As you walk into the front door, directly ahead is a small dry-goods pantry, where the team at The Tide Full Inn – run 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 Urbanity TheGlass House, 11CokeLane, Smithfield, Dublin7. urbanitycoffee.ie Tuckedawayonthelanethat leadstothebackdoorofRyan’s PubinSmithfieldisacoffeeshop andsmall-batch roaster, Urbanity. Thedesignisminimal andthespaceisample. It’s equippedwithshinygadgets frominnovativeIrishcoffee technologycompanyMarcoand there’sa Probatcoffeeroasterin thecornerofthecafe, surveying thescene.When itcomesto beans,thesefolksmean business.
“WhenIfirstgotintocoffee backinaround 2006,itwas almostimpossibletofindgood coffeebeansinDublin. I’dorder themonlineandpractise athome withmyhomecoffeemachine. Fora whileIevenexperimented withroastedbeansusinga popcornmachine,” reminisces JasonMacanTsionnaigh, oneof 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.
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 Urbanity’sthree co-owners. Mac anTsionnaigh,who hasa backgroundinbarandrestaurant management,hada vision nearlyadecadeago ofopeninga coffeeshop withanin-house roasterinDublin,afterseeing similarset- ups onhis travelsto Scandinavia.
“Theideafor Urbanityisbased ontheScandinavianprinciplesof roasting, whichisa lighterroast tohelp bringouttheflavourofthe greenbeans,” explainsMacan Tsionnaigh. Itopened itsdoors threemonthsago. Urbanitybuy itsgreen beansfrom Tim WendelboeinNorway,whobuys themdirectfrom coffeefarmers aroundtheworld. Onmyvisit, Idrinkaflat white madefromaBrazilianbean that hasbeenroastedon theother sideoftheroom.It hasa distinctivelynuttyflavour; the tastingnotessay marzipanand almond,butmypalateisnot well enoughversedintheworldof coffeeflavours to pickuponthat levelofdetailjustyet. Itendto preferthechocolate andcaramel endofthecoffeespectrum, particularlyinmyflatwhites(¤3 hereinUrbanity) andthisbean toastedcroutons.
Shreddedchunksofmoist chickensoakupasmoked tomatodressing,while a hard-boiledeggmakesthis a saladyourGrannywouldbe proudtoserve.
30 Mallow St, Limerick wearecanteen.com ¤ Opendbyraw-foodchef CarolanneