KILKENNY TOP TIPPLE WATERFORD
16 Aungier Street, Dublin 2, 01 475 9003, whitefriargrill.ie ¤¤ For many, this is the top brunch venue in town – and we have to admit the huevos rancheros (fried eggs, chorizo, black eyed beans, salsa and guacamole on tortillas, ¤10.95) and tomato fondue (sourdough toast with tomato “fondue”, avocado, asparagus, chilli jam and poached eggs, ¤11.95) make it hard to argue.
Now they’re eyeing the growing market for meatheavy meals, with “Whitefriar Grill Cuts”. The new range of dishes (meats are from local butchers McLoughlans and Hicks) are paired with wine and Irish craft beers and include an 8oz eye of rump steak, with BBQ ribs and chips (¤23.50), paired with Kinsale Black IPA. If you’re pushing the boat out, an 8oz fillet steak with bonemarrow crust, spinach, mushroom tarte tatin and a pepper sauce (¤32.50) paired with Ripasso Valpolicella Bertani. Our eye is on the 30-day dry aged 10oz New York striploin, with garlicky prawns and chips, ¤26.50. Prepare for the meat sweats . . .
LEMONGRASS HOT BUTTERED WHISKEY
This week’s Top Tipple is a may look like an innocent cup of coffee, but it’s a true winter warmer – created by Sean Gargano of the Woollen Mills (42 Ormond Quay Lower, Dublin 1, thewoollenmills.com)
This drink is Sean’s take on hot buttered rum and has been described as “melted, liquid Christmas pudding”. If you’re making at home, you’ll have to tinker with the quantities of spices until it’s to your liking. Sean pulled a 771 5333, lemongrass.ie ¤¤ One of four restaurants of the same name across the east of the country, this place manages to avoid the soulless feeling often associated with chains. Serving a hodge-podge of southeast Asian fare, with some Chinese staples thrown in, it has a decently priced early bird and rather bizarrely, a special Tuesday-night menu. Colonel Saunders and is keeping his exact blend a secret, but you can recreate using this method 100g unsalted butter 150g light brown sugar 15ml tblsp maple syrup Pinch of nutmeg From the a la carte menu, the duck pancakes (¤8.95) stand out, with lots of crispy duck, cucumber, carrot, spring onion and hoi sin and, unusually for Ireland, more duck than pancakes – a rare occurrence. Barbequed baby back ribs (¤7.75) were tasty, but tough, and the mustard and mango sauce is a tad cloying. Mains are not cheap, but are stronger Pinch of cinnamon Small pinch of all spice Small pinch of ground cloves 40ml Irish whiskey Boiling water Just as if you were making cookies, cream the unsalted butter with the sugar, maple than starters, with spicy Bangkok prawns in a hot and sour sauce (¤20.60), a good take on the Indonesian fried rice dish Nasi Goreng (¤17.10) and a crispy whole butterflied sea bass with a mild Thai panang curry sauce (¤20.90). Service is excellent – the heating packed it in on the chilly night we ate there and the staff managed to keep a syrup, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and ground cloves.
You can chill the butter at this point and it will keep for ages in the fridge.
Add a heaped dessertspoon of room-temperature spiced butter to a warmed mug with 40ml Irish whiskey. Sean uses Green Spot as it’s his favourite but Jameson or Powers work perfectly too. Top up with boiling water and stir until butter dissolves and a foam appears on top like a good coffee.
If you want more “bite”, good bourbon works well. Also, you can go old-school and use the traditional rum. However, this is Christmas in Dublin so Sean is using the home-grown mellow stuff. restaurant full of freezing customers happy – no mean feat.
19 Henrietta Street, Waterford, 051-858426, restaurant-latmosphere.com A pleasant bistro on a small laneway in the heart of Waterford city, L’Atmosphere does French classics in a slightly slapdash manner, with a dash of style service thrown in. It offers multiple menus (a la carte, vegetarian, a ¤29 menu and a ¤20 early bird menu, all written in a charming mishmash of Franglais).
The ¤20 menu is excellent value: three courses plus a glass of decent house wine before 6.45pm. Hard to beat that, even if much of the items on the menu had “just finished”.
A country terrine starter, with pickle, toast and onion marmalade was creamy and rich – even better when smeared on some generous servings of caraway seed bread that kept arriving at the table. An interesting special of poached egg on a bed of red cabbage and cream sauce was also very good. Duck confit was dark and sticky and luxurious, though the accompanying veg was lacklustre; an enormous cast iron pot of beef bourguignon was earthy and a perfect winter warmer of a dish, loaded with vegetables and a rather watery but tasty sauce. They did good service to the crème brûlée (a French restaurant really must) but – – serving instant coffee from a sachet?