Christ­mas chow

A true Yule­tide shop­ping spree wouldn’t be com­plete with­out a fes­tive foodie pit-stop, says Lucinda O’Sullivan, and, with so much great food and drink to choose from these days, De­cem­ber’s din­ers are sure to be merry

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - APPETITES -

The toy, treat and tur­key frenzy is on! Christ­mas lights are sparkling, and shop win­dows are ex­trav­a­gantly dressed, as we head into the shop-till-you-drop pe­riod from next Thurs­day, De­cem­ber 8, on­wards. The in­ter­net is awash with gifts, but you don’t get the same touchy-feely buzz that comes with in-store shop­ping. A trip to Santa Claus is es­sen­tial too — mem­o­ries are made on these days — but an out­ing has to be fu­elled, so here are some pit-stop ideas.

In Dublin, The Restau­rant by John­nie Cooke in Brown Thomas, Grafton Street, has a Cal-Med menu, with small and large plates €10.50€28.50, in­clud­ing a great burger with Gruyere, and ‘the works’ at €15.95. ‘Lit­tle Shop­pers’ can feast on spaghetti and meat­balls, chicken gou­jons or savoury pan­cakes, all €7.50.

Cor­nu­copia on Wick­low Street is great for veg­e­tar­ian grub such as sweet potato, but­ter bean and roast gar­lic soup, which is avail­able in two por­tion sizes, €4.35/€5.50. Mixed salad plates come in three sizes, €5.50/€8.95/€10.95; or mains €12.50€13.95.

Nearby, the French-style Green Hen bistro, has a 1/2/3 course lunch menu at €15/€18/€20, fea­tur­ing

duck leg, Puy lentils and mus­tard mash. There’s also a Christ­mas lunch menu at €28, with stuffed quail, veni­son shank, and Christ­mas pud­ding tri­fle (sub­ject to change).

If Ital­ian is your bag, have a cock­tail in the new Far­rier & Draper in Pow­er­scourt Town­house Cen­tre, be­fore ad­journ­ing down­stairs to La Cucina, which does pizza, pas­tas and risot­tos at €12, in­clud­ing crab lin­guine; plus small and large

and plates

con­fit See brown­ See cor­nu­ See the­green­ stuzzi­chini in­salata See far­rierand­


The new Ea­tokyo on Welling­ton Quay in Dublin has a great lunch spe­cial from noon to 5pm, with Ja­panese bento boxes at €9.50, as well as noo­dles and cur­ries at €8.50.

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The uber-cool new Hang Dai Chi­nese eatery on Cam­den Street opens at 5pm, with shar­ing dishes from €5, to a half/whole wood­fired cooked duck, Bei­jing style, at €40/€80.

Across the Lif­fey, Bar Italia on Or­mond Quay has a three-course

See hang­daichi­

menu at €25, as well as pas­tas.

On Wolfe Tone Square, off Mary Street, check out The Tram Cafe, a fan­tas­tic old tram car­riage that has been con­verted. It does great soups, sal­ads, cakes, cur­ries, stews and posh sam­bos.

The Church on Mary Street has some­thing to suit ev­ery­one, from light bites through beef and Guin­ness stew, posh sand­wiches and sal­ads, to pasta and daily lunch specials.

On Tal­bot Street, the le­gendary 101 Tal­bot al­ways has in­ter­est­ing, eclec­tic food (€8-€14) from squid and chorizo salad to veni­son burg­ers; char­grilled hal­loumi to fish pie.

In Cork, street food, from Mex­i­can to Thai to Amer­i­can bar­be­cue, has re­ally taken off, not to men­tion the fan­tas­tic fare avail­able at the English Mar­ket, which also has the le­gendary Far­m­gate up­stairs.

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piz­zas and Look out for The Meat­ball Place ( on Carey’s Lane,

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which will have you lick­ing your lips, as will O’Flynn’s Gourmet Sausages, which is on Winthrop Street.

See ofly­nns­gourmet­

Quin­lan’s Seafood Bar on Princes Street ( is also a good spot, as is Ali’s Kitchen on Paul Street.

The Sultan Cafe restau­rant on Pen­rose Quay does great Moroc­can and Le­banese tagines, mous­sakas and shawar­mas, from €7.95-€12.90; as well as a two-course lunch at €14.95.

see seafood­ See aliskitchen­ See face­

Also in Cork, La Dolce Vita on Proby’s Quay have opened Ti­ramisu next door, a cafe with omelettes, eggs Bene­dict (€6.50), and lovely Ital­ian sand­wiches at just €4.

Greene’s Restau­rant on MacCur­tain Street does a su­perb 2/3-course lunch menu at €26/€29.90.

In Lim­er­ick, Thomas and Deirdre Fialon’s French Ta­ble of­fers great value, with French onion soup at €7; and at €8; as well as a

See ladol­cevi­ta­­ramisu. See gree­nes­restau­ croque mon­sieur tar­ti­flettes

1/2/3 course menu, €12.50/€16/€20, in­clud­ing

of duck leg

de cam­pagne, con­fit cas­soulet mousse au choco­lat. See


See ab­so­lute­ho­ pate

La Cucina has spread its wings from Castletroy, open­ing the new, in­dus­trial-cool La Cucina Cen­tro on Henry Street. It has them rolling in.

Kaya on O’Con­nell Street does ex­cel­lent Thai food, with mains around the €10 mark, and three cour­ses for €15.

Down near the Hunt Mu­seum on Rut­land Street, the Bub­ble Tea Par­adise Healthy Cafe, is a veg­e­tar­ian/ve­gan Mecca, serv­ing an all-day brunch, plus lunchtime ve­gan cur­ries, quinoa burg­ers, wraps, veg­gie quiches and spinach gnoc­chi, in the €3.95€8.95 range.

See re­al­i­tal­ian­food­ See See face­ bub­bletea­par­adise.

Over­look­ing the Shan­non, the Ab­so­lute Bar & Grill does a roast-tur­key club sand­wich at €8.50; and mains at €10/€11, in­clud­ing bangers and mash, a 6oz beef­burger and fish ’n’ fries.

In Gal­way, the very pop­u­lar Asian Tea House in Gal­way has just opened the new Quay Noo­dle on Quay Street. In line with trends, it is serv­ing street food from China, Ja­pan, Thai­land, Viet­nam and Malaysia. Think Thai red beef curry made with rib-eye steak at €12.50, and reams of noo­dles.

Tri­beton, the vast bar venue on Mer­chant’s Road, is hot. It does ca­sual food, with

at €10; posh sam­bos €8.95/€9.95; and plates, in­clud­ing a tur­key burger topped with brie, cran­berry mayo and the trim­mings, at €11.95.

Boss Doyles Bar in the Park House Ho­tel on Forster Street, just off Eyre Square, is a great place to re­vive tired feet and spirits with ex­cel­lent bar food. John Keoghs

The Lock Keeper is the new­est gas­tropub to hit Gal­way’s West End of Up­per Do­minick Street. There’s a won­der­ful old-world at­mos­phere here, and some great gas­tro grub, in­clud­ing braised lamb shoul­der with gar­lic and chive risotto at €17; and crispy, sticky bar­be­cue pork ribs at €8.

Happy Christ­mas to all, and to all a good bite!

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