by Marianne Krause and Joseph Hayden – sell a well- chosen selection of goodies. There is DeCecco pasta, Ortiz anchovies and Periquin smoked paprika among the extra virgin olive oils and Modena balsamic vinegars.
The wine list is short and predominantly Italian, though a few French, Spanish and New Zealand bottles get a look-in. There is also a house white and a house red on tap, at ¤6 for a quarter litre. Irish craft beer is represented by bottles of Stonewell Cider (¤5.20), and the full 8 Degrees Brewing range (¤4.90 per bottle). Non-drinkers are well looked after thanks to the Luscombe range of lemonades, made in Devon, England.
There is good-quality bread and olives to start (¤3.50), and the pizzas are dazzlingly enormous. The La Mamma pizza (¤12) on the Pizza Bianco (a pizza with a mozzarella base instead of tomato sauce) calls out to me. I’m rewarded with a monster personal pizza topped with melted gorgonzola, dotted with chunks of Italian sausage and slices of mushroom. The Dolomiti (¤13.50) features a tomato sauce with mozzarella, porcini mushrooms, and speck, topped with large handfuls of crispy rocket. Also on the menu are crowd-pleasing pasta dishes such as lasagna (¤9) and the locavore-friendly linguine with Clarinbridge clams (¤12). The locals who recommended The Tide Full Inn were right; this pizza is really good. They’re open every day, except Tuesdays, from noon to 10pm. Keep them in mind for your next adventure out West.
51 Lower Dominick St, Galway 091-449252 dela.ieg Wife and husband Margaret and Joe Bohan opened Dela in 2013, in the space that used to house JP McMahon’s Cava restaurant. The menu offers comfort food classics such as steamed Killary mussels with chorizo, fennel and white wine (¤6.50 starter) and the dela sweet potato tagine Hot Pot (¤14.50).
I’m curious about the Middle and Far Eastern influences that run through the vegetarian options in the brunch and dinner menus. The appearance of a falafel and hummus on a Scandi-inspired Irish restaurant, among the free-range mustard chicken and seared steak sandwiches, feels a little off message. But it all tastes great. The veggie breakfast (¤8.50) comes with crispy falafel and a lightly battered cauliflower pakora. Paired with fried potatoes, mushrooms, eggs and fried tomatoes, it’s a big plate of food and a welcome hangover buster. My buttermilk pancakes (¤8.50) are made in the American style, stacked tall on the plate, drizzled with maple syrup and served with good-quality bacon.
The breakfast burrito is not a breakfast option I’m a fan of – too messy, too big, too Guy Fieri – but Dela does an elegant job of it. The brunch burrito (¤7.50) is wrapped in a toasty tortilla that doesn’t go soggy halfway through. The flavours of the scrambled eggs, the relish and the coriander and lime salsa are balanced well. Dela is open for brunch and dinner only.
155bRathgarRoad Dublin6 fia.ie FiaCafésitsona crossroadson Dublin’sRathgarRoad,between thevillages ofRathmines and Rathgar,almost oppositethe imposingChurchofThree Patrons.AcustomerofFia,who hasbeenaround theneighbourhoodlongerthanmost, rememberstalesofafamous butcher’sthatoncethrivedinthis space.Until Fiacamealongjust lastmonth, thisspot hadbeen emptyforsometime.
FiaCaféisthebrainchild of friendsandbusinesspartners AlanandDerek.While researchingcoffeeandcafesinthecity, theytriedsome RoastedBrown coffeefrom ThruTheGreen in Dundrumandlovedit.They contactedFergBrownfrom RoastedBrown,who inturn recommendedKeithColeman, formerlyofTheFumbally, as someonewhocouldhelpthem setupthemenu.Colemancame onasaconsultant chef, butliked
The Curragower Pub
Clancy’s Strand, Limerick 061-321788 curragower.com ¤ LookingoutontotheRiver Shannon,acrossthewater fromStJohn’s Castle, isthe CurragowerBarandRestaurant. Alongwithhis businesspartner BrianMurphy, CianBourke inheritedthebarin2008.
Undertheir watch, the Curragowerhasbecome renownedforitsfoodoffering, gettingnods fromMcKennas’ Guides,GeorginaCampbell and theIrish RestaurantAwards, amongothers.Curragowerchef BarryHayeshasa selectionof gourmetsandwiches,salads, soupsandspecialson offerfor lunchtime,while anextended menuisoffered atdinnertime thatincludesdishessuchasthe CurragowerFallsBurgerand DingleBayCrabClaws.
Alocal tellsmethatthe seafoodchowder(¤7.50)isa must, andit livesuptothehype. Pinkpiecesofsalmon,plump musselsfrom Doolinandchunks ofspudsliewithin theexcellent creamysoupbase.
It’sagenerous portion, servedwithtwo slicesofgood homemadebrownbread.Abowl offat,goldenchips(¤3.50) make agreattool forchowder dipping. Theclubsalad(¤11.90) impresses,too. Thislargeplateof crunchysaladleavesistopped withstrips ofsaltybaconand toastedcroutons.
Shreddedchunksofmoist chickensoakupasmoked tomatodressing,while a hard-boiledeggmakesthis a saladyourGrannywouldbe proudtoserve. I’m notsurprised thatthispubhasbeenwinning awards.It’s theunderstated attentiontodetailthatreally catchesmyeye.. whattheduowantedtodoand hasbecomea permanentfixture inthiscafe’smodestlysized kitchen.
Intheearlyassembling ofthe FiaCafeteam,Coleman recommendedAislingMcHugh whohadworkedinDublin8 brunchstalwartBiBi’s, and RoastedBrown lentthecafé their baristaJohnny Northcutt, whois makingtheimpeccablebrews (¤3for a flatwhite)withRoasted Brownbeanstheday Ivisit.
Thetoastie(¤7.50) isa pan-friedsambo oozingwith GubbeencheeseandGubbeen smokedham.“BeforeIdecided onthemenu,”sayschefKeith Coleman,“Isatdownandlooked atallthesuppliersIwantedto use.”ThatmeantGubbeenham andcheesewouldappear, alongsideproducefrom McNally’sFamily Farmandblack puddingfromMcCarthy’sin Kanturk.
MylunchisPeasonToast (¤8),a dishthatunapologetically makesuse ofthegoodnessin frozenpeasby toppingtoasted sourdoughwithplentyofthem, andcoveringthem withchunksof McCarthy’stremendousblack pudding. Asoftlyfriedegg sits atop,a sprinklingofherbsalt makingitallthemoreinteresting.
Therearefourbreakfast Opendbyraw-foodchef CarolanneRusheinApriloflast year,SweetBeatCaféisplantbased,asopposedtovegan.“We believethatthetermplant-based ismoreaccessible. Sometimes peoplefearthewordveganand areafraid to tryitoutbecauseof certainnegativeconnotations dishes(servedfrom9amtonoon) andthree lunchdishes(served fromnoonto4pm).Coleman usestwo dailyspecialsasa way totrialdishesfor theirweekend brunchmenu.Ratherthana soup, heoffersamoresubstantial broth-basedhotpot(¤7), a style ofcookinghehadpreviously caughtmyattentionwithinThe Fumbally.
VillageDairy organicmilk goesintothecoffeeandisalso usedfortheirhomemade yogurt, whichColemanmakesona regularbasis.Helikestheslow processofmakingyogurt. This dairyproductdemandsyour attention,andIcanseethe respiteinslowerprocessesfor a multi-taskingchef.
Colemanisakeenforager, andthewildgarlicthatlacesmy lemonyyogurtsauceintheother special– aFilo Pie(¤10)–was pickedtwo daysearlierfroma patchinPhoenixPark.TheFilo Pieisamixofsizeablespinach leavesfromMcNally’sFamily Farm,lightlysteamed, and parcelledintosheets offilo alongsidebay leaves, rosemary, dillseeds, mint, dill, Greek feta fromLilliputStoresinStoneybatterandeggs. It’sa satisfyingtake ontheclassicspanakopita. Colemanmakeshisbrownies (¤2a mini-slice)usingmiso, whichhelpsmakethem extraordinarilyfudge-likeyetnot overlysweet.
Themenuwill change regularly,andwill beinfluenced bywhatColeman’ssupplierscan offerhim.
“It’sanicewayto planthe menu,”saysColeman.“Itryto useeverythingIorder. IfIdon’t usesomethingor Iover-order,I trytopickleordehydrate ingredientsto makethemostout oftheproduce.”
Indeed,whenIfirst popmy headthroughthedoor,Iseehim carryingtwo traysofdehydrated onionsintothekitchen, destined toadd adistinctivelayer of flavourtoa dishhereat Fia.
VisitonTuesdayto Friday from7.30amto4pm,and SaturdaytoSundayfrom10am to4pm.