky Zucchini, Slow Roast Organic Carrots and Red Cabbage. All the sides came in separate dishes which meant they were easy to share and it made the meal feel truly feastlike as we passed them around the table and sampled everything.

Despite feeling quite full we are a family who always leaves room for dessert! After having a good look at the dessert menu my brother and mother both went for the Little Pots of Warm Chocolate Heaven with citrus shortbread for dipping. My brother liked the milk chocolate pot and the shortbread but found the dark chocolate one a bit heavy so I kindly offered to help. I'm such a good sister! The texture was light and bubbly though it was strong as all dark chocolate is.

Little Pots of Warm Chocolate Heaven
For my dessert I went for the Rhubarb Fool Crumble. This was a lovely fresh dessert and it felt like my first taste of spring this year.


The Eastern Seaboard Bar and Grill is a wonderful restaurant with  lovely staff who happily accommodated us and let us stay longer at our table even though we were very late starting. My mother was bowled over by the quality of the food and declared it the best restaurant she has been to in a while. Mother’s Day Success!! My brother adored the food and the range of craft beers on offer. It is a restaurant that will keep everyone happy and I, for one, am very glad that I live so close to it. I am already planning my next visit!

The whole meal came to just over €92 which was for two starters, three mains, three desserts, a glass of wine and two craft beers.

 Eastern Seaboard Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

The World Irish Stew Championship and other culinary competitions

Irish Lamb Stew - Bord Bia Images
Entries are flying in for the fourth World Irish Stew Championship which takes place in St Angela’s College in Sligo on 1st and 2nd May as part of the Só Sligo Food Festival. This festival takes place from 1st to 6th May 2013 and is supported by Failte Ireland.

The 1st of May will see professional and student chefs from kitchens and colleges all over the world demonstrate their skills to create the ultimate Irish Stew! The judging panel comprised of a team of chefs and competition judges, selected by head judge Gabriel Mc Sharry, will decide who will earn the title in two categories – professional and student chef.  Entries can be made online at, where there are also application forms for other culinary competitions including the Sligo Signature Dish and a Mystery Basket competition. 

It is not only professional chefs who can enter their stew!  Home cooks can enter the competition by taking a photo of their stew and uploading it along with the recipe to  The best will be selected and brought to  beautiful Co Sligo to compete in the final on 2nd May and they will also be treated to a Sligo Gourmet Adventure!   

The World Irish Stew Championship has been running since 2010 as part of Só Sligo Food Festival and this year thanks to the Gathering IBB Fund and assistance given by the Gathering initiative, it has become a global event in Co Sligo which the organisers hope will become an annual global gathering.  

St Angela’s College has also been part of the Championships since it’s inception and competitors who take part annually enjoy visiting it’s uniquely beautiful setting on Lough Gill.   Head of Home Economics Angela McCloat has assisted and encouraged the competition to date and is delighted with its huge success! 

If you would like more information on any of these competitions please contact Brid Torrades

March 19, 2013

OCHA Teppanyaki & Sushi Bar


It was a busy bank holiday weekend this year with hens, outings and family dinners. It also meant a few chances to eat out ranging from McDonalds on the go (yes I freely admit to this!) to top notch dining in the Rustic Stone to a casual catch up in a newly discovered sushi bar. This new sushi bar was a discovery on my friend Maya's part who has the world's oddest hangover cravings claiming that only sushi would help!

OCHA Teppanyaki & Sushi Bar is a Japanese and Thai restaurant offering Sushi and Teppanyaki grill. It is is only a few minutes walk from Dundrum Shopping Centre and can be found on the main street opposite the Dundrum House Pub. The exterior is all dark wood while the interior is minimalist with low stools and soft lighting. A teppanyaki grill takes pride of place in one corner. Apparently this can seat up to 7/8 people and it would make a fantastic night out as I can imagine it is quite theatrical. It is something I will definitely be trying out in the future.

What I love most about restaurants such as Ocha, is that food like this can all be brought to the table at the one time or at various intervals whenever it ready. It is also perfect sharing food. Miso soup and Agedashi Tofu were the first dishes to arrive at the table. I love miso soup as a way to begin a meal such as this, as it is light but warming and gets you ready for the flavours that are going to happen. 

Miso Soup
The Agedashi Tofu was deep fried tofu steak lightly battered and served with soy sauce. The tofu was melt in the mouth and the batter was lovely and light. I grew up thinking tofu was awful but have since been converted thanks to restaurants such as Ocha and Musashi.

Agedashi Tofu
Next to arrive was the Sashimitake.This was a ten piece platter of raw fish which included Tuna, Salmon, Seabass, Crabstick and Prawn. The fish was fresh and the seabass was a revelation as I have never had it raw before.


Up next was the Norimaki choice - a California Roll which was made with crab stick, avocado, cucumber & sweet vinegar rice. It had a vivid orange coating of what I assume was fish roe which made it visually appealing.

California Roll
California Roll up close and personal!
After all this Maya's sushi cravings hadn't been sated so we shared another Sashimitake and some Sake Nigiri - Salmon Sushi which did the trick. At this point you would think I was nearing the end of the review but in fact I ate in this restaurant twice on the one day. I met the boyfriend soon after and was raving about the food I had just eaten. He was already hungry and now he was hungry for Asian food so we went back!! I got a few funny looks from the waiters but sure they probably just thought I just really liked sushi. For this next meal we ordered a Chicken Pad Thai which was made with flat rice noodles, stir fried mixed vegetables and fish-tamarind sauce. This was different to the usually Thai ones I have had as it had a more sweet and sour style feel to it but it was still a good, filling Pad Thai.

Chicken Pad Thai
We also ordered some more Norimaki of California Rolls and some Tuna Rolls which consisted of raw tuna fish & sweet vinegar rice. 

Tuna Roll

Now I don't proclaim to be a sushi expert having only really gotten into it in the last few years but I know what I like and I really enjoyed my two meals here! Ocha offers filling, fresh and healthy food at an affordable price. The service was friendly and efficient and it was a very comfortable place to spend a rainy Sunday. The only thing I was disappointed about was the drink menu which just offered red and white wine. There wasn't a hint of sake or plum wine on it. I really hope this place does well and that people visit here even though it is a little outside the main centre. Walk that extra two minutes and give it a go!

The first meal with Maya cost €42.50 while the second meal cost €27. Check out their website here and find them on Facebook here.

March 12, 2013

Celebrate the Wisdom: Slow Food International Grandmother’s Day

“A celebration of Food Heritage and Forgotten Skills”

Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st April 2013 - Sandbrook House, Co. Carlow
Slow Food International and Sandbrook House are delighted to deliver the second International Grandmothers Day Celebration 2013. This year they are back and bigger than ever with a two day event in Sandbrook House.

The weekend is a celebration of Ireland's food heritage and is dedicated to remembering and recording lost skills & the precious inherited wisdom passed down by previous generations.

Saturday 20th April – An International Symposium
This international expert led symposium will have a focus on education; exploring how our food heritage can create employment for this generation.

Slow Food has invited all the Institutes of Technology across the country to come together for a major symposium to grapple the issues facing artisanal food production, the supply chain and rural employment. Join them as they investigate “How can we learn from our Food Heritage to create employment for this generation”. Hear leading Irish & European experts speak on conservation and forgotten skills. They will close the evening with a traditional Fullacht Fiadh – a one of a kind reproduction of the traditional Irish cooking method.

Sunday 21st April – Grandmothers Day

“Calling all grans and granddaughters, grandas and grandsons, nonnas and daughters, mamós and sons!”

Sunday 21st April is Slow Food Grandmother’s Day at Sandbrook House, giving families the opportunity to spend time together dedicated to remembering and recording lost skills, and the precious inherited wisdom passed down by previous generations.

Grandmothers Day is  all about supporting and showcasing artisans and our local food producers.  On this day food lovers, food producers, chef & farmers, along with food and drink suppliers will come together at Sandbrook House to celebrate Slow Food and Forgotten Skills.

Food producers, chefs, farmers and artisans will come together to celebrate good, clean and fair food, the Slow Food way, with almost 50 different exhibitors, terrific treats to sample, interesting stories to hear, talents to admire and skills to watch and learn.

Grandmother’s Day at Sandbrook will be opened by Ballymaloe’s Darina Allen, Slow Food pioneer and President of Slow Food Ireland, who will give the keynote speech at 12 midday and will later do a cookery demonstration of some of her most cherished almost forgotten skills.

Demonstrations and experiences will include butter, cheese, sausage and chocolate making, chicken keeping, wild food foraging, lace making, willow weaving, bee keeping, candle making, and throwing pottery, as well as a selection of food-focused skills. There will also be a café stalls and a bustling farmer’s market, showcasing finest local, traditional and handmade produce including, organic meats, farmhouse cheeses, vegetables and salads, handmade pasta, artisan breads, wood fired pizzas, local honey and chocolate truffles.

Grandmothers are invited to bring along their own favourite recipes that they would like to pass onto their grandchildren for Slow Food to compile a special recipe scrapbook.

As well as new (old) skills to appreciate, Grandmother’s Day has other fun things to do for children of all ages, from face painting to arts & crafts competitions, a petting zoo and a games area.

With family fun, fabulous food and a little easy learning along the way, Slow Food Grandmother’s Day at Sandbrook runs from 11am to 6pm on Sunday 22 April. Admission is €10 including free entry for all children with one adult, free car parking and free entry to all workshops. Cookery demonstrations range from €10 - €15 and are on a first come, first served basis.

For further information please contact Kate Gaffey: or check out the website at  

March 09, 2013

Gourmet Pittas at Crave Cafe

In my workplace pittas form the basis of 4 out of five lunchtimes. There is always a queue for our poor old toaster which has toasted so many pittas it is on its last legs!! Pittas are a perfect food because they are so versatile. So if you like tuna and avocado or ham and cheese it is all going to taste delicious on a toasted pitta. So imagine my excitement when I came across Crave Cafe and their Gourmet Pittas.  It would be like my lunch pittas but posh!!
Crave Cafe is on Aungier Street and since we were on our way to a gig in the Olympia that night it seemed like the perfect place to stop. Mismatched chairs,  patterned wallpapers and old films playing on the wall gave the cafe a lovely bright, airy and quirky vibe and the staff were very welcoming. The place was fairly empty when we arrived at six but there was a steady stream of customers while we were there and I can imagine the place is packed at lunchtimes.

There was a good choice of Gourmet Pitta options available on the menu from a classic chicken and pancetta to the more original spicy pork meatball pitta. There were also two sandwich options in case of bread cravings!

Menu from Facebook
I went for the Crave Classic as I always think if something classic is great then it is a indication of how good the rest of the menu will be. The Crave Classic consisted of cooked chicken with pancetta, salad and french dressing. When it arrived out it was also accompanied by a small dish of spiced cous cous.
The pitta was jampacked with food, the chicken was moist and the pancetta was crispy. The salad that accompanied it was fine, the dressing was lovely but the salad itself was a bit boring and could have done with being a mixed leaf salad instead to differentiate it from the salad in the pitta.

The boyfriend went for The Reuben, and while he is not averse to pitta breads, he didn't think it would be filling enough for supper. The Reuben was made with corned beef, coleslaw & a garlic & lime dressing on brown bread. This was a well made Reuben with delicious chunky brown bread and the garlic and lime dressing really gave it a lift. I know it was their own take on the Reuben but the only thing missing from it was some cheese which would have brought it all together. In saying that though it was a damn fine sandwich and I did have to use my powers of persuasion to get him to give me more of it!!

We finished off the meal with two fantastic flat whites and then this was  followed by a unexpectedly delicious apple and raspberry crumble. All we could see from where we were sitting were some muffins, so I wasn't too hopeful for a great dessert but I was still peckish. The crumble was a thick wedge of fruit topped with a very light crumble and accompanied by fresh cream.

Overall this was a very enjoyable meal. It would be suited better to a lunchtime meal as I was still hungry after my  pitta though the coffee and cake filled that gap right up. It would also be great if you are looking for something quick to eat before you head out into town or it would be a great place to catch up with friends. It's also not very expensive and the whole meal cost us just over €20. Pitta places could well be the next big thing and I for one wouldn't mind seeing more of them throughout Dublin!

You will find Crave Cafe at 79 Aungier Street. Check them out on Facebook here.