BODY AND SOUL FOOD Body and Soul begins today, kicking off this year’s festival season with a bang… and a slurp, a crunch and a chew. There are some great food offerings this year, so we’ve rounded up some of the best foodie happenings and refuelling options if you’re heading to Ballinlough Castle this weekend.
On the Wunderlust stage at 1pm on Sunday,
will host a discussion on “Feeding your Body & Soul”, looking at how we can be kind to our bodies through what and how we eat. Aoife will be joined by Anne Marie Downey and Claire Gardiner of Kickstart (facebook.com/ kickstartdublin), a programme that focuses on how what we eat affects our moods, energy and health. Chefs David and Stephen Flynn from The Happy Pear (thehappypear.ie) will also join the discussion with what they’ve learned from Happy Heart classes: crash courses in how to get healthy through what you eat.
Another weekend-long event worth looking out for is the John and Sally McKenna of McKenna’s Guides are bringing a team to the festival, including Caroline Byrne of Euro-Toques, and Euro-Toques Young Chef-of-the-year Ian McHale, from Chapter One, to hunt down the best soul food on offer. Keep an eye out for them as they face the mammoth task of testing the 45 or so food and drink vendors throughout the weekend. They will be awarding a number of awards, including The Judges Award (for great food), a Best Dressed Award (for the best-looking van or stall) and a Green Award (judged for the least environmental impact). Festival goers can also have their say. You can vote for the Soul Food Awards
Festival Food Awards.
by tweeting your thoughts on the best food you try down there to @McKennasGuides with the hashtag #bodysoulfood15.
As for what you’ll be eating on site, the festival ethos is to keep food organic, fair trade, locally sourced and unprocessed where possible. So the only thing that will be chipper at the food stalls will be the staff…
For that head-clearing, belly-prepping breakfast fix, there are cold-pressed juices from Their Supergreen juice (kales, spinach, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple, pear, lemon and ginger) is crammed with antioxidents and will help even the most persistent hangover. Here at The Ticket, we subscribe to the bacon butty/ sausage sambo school of festival breakfast, so a trip to
for a breakfast bap is a good idea – they’re serving them stuffed with bacon, sausage, pudding and relish. There are loads of coffee options (all Fairtrade),
Sprout & Co.
The Market Burger
The Long Dock is a gem at the heart of Loop Head and the perfect stopping-off point en route to climb the lighthouse over Clare’s spectacular cliffs. As you’d hope in this part of the world (but not always find), the seafood selection is spectacular.
One a recent visit we got stuck into a massive bowl of mussels in a delicious wine and garlic sauce (¤9.95); great, meaty crab claws (¤13.95); a surf and turf that delivered loads of flavour and great value
The Brew Crew, Little Rascal Brunels
and (who will be serving iced frappes if the weather does as it promises and Sunday is a scorcher).
Later in the day, or night, there’s a wide variety of fresh options and a relatively healthy line-up in terms of festival food. The ubiquitous falafel will make an appearance at a number of stalls. You can get traditional Palestinian falafel at Hers come wrapped with hummus, tabbouleh, red cabbage, tomatoes, hot sauce and pickles. You can also add slices of chewy grilled halloumi cheese.
Or try the (you can’t miss it, it’s in a double decker bus), which serves falafel in a wrap with leaves, tomato, peppers, hummus, parsley and a rather questionable dollop of sweet chilli sauce (you can ask for it without this).
Speaking of buses, the guys from the (of Bernard Shaw fame) will be at the festival, pizza ovens at the
Suha’s blue falafel stand.
at ¤19.95; and a rich, creamy seafood pie hiding beneath a pillowy mash top (¤14.95).
The daily specials are much more adventurous than we were on this visit. The cosy bar setting and roaring fire was the perfect antidote to one of those early summer days that delivered all four seasons in one. This is one worth making a lengthy detour for.
HA NOI-HA NOI
Eco Bus Café,
Big Blue Bus
101-102 Capel street, Dublin 1, 01-878 8798, facebook.com/ hanoidublin ¤ This new Vietnamese restaurant on the top of – where else? – Capel Street eschews the ready, to dish out their great thin-crusted pizzas, including the Molly Malone (fresh buffalo mozzarella, tomato, oregano and basil) and the Bus Bianca (sun dried tomatoes, parmesan, parma, rocket and buffalo mozzarella).
One of our favourite festival dinners – if you can stand the queue – comes from
whose pies with mash, mushy peas and gravy will fill you for the night. We like the Matador (beef steak, chorizo, olive and butter bean) or for vegetarians, the Heidi is great, stuffed with gooey goats cheese, sweet potato, spinach and red onion.
is another familiar sight at festivals and can be relied upon for massive portions of Thai favourites, such as peanutty pad Thai rice noodles, creamy Massaman curry or spicy green chicken curry. The heat is also high at
where a Keralan cocounut curry and naan is a great Sunday afternoon lunch with a beer. Or for something even spicier, the does
look and feel of its neighbouring Asian restaurants. Instead, it looks like a mix of New York loft (exposed brickwork everywhere), Georgian Dublin (high ceilings with ornate coving and roses) and Tiki hut (with its bamboo bar and bright gold decorations and trinkets).
Once your senses have recovered from the décor, this is an incredibly friendly place, with attentive Vietnamese staff. The menu is lengthy, with dishes arranged by style rather than strict starters and mains. There are many familiar dishes, such as pho, the ubiquitous Vietnamese rice noodle soup, thin Vietnamese crepes and banh mi (the French-influenced pork baguettes with salad).
lip-tingling buffalo wings (think the best of Frank’s sauce, but in a field) and decent skinny fries. There’s one of the best selections around for vegetarians and vegans, with
and out salads and wraps,
do roasted baby potatoes, served as Patatas Bravas and other veggie offerings (they also do meaty chorizo and roast red pepper ones for carnivores).
For dessert, try some freshly made churros - the moreish Spanish doughnuts with chocolate sauce - from
or there are handmade ice creams from
in Wicklow – we’ve got our eye on their tiramisu flavour.
And finally, to add some crunch to your weekend, keep an eye out for who will be serving up nostalgic crisp sandwiches on site throughout the weekend.
After that, you’ll need to do some serious dancing to work it all off.
– Rachel Collins
Summer rolls (¤4.20), the fresher, healthier sibling of spring rolls, come in pairs, served cold with pork, prawn, rice noodles, herbs and cucumber wrapped tightly in a soft rice paper roll and served with a spicy satay dipping sauce - like an explosion of summer in your mouth. There’s also a vegetarian version of these rolls, which are good value at ¤3.50.
A Hanoi platter for one (¤7.80) includes one of the summer rolls, plus two spring rolls filled with pork, prawn and crab – the Vietnamese ones are crispier than their Chinese counterpart – and a fat crab claw surrounded by a minced crab and prawn stuffing and fried.
The only dud of the smaller
Body & Soul, Ballinlough Castle,
The Happy The Fat Wrap
plates are the steamed rice rolls (¤6.50), thin rolls with just a scraping of minced pork and mushroom, that have been steamed into a glutinous mush and served with “Vietnamese pate”, which turns out to be large, thin slices of sausage.
Better was the Hanoi turmeric fish fillet (¤13.90) which is elaborately mixed in a sizzling pot at your table to incorporate vegetables, fresh herbs, peanuts and rice noodles. Although it became quite oily, the flavour of the fish (hake ) was good. A fresh crab meat salad stir fried with barely-there vermicelli rice noodles (¤9.50) was again a little heavy on oil, but was full of good, fresh crab, crunchy bok choi and herbs. There are a number of Bún soups - spicy,