July 26, 2013

Indie Dhaba: Bringing Tapas Style Dining to Indian Food

2013 has so far turned into the year of weddings and thirtieths. Some people want big parties, others want smaller more intimate affairs. It was with a small 30th get together in mind that we headed en masse to Indie Dhaba. Indie Dhaba is not your usual run of the mill Indian restaurant but instead has decided to shake the food scene up by offering Indian tapas. Now to be honest we were a little bit sceptical at the beginning - Indian tapas we exclaimed, they won’t fill us up and it will work out really expensive too as a group! Turns out we were wrong, oh so wrong. 

Indie Dhaba is situated on St. Anne Street in what used to be Venu. It is a big space and on the afternoon we were there only about four other tables were filled. This didn’t matter to us as we were a group of eight girls who could probably fill the place with enough chatter to make up for the lack in atmosphere. The menu is lengthy with choices of small plates, large plates, dhaba plates and Old Favourites among others. Our waiter explained to us the concept behind Indie Dhaba and some of the dishes on the menu. Being old pros at eating out in groups we co-ordinated our tapas so that we could have a bit of everything! We each choose two small plates and a main thinking that if we were still hungry we could always order more.

So to make life a bit easier as there were so many dishes, here are a selection of what we ordered (I think I have all the names right!).

PAPPADUM BRUSCHETTA: Mini Pappadums and Fryums topped with Indian Vegetable Ratatouille


CHATPATEE CHUTNEY MEZZE: Roasted red-bell pepper, aubergine, chickpeas and cumin, spicy olive, mathari sticks


NANOZZA: Indian Fenugreek dough, makhni sauce basting, vegetables, fondue of buffalo mozzarella, a.k.a. Jasuben’s Gujarati Naan-Pizza


BAGDA CHINGRI: Tiger prawn with Philadelphia Cheese, carom seed, toasted yellow peas flour

PALAK-MISSI TOAST: Sautéed spinach and mushroom, Indian spices, garlic, maize and chickpea flour tortilla   


TANGRA CHILI CHICKEN: Indo-Chinese stir fried chicken, Calcutta Chinatown style

TIWARI JI KI RAJ KACHORI: Giant Flaky-Dough hollow shell dolma, ragout of sprouted Green Mung-bean, baby gem, red kidney bean, natural yoghurt baratte and Tamarind chutney 

BANGLA CRAB CHOP: Pacific crabmeat and crayfish with spiced beetroot, house-made tomato and plum chutney  


We also ordered fig and goats cheese naan (one of the best naans I have ever had!) and garlic, onion & coriander naan and some Basmati rice for the table. The great thing about all the small plates were that they came out divided into four so they were perfect for sharing. One thing we did notice was that there wasn’t much size difference between the large and small plates but the large plates are where you will find the more expensive options of meat and fish. The flavours of the food were amazing and so different to what we are normally used to when we think of tapas. The food was vibrant, intense, fun and was a joy to eat.  

The only dish I was slightly disappointed with was the Bangla Crab Chop as it was just a bit bland and didn’t live up to the experience created by the other dishes. Another plus was that our meal cost us around €20 each. That was for 2 small plates and a large plate X8 so yes it did feel like plate after plate was arriving at the table.  For me this meal was one of the standouts of the year so far. I love the concept behind it and the creativity in the dishes. It also won’t break the bank, is great for groups and they also have Darren, an award winning mixologist, working in house who makes Dublin’s best cocktails (well I think so anyway!).  So all in all Indie Dhaba was the perfect choice for a small 30th – it was good food and good cocktails all at an affordable price. Could we really ask for anything more! 

Web: www.dhaba.ie
Find them on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

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July 24, 2013

Glenisk Pop-Up Store celebrates an extra 10 weeks with a selection of new creative combinations and some TweetTreats!

Due to to popular demand, Glenisk is delighted to announce that its Dublin based UPFRONT AND PERSONAL pop-up store is set to remain open until the end of August at the corner of Dawson  Street and Duke Street.

Customers to the shop can avail of even more innovative sweet and savoury Glenisk Greek Style Yogurt combinations aswell as a special #TWEETTREATS offer, where if they tweet a picture of their Upfront & Personal purchase using the hastag #tweettreats, they will receive a tub of Glenisk Low Fat Greek Style 125g absolutlely free.

The new flavours have been developed by the Glenisk Team, and chef Christine Jordan (who developed the original menu), continues to demonstrate the versatility of yogurts by featuring many leading Irish food producers, and embracing global food themes.

