The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - SEVEN DAYS | EATING OUT - The 40ml Shortcross Gin

clear broth with ver­mi­celli noodles.

The Bún bo hue (¤9.20) is a large bowl of broth and noodles, more of that Viet­namese sausage, and wafer-thin sliv­ers of beef and pork. It’s served with a plate of herbs such as mint and co­rian­der, lime, chilli oil and bean sprouts to mix to your lik­ing.

Stick to the soups and fresh dishes here and you’ll eat well.


Pow­er­scourt Town House Cen­tre, South Wil­liam St, Dublin 2, tel: 01-707 1610, thep­ep­per­ ¤ Wrap­ping around the first mez­za­nine level of the Pow­er­scourt Cen­tre, this is a bustling lit­tle café with some of the best scram­bled eggs in Dublin. Pos­si­bly best. There, I said it.

With its cut­sie mis­matched table­cloths and crock­ery, it has a ram­shackle, homely ap­peal. It’s open from 10am to 6pm – the Pow­er­scourt open­ing hours. The menu in­cludes an all-day break­fast – those creamy scram­bled eggs with mush­rooms and toast (¤7.50) hit the spot at any time of day. There’s also or­ganic por­ridge (¤4) with toppings such as roasted pear or ba­nana and honey. There’s a soup of the day (¤5), on the day we visit it is an ex­cel­lent wild Ir­ish mush­room with tar­ragon and a splodge of whipped feta. You can get sand­wiches – the Mount Cal­lan ched­dar with ba­con and roast pear (¤6.50) is par­tic­u­larly good – plus home­made bagels, tarts and sal­ads. There are al­ways a cou­ple of spe­cials – a huge, free range Pigs on the Green pulled pork sambo on fo­cac­cia with caramelised onion and pickle (¤11.50) looks very good, but we opt for a big bowl of that soup with home­made brown bread heav­ily laced with seeds and a slab of but­ter.

You can add a cup of soup to any main course for ¤2.50. A salad of pan fried goat’s cheese with Gubeen chorizo and vine toma­toes may have lost the toma­toes en route from the kitchen, but the fatty discs of chorizo and the thick slice of cheese, coated in po­lenta and fried golden were very, very good. Staff are busy but very friendly here, and it’s a bril­liant spot to watch the world go by. A real treat.


Naughton In­sti­tute, Pearse Street, Trinity Col­lege, Dublin 2, dublin.sci­ence­ café ¤¤ This bustling, tri­an­gu­lar café nar­rows to a per­fect point in the wedge-shaped Naughton build­ing. Serv­ing break­fasts, lunches, and host­ing lots of events linked to ex­hi­bi­tions in the gallery, it’s a fun, fre­netic place to come for a cof­fee, ex­cel­lent pastries, piz­zas, sal­ads or a bowl of stewp – a stew/soup hy­brid served from noon un­til closing time (usu­ally 8pm). It’s the kind of place you come for a cuppa and end up get­ting caught up in an ex­per­i­ment or scrib­bling on a black­board.

Notic­ing a rare lull on week­end morn­ings, the cafe has just launched its Beta Brunch, from noon to 3pm ev­ery Satur­day and Sun­day. This four-course brunch kicks off with fresh fruit punch – with


The Dublin Gin & Tonic Fest – from the same or­gan­is­ers as the re­cent Wine Fes­ti­val – will take place in 30 lo­ca­tions around the city from June 22nd un­til June 27th. You can buy a ¤5 wrist­band in all par­tic­i­pat­ing venues and you’ll get 30 per cent off spe­cial G&Ts dur­ing the fes­ti­val. Three pre­mium Ir­ish gins will take cen­tre stage: Din­gle Gin, Glen­dalough Wild Spring Botan­i­cal Gin and Co Down’s Shortcross Gin, which fea­tures in this recipe be­low for Shooter’s G&Twhich will be served in Diep Le Shaker (dieple­ or with­out rum. When we visit it’s ap­ple and gin­ger served in lab flasks, with a smaller flask of or­ange juice to mix to taste. The menu is set – a bread and dip course, a ce­real course, an eggy course and dessert – and while you have to choose be­tween gra­nola and pud­ding, the rest is cho­sen for you; sur­pris­ingly com­fort­ing for some rather ten­der heads who have been out cel­e­brat­ing the same-sex mar­riage ref­er­en­dum re­sult.

