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The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - SEVEN DAYS | EATING OUT -

Cel­e­brat­ing its ninth year in business – my how time flies – this George’s Street restau­rant was quite the nov­elty when it opened, with its plate-lined walls and never-end­ing din­ing room serv­ing whole ro­tis­serie chick­ens and suck­ling pigs to feed 10 peo­ple. At Sixty6 they ob­vi­ously be­lieve if it ain’t broke and all that … so ever since they’ve been plat­ing up hearty fare such as mixed seafood grills, burg­ers, steaks, sal­ads and roast­ing just about any an­i­mal they can get their hands on. They do good Here­ford fil­let steaks (¤32.90 with pota­toes, spinach, mush­rooms and pep­per­corn sauce) and huge, fluffy build­ing block chips. Keep an eye out for their deals, which fre­quently mean you can eat for half price. A good spot for groups

EDEN BAR & GRILL

7 South Wil­liam Street, Dublin 2, Ire­land, tel: (01) 6706887, eden­barand­grill.ie ¤ A good brunch spot, Eden Bar & Grill (the off­shoot of the orig­i­nal Eden on Meet­ing House Square) has all the brunch bases cov­ered: a good win­dow seat for peo­ple watch­ing on South Wil­liam Street, comfy ban­quettes for those who are in­ca­pable of sit­ting up­right, and a very bright, high-ceilinged atrium out the back for the perky post-pi­lates and yummy mummy bri­gade. On the plate, things are more con­sis­tent. Dishes all hover around the ten­ner mark and in­clude salt-baked beet­root with goats cheese, poached eggs and wild mush­rooms and wild asparagus omelette with al­monds and Cashel Blue.

ETTO

18 Mer­rion Row, Dublin 2, 01 678 8872 info@etto.ie ¤¤ Barely a year old, Etto has al­ready earned enough ac­co­lades to snap at Michael Phelps’ heels – most re­cently a Miche­lin Bib Gour­mand. When they opened up last year, the trio of friends be­hind this lit­tle eatery lured us in with their pork belly and smoked eel cro­quettes and prosecco on tap. They’ve been wow­ing din­ers ever since with an ev­ery chang­ing Ital­ian-in­spired menu of small (from ¤10) and large plates (from about ¤19), rang­ing from the sweet­est char­grilled baby leeks to nduja – this year’s chorizo – served with mus­sels and sam­phire.

EAT­ING OUT IN WEX­FORD

The first notes of Wex­ford Fes­ti­val Opera were war­bled on Wed­nes­day, and the event runs un­til Novem­ber 2nd, so if you’re head­ing to Wex­ford, here are some places worth check­ing out.

Salomé is one of the main op­eras this year, with a score com­posed by French sailor-turned-com­poser An­toine Mar­i­otte and based on Os­car Wilde’s 1891 play. With lyrics en­tirely in French, you can get in the mood be­fore­hand with a visit to Paul Hynes’s mod­ern French seafood restau­rant (Cus­tom House Quay, Wex­ford town, 053-930 1893) where you can get two cour­ses for ¤24, or three for ¤28. Us­ing seafood from nearby Kil­more Quay, Hynes’s pretty French dishes in­clude

La Côte

Larger dishes in­clude feath­erblade steak, and pump­kin and ri­cotta ravi­oli. They’re big fans of po­lenta and lardo, and that’s just fine by us. The lengthy wine list of­fers a chance to break away from the usu­als, in­clud­ing a rich ruby Aus­trian Blaufränkisch.

FOR­EST AV­ENUE

8 Sus­sex Ter­race, Dublin 4 01-667 8337, forestav­enuer­estau­rant.ie ¤¤¤ John and Sandy Wyer sur­prised ev­ery­one when they opened For­est Av­enue last year. The hus­band-and-wife team took the brave move of set­ting up a fine-din­ing restau­rant in an old take­away pizza joint, deck­ing it out in sparse Scan­di­na­vian fur­ni­ture, only of­fer­ing tast­ing menus … it was loaded with risk, but it has more than paid off. The food here is truly ex­cel­lent, with the kitchen pro­duc­ing 2-, 3- and 5-course menus (¤27, ¤33 and ¤48) that re­mind us of the won­drous things that can be done with Ir­ish pro­duce. John and his team make Kil­more crab ravi­oli, spring roll of salt cod bran­dad and a seafood mor­nay with lo­cal ched­dar.

Also in Wex­ford town, (80 South Main Street, Wex­ford, cistineilewex­ford.com, 053-912 1616) casts its net closer to home, with a sea­sonal Ir­ish menu that cur­rently in­cludes had­dock and net­tle cro­quette on lentils, grilled Doyles corned-beef sand­wiches, roast Dun­cor­mack Goat, Kil­more cod, Wex­ford lamb cut­lets and even a cab­bage salad. Three cour­ses for ¤29, or lunch from ¤6.

If you’re plan­ning on spend­ing the night in the south east,

(Dun­can­non, New Ross, Co Wex­ford, aldridgelodge.com, 051 389116) is a 45-minute drive from the opera house and is more than worth the de­tour. Pro­pri­etors Billy Whitty and Joanne Harding have won wide­spread ac­claim for their ru­ral restau­rant and guest­house. Euro-Toques chef Whitty’s

Aldridge Lodge

in­gre­di­ents such as bar­ley, veni­son, pump­kin, sal­sify, home­made ri­cotta and tiny, pinched ag­nolotti pasta sing. They also do week­end brunch here, which is a stand­out in a city laden down with eggs Bene­dict. Again, it’s a per­fectly timed and pro­por­tioned tast­ing menu, with cof­fee and some­thing sweet, home­made gra­nola, usu­ally an egg course then a meat course and fin­ish­ing off with another sweet treat. At ¤24 it’s more than you might usu­ally spend on brunch, but it’s an event worth the splurge.

THE FUM­BALLY

Fum­bally Lane, Dublin 8, 01-529 8732, the­fum­bally.ie € Mak­ing kale sexy is a tall or­der – Cal­i­for­nian red­wood kind of tall. But the folks at The Fum­bally have man­aged just that, and with the least ap­petis­ing part of kale too, the tough spines. The Fum­bally’s kale ribs – they call them “poor man’s asparagus” but there’s noth­ing poor about them – are de­li­cious and just one of a

Cistín Eile

HOP HOUSE

five-course tast­ing menu is a steal for only ¤28.50. He fo­cuses on lo­cal in­gre­di­ents, in­clud­ing lots of seafood from nearby Dun­can­non and Kil­more har­bours, wild Elda veni­son from Dun­hill, across the bor­der in Water­ford, and Blue­bell Falls goats cheese from Charleville. The guest­house up­stairs, which is run by Harding (who also man­ages the restau­rant) has com­fort­able rooms with a good view of the sur­round­ing coun­try­side. Din­ner, bed and break­fast deals start at ¤80pp.

Fi­nally, you can com­bine your food and opera with a lunchtime pack­age (¤55) at

A lunchtime recital at 1.05pm at St Iberius Church is fol­lowed by lunch at the opera house, and then for dessert, head to Whites Ho­tel for Short­Work Opera, a one-hour small-stage pro­duc­tion. Book at wex­for­d­opera.com/ pro­gramme or 053 912 2144

– Rachel Collins

House.

whole se­lec­tion of tasty break­fast and lunches at this cav­ernous, in­dus­trial-chic café. Their eggs and ham dish is also a win­ner: creamy scram­bled eggs with Gubbeen cheese, garlic and toma­toes and hot smoked Gubbeen ham ¤6.50 and they do mighty things with av­o­ca­dos too. The sal­ads change all the time, but usu­ally have a su­per­food or two hid­den in there. Ex­pect to queue for ser­vice at the week­ends, and to wres­tle to get a seat. But it’s worth the wait.

Just re­mem­ber, the back wall might be filled with tasty look­ing veg­gies, but do not fill a bas­ket with them and queue all the way to the counter to buy them. They are not for sale – some of us might have learned that the em­bar­rass­ing way… 60-61 Par­nell Street, Dublin1, 01 872 8318, hop­house.ie ¤ Korean food is all the rage th­ese days, but the Hop House was serv­ing it be­fore your granny could say Kim­chi. It’s all a bit crazy, with noise from the

Wex­ford Opera

bar next door spilling through to the restau­rant, but it’s the only place to go for au­then­tic Bibim­bap (a hot stone bowl filled with rice, as­sorted vegetables, Gochu­jang chilli pep­per paste, slices of mar­i­nated beef and a raw egg yolk). Their flash­ing disco pitch­ers of Korean beer are worth the trip alone.

IFI CAFÉ BAR

6 Eus­tace Street, Tem­ple Bar, Dublin 2. 01 679 5744 € A good spot to feed your body be­fore feed­ing your mind at the Ir­ish Film In­sti­tute in Tem­ple Bar.

Serv­ing lunch and din­ner daily from 12.30 (and brunch on Sun­days from 12-4) the IFI café of­fers a good range of sand­wiches, burg­ers, sal­ads and stews – most com­ing in un­der a ten­ner. It also has loads of desserts, a small wine list and a grow­ing num­ber of craft beers. They also run events to coin­cide with the films be­ing shown on the three screens, so on Wed­nes­day Oc­to­ber 29th, you can watch Re­turn To Glen­nascaul, pro­duced by Micheál MacLi­ammóir , and follow it up with a meal in the café af­ter­wards. Or the Hor­rorthon menu, run­ning till Mon­day, has zom­bie cock­tails, and food spe­cials for peo­ple com­ing to the Hal­loween-themed hor­ror flicks.

KC PEACHES

28-29 Nas­sau Street, Dublin 2, 01 633 6872, kc­peaches.com ¤ What’s that? You’d like a plate of lasagne with some cur­ried beef, tab­bouleh salad, roast pota­toes, creamed spinach and rice? And you’d like to follow it with a cookie the size of your head? Well you’ve come to the right place. KC Peaches’ buf­fet-style cafes do de­cent food, fast.

You pay ac­cord­ing to your plate (or take-away box) size, and you’re free to load it with any­thing from the dozen or so hot dishes, plus a var­ied, healthy salad bar. With small hot plates start­ing at ¤4.80 your lunchtime en­ter­tain­ment is pro­vided by Trin­ity stu­dents from across the road who en­ter into a Jenga-style plate filling com­pe­ti­tions (and the be­wil­dered tourists watch­ing them). You can also get tasty made-to-or­der sand­wiches and sal­ads and ex­cel­lent baked goods. There are four KC Peaches out­lets in Dublin now, but the Nas­sau Street branch re­mains the best for lunch.

MUSASHI SUSHI

15 Capel Street, Dublin 1 01-532 80 68, musashidublin.com Unit 2, Bur­ton Hall, Cus­tom house Square, Mayor St Dublin 1 01-55573 73, ¤ Dublin’s best sushi restau­rant broke our hearts when it opened in far too small a room on Capel Street a few years ago. No book­ings, scant space, you have to el­bow your way in to try their de­li­cious Ebi Tem­pura Masago rolls, sliv­ers of spicy tuna or sashimi se­lec­tion named after Ja­panese flow­ers. Thank­fully its newer, larger sis­ter restau­rant in the IFSC makes it eas­ier to ac­cess this taste of Ja­pan. And the qual­ity of their de­liv­ery menu is ex­cel­lent, recre­at­ing the restau­rant ex­pe­ri­ence, even if you don’t have the cute Ja­panese fur­ni­ture at home.

M&L CHI­NESE

13/14 Cathe­dral St, Dublin 1, (01) 874 8038, mlchi­ne­ser­estau­rant.com ¤ Claim­ing the spot as Dublin’s “most au­then­tic Szechuan restau­rant”, M&L has gar­nered a cult fol­low­ing thanks to its seem­ingly end­less list of tasty, MSG-free dishes. Fans speak in hushed tones of the “Chi­nese-lan­guage menu” that (most likely doesn’t) have ex­tra spe­cial­ties on it. No mat­ter, the English-lan­guage one of­fers de­lights such as braised seabass in hot and spicy sauce and steamed ra­zor clams with rice noo­dles. The spicy beef is about 50 per cent chilli – only for the brave of con­sti­tu­tion.

NEON

17 Cam­den St Lower, Dublin 2, 01-405 2222, neon17.ie ¤ It’s a real bone of con­tention – the op­ti­mum tech­nique with which to pull the big­gest ice cream cone. Hours of rowdy re­search has gone into it (and an old Satur­day job pulling

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