Savoury options include; Spanish Chorizo & Chickpeas, Smoked Chicken & Moroccan Cous Cous with Aromatic Spices and Italian Semi-Dried Tomatoes, Roast Red Peppers & Basil. Each savoury dish is served with delicious Rosemary & Olive Oil Crostinis, baked especially for Glenisk at Moore Street’s renowned Paris Bakery.

All the new flavour combinations

Sweet treats include Greek Style Natural Yogurt with Espresso Syrup and Milk Chocolate, Poached Vanilla Apricots with Amaretti and Dark Chocolate & Sicilian Lemon Curd.   On top of all this, the store also offers limited edition themed combinations.

Glenisk MD Vincent Cleary comments: “We have really enjoyed meeting our customers in person; and we look forward to welcoming many more to the store over the coming weeks to hear their views and to give them the chance to enjoy our products. We are so pleased with the positive response to the Upfront and Personal Store and can guarantee we have a few more treats up our sleeves before we turn the key in the door one final time at the end of August”

Savoury yogurt dishes and smoothies are priced at €3.50, while sweet dishes and cheesecakes cost €3.00. Glenisk’s range of organic yogurt, fresh milk, fresh cream and crème fraiche will continue to be available to purchase in the store, along with the brand’s goats milk and goats yogurt.

July 16, 2013

Coppi, Belfast

One of the pluses of living in Meath is that we aren’t too far from Belfast. A quick hour and a half up the motorway gets us easily into Belfast City which we visit a few times a year. Our most recent trip up was to visit the Game of Thrones exhibition in the Titanic Quarter. I am a fan of the show but perhaps not to the same extent as the boyfriend but I happily went along with the promise of some shopping and a meal out! So after we had shopped ourselves out and seen enough costumes and prop swords for the day, we headed along to Coppi in St. Anne’s Square for an evening meal. 

Titanic Quarter

St. Anne’s Square is a newish development which includes the Ramada Encore Hotel and a number of other restaurants which look out on to the square. I stayed in the Ramada when the square was just being built so it was lovely to see the finished area. It is a pretty, bustling square and is only about 10 minutes walk from Victoria Square Shopping Centre and from the Odyssey Arena. Coppi is an Italian-inspired restaurant and is named after the Italian cyclist Angelo Fausto Coppi who was the dominant international cyclist in the years before and after the Second World War. His successes earned him the title Il Campionissimo, or champion of champions!  

The menu is a mix of cichetti, small plates, pizzette and pastas. We started off with cichetti which are small snacks typically served in traditional bars throughout Venice. This was a really nice way to get to try a few different dishes and sample a bit more of the menu. We got three cichetti - Feta fritters & truffled honey; Smoked chicken, endive, Gorgonzola & walnut and Spiced pork & fennel sausage.

All three were wonderful though the pork sausage was a little spicy for me. I adored the feta fritters which were light and melt in the mouth and I could have eaten many more of them. 

For the mains I choose the Portavogie Prawns which was made with squid ink linguini, sundried tomato, basil, shallot & lemon. Unfortunately they had no prawns left but they replaced them with crab meat which worked just as well. I always think black pasta never looks great as there is something about black pasta which isn’t aesthetically pleasing but this was one of the best pasta dishes I have had in a while. It was light and summery and I could taste the crab throughout the dish. All the pasta used in the dishes is made fresh inhouse too.

The boyfriend went for the daily special which was Tagliatelle with beef in a marsala and mushroom sauce. There wasn’t a drop left once he was done with it, though I found the sauce slightly heavy myself. We were both very happy with the dishes we had chosen and there wasn't a lot of sharing going on during the meal!

Then it was onto dessert. After the high standards of our mains dessert was a bit of a disappointment. The boyfriend went for Tiramisu which was perfectly adequate but didn’t quite live up to Italian standards. 

I went for the Passionfruit Crème Brulee which sounded fantastic but in reality was far too rich and the sugar on top was slightly over caramelised and verged on the side of burnt. 

Disappointing desserts aside next time I am up in Belfast I will definitely be visiting Coppi again. I could spend a happy hour or two there chatting with friends, drinking wine and nibbling on cichetti! The meal cost us £45.50 and that was for three cichetti, two mains, two desserts and a glass of wine. 

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Web: www.coppi.co.uk
Find them on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

July 09, 2013

Irish Food Festivals & Events: 8 - 30 July 2013

This annual family-friendly festival in Ardmore, Co Waterford has at its heart the age-old tradition of honoring the local Patron Saint, St Declan, but its revival in recent years has seen it become a week-long celebration. There will be music, fun and food in Ardmore, Co Waterford from the 21 - 28 July.

This festival will take place in Co. Mayo from the 7 – 14 July and also incorporates Ballina Street and Arts Festival. There will be a whole host of events taking place including treasure hunts, arts and crafts and Prátaí Picking! There will also be a fireworks display on the 13th at 11pm. 

Bray Summerfest  
This year's SummerFest will take place over 5 weekends from 5th July to the 4th August. There will be over 60 free events covering music, kids workshops, sport, the airshow and of course food. For the foodies among us there will be a continental craft market and a Food & Garden Festival on the weekend of the 25th July.
Pierre Lawton is an eight generation Bordeaux-based wine merchant specializing in top chateaux wines. He is the owner of Alias and his family has been selling wine in Bordeaux since 1739. This evening with Pierre Lawton, Bordeaux and Ted Murphy, Irish Wine Geese, and author ‘A Kingdon of Wine – The Story of Ireland’s Wine Geese’, will take place in the Sculpture Gallery, The Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, Thursday 11th July, 6pm. The cost is €12.

This festival reflects the great local fishing tradition and the emphasis on seafood in the local restaurants in the Doonbeg area. It takes place from the 26 - 28 July and it will have something for everyone. Events include Curragh racing, Duck Race, Farmers Market and a Vintage Rally and for the first time a Queen of the Sea competition. Chef Michel Nichan will feature as this years Celebrity Chef, visiting from The East Coast of America.
Féile na Mara – Achill Island Festival of the Sea
This festival takes place on the beautiful Achill Island in Co. Mayo from the 19 - 21 July.  Events include cookery demonstrations, seaweed safaris, fish markets, seafood BBQs and a family sandcastle competition. Local (and guest) talent includes Cailín agus Buachaill Óg contests.

International Craft Brewing and Distilling Convention
This event is an opportunity for people in the craft beer industry and those that are interested in it to gather together to share ideas. There conference itself costs €65 to attend but it is possible to get an expo only pass for €10. For more information and to see what other activities are on offer visit their website at www.alltechgathering.com.

Taking place in Kinsale, Co. Cork from 6 - 14 July, this festival has a huge range of events on offer. Visual Art, Theatre, Music, Literature, Film, Dance, Architecture, Family Entertainment and Food are all covered. Two events that I particularly like the sound of are the 'Come Home for Your Tea Social' and the performances of a 'Wine Goose Chase'.

Kenmare Food Carnival in Co. Kerry aims to showcase all of it's wonderful food from award winning restaurants, to local producers, 5 star dining, charming cafes, bustling bakeries and delicious delis all done in a 'Carnival' style atmosphere. The festival takes place from 12 - 14 July.  

Meath Food Series   
Throughout Meath with events running until September. Please see separate post here for more information.

The 10th annual Sneem Family Festival takes place from the 17 - 21 July. Activities include wife carrying, crab fishing & lake fishing, sheep shearing, traditional music and set dancing, a craft and country market and street entertainment.

The Strawberry Fair is a family event taking place from 2pm to 6pm on Sunday 21st July 2013 on the Lower Road, Strawberry Beds, Chapelizod. There will be a Family Fun Picnic on the community field at the bottom of Rugged Lane, near the Wren’s Nest, with face painting and balloons, family dog competition and performances from Blanchardstown Brass Band and magician. There will be copious amounts of strawberries and lashings of cream as well!

Valentia Island King Scallop Festival 2013 is a family fun weekend on Valentia Island on the 13-14 July. Festival activities this year include a junior triathlon, craft fair & country market, cooking demonstrations, an angling competition, a display by the Coastguard helicopter & the Valentia Island RNLI Lifeboat, live street music and the crowning of this year's Mr. King Scallop and for the first time the crowning of Ms Queen Scallop.

This festival takes place in Kanturk, Co. Cork, from the 25 - 28 July. There is a huge line up of events including music, a food and craft fair, a medieval event in Kanturk Castle, and a big fireworks display. 

N.B Even though the events section is updated frequently, dates and times are liable to change so please do check the websites yourself as well. If you would like to have your event added please contact Kat at thepurplepageireland (at) gmail.com