There are plat­ters of dense buttermilk bread stud­ded with wal­nuts, sweet flecks of onion and fresh herbs and served with a de­li­cious whipped goats cheese with herb oil and dukkah. A choice of gra­nola with stewed figs and a chai flavoured yo­ghurt was deemed su­pe­rior to a “frog-spawny” chia seed pud­ding with pre­served berries and ed­i­ble flow­ers (although the lat­ter won on aes­thetics). You’re re­minded of your sci­en­tific sur­round­ings when a wild gar­lic omelette is ac­com­pa­nied by herb-flavoured mal­todex­trin dust. The flavour is so faint it’s more for show, but there’s also more familiar ba­con and as­para­gus to bring you back to Planet Brunch.

Dessert is again very pretty but very sweet – a trifle of goose­berry and lemon, vi­o­let sugar and crushed gin­ger nut bis­cuits. It costs ¤25 each, in­clud­ing lo­cal Cloud Picker cof­fee or teas such as a cold Cas­cara brew – again served in lab flasks – a light, sweet tea made from the cher­ries of the cof­fee plant. The Beta Brunch makes a fun change from the Eggs Bene­dict of­fer­ings. Great for groups.


2-3 Drury Street, Dublin 2, tel: 01-679 9009, su­per­miss­ ¤¤ From the same sta­ble as 777, Dillingers and The Butcher Grill, John Far­rell had big plans for this cor­ner build­ing on Drury Street – to in­clude Cervi, an old-style Ital­ian fish and chip shop, a ca­sual seafood café, and a more for­mal restau­rant (this hasn’t ma­te­ri­alised yet). He’s had plan­ning and power is­sues, and sub­se­quently opened a 3 fresh strands of pea shoots 1cm ruby grapefruit peel Fever tree tonic Get the pea shoots and give them a slap to re­lease the oils and aro­mas and add to the glass. Add plenty of ice and the gin. Twist the grapefruit peel over the glass, rub on the stem and rim and pop in to the glass. Top with the tonic & serve. “pop­down” restau­rant in the base­ment. Now the ca­sual ground-floor café has had a menu over­hall, with a strong Caribbean in­flu­ence. There’s a lovely, airy dining room here although seat­ing is limited (we are brought be­hind the bar to reach our far ta­ble, so as not to disturb a large group). A square booth is prob­a­bly the best seat in the house on a cold, wet evening. There is a long ice bar hold­ing fresh fish – which still fea­tures heav­ily on the new menu – on the smaller plates, fried gam­bas with a sweet red pep­per vinai­grette (¤10) come fat and well cooked, some shell on, oth­ers shell off. There are some ex­cel­lent crab claws (¤10), braised in cast-iron pot with a rich, mor­eish “shell­fish and tomato ragout” and some very good sour­dough.

The Caribbean in­flu­ence is less ev­i­dent in the smaller dishes, although there was a nod east in some sticky duck wings (¤10) – far su­pe­rior to their chicken cousins – which came with a gin­ger and mango sauce and topped with lots of chilli and gar­lic (no kiss­ing af­ter th­ese).

The heat turns up in the mains, with char­grilled Jerk poussin with but­tered yams and scal­lions (¤19) and a black­ened sword­fish burger with mango (¤18). We opted for a rich West In­dian glazed beef short rib (¤22) – fat and heavy on a rather whop­ping rib bone – served with roasted pineap­ple, spices and dressed lib­er­ally with crushed peanuts.

Best of the mains is a whole sea bass (¤19), coated in panko and fried crispy on the out­side, while still de­li­ciously del­i­cate in­side – propped on a bowl of sweet and sour black beans. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see the fi­nal phase open­ing at this spot, pos­si­bly later this year.


29 Forster Street, Gal­way, 091-530 729, face­ Jun­gleCafeGal­way ¤ This place does ex­actly what it says on the tin – it’s a lit­tle palm tree-in­hab­ited trop­i­cal oa­sis, of­fer­ing wel­come respite from the hus­tle of Eyre Square around the cor­ner (and two rowdy hen par­ties bar­relling past into town).

On a rainy Gal­way day, the open-air seat­ing is sur­pris­ingly cosy, un­der­neath its cor­ru­gated Per­spex roof. There’s a tiny in­door area, with a kitchen and some baris­tas mak­ing elab­o­rate de­signs on Bad­ger and Dodo cof­fees. There’s seat­ing for only three or four peo­ple in­side, so once you’ve or­dered, it’s out to the jun­gle in the yard, filled with couches and wicker fur­ni­ture. There’s chill out mu­sic and sack cloth cov­er­ing chairs. All around, there are pots grow­ing herbs (we spy chives, dill and mint) and heads of let­tuce and even a small lemon tree. The menu is small: half-a-dozen break­fast items, some gourmet sand­wiches, fresh smooth­ies and juices, soup and some pastries. There are a cou­ple of spe­cials on the board – a Ly­on­naise sand­wich (¤7) looks good – a tower of salad, mayo and pancetta topped with poached eggs, as does the Cow­boy Soup – a thick stew of tomato, ba­con and chick­peas (¤5). We’ve been ad­vised to come here to try the omelette with onion, mush­room and cheese but are too late for the break­fast menu (which fin­ishes at noon). In­stead we or­der a pitta pocket with or­ganic salad – with leaves that ac­tu­ally taste of some­thing – av­o­cado and dress­ing (¤6.50). It’s a lit­tle steep for a veg­e­tar­ian pitta, but it comes crammed with very fresh salad with shav­ings of car­rot and cu­cum­ber, and also some home­made hum­mus. The only down­side is that the pitta isn’t toasted. The baguette with fig, pro­sciutto and moz­zarella (¤7.20) does see the un­der­side of the grill – two long halves of fresh, doughy baguette are toasted un­til the cheese has bub­bled and are then topped with sweet sliv­ers of fig and lots of salty pro­sciutto and an­other moun­tain of those home­grown leaves. As we leave, a waiter wa­ters pots of edi­bles around us – great to see a small cafe be­ing so self-suf­fi­cient.


Radisson Blu Ho­tel, Lough Atalia, Gal­way, 091-538 212, radis­son­hotel­gal­ ¤¤ Perched on the fourth floor of the Radisson Blu Gal­way, RAW of­fers a sushi menu that also in­cludes a hand­ful of cold meat and veg­etable dishes. While the room re­tains a slightly cor­po­rate look from its pre­vi­ous in­car­na­tion as a meet­ing room, ser­vice is warm and friendly and the view from your ta­ble looks out over Lough Atalia to Gal­way Bay, where some of your din­ner has been landed. The menu is split into var­i­ous types of sushi, such as ni­giri (slices of fish on a ball of rice), maki (sushi rolls in seaweed), te­maki (hand rolled cones of fish and rice) and sashimi (slices of raw fish). Prices range from ¤4 to ¤18. There’s also an in­ter­est­ing sushi bowl (¤12) of sushi rice topped with fish in­clud­ing yel­low fin tuna and salmon, veggies, roe and nori (seaweed). There’s an ex­pla­na­tion of what each dish en­tails – use­ful for peo­ple new to sushi – and you can see head chef Hisashi Ku­ma­gai work­ing away, ex­pertly as­sem­bling your din­ner. A bowl of edamame (salty steamed soy beans) is a must-have – pop­ping them out of their shell gives the same sat­is­fac­tion as pop­ping bub­ble-wrap. It’s also nice to see the price at ¤3, when so many places charge twice that th­ese days. Maki op­tions in­clude a Cal­i­for­nia roll (¤8) with real crab (as op­posed to dread­ful pro­cessed crab sticks). There’s also a de­li­cious spi­der roll – fried soft-shell crab with av­o­cado and mus­tard cress – which has good, meaty crab and is the right bal­ance of crunchy and creamy. A plate of tuna tataki (¤13) has barely seared slices of yel­low fin, with a sake, soy and vine­gar sauce, topped with a punchy mix of spring onion, gar­lic, gin­ger and daikon radish. The four-course set menu (¤35) is a good way to try a num­ber of dishes. It in­cludes miso soup, and choices such as eel un­agi rolls, a sashimi se­lec­tion (the tuna is good – fatty but melt­ing), a chef’s 6-piece se­lec­tion of ni­giri and maki, and a very good Bar­bary duck breast (¤13), smoked and cut into thin sliv­ers that are dark pink in­side. It’s been marinated in mirin, sake and konbu (a type of kelp) and the ex­plo­sion of smoky, salty, umami flavours in your mouth is quite some­thing.

This is good spot for a date (ask for a win­dow seat) and you can also get take out.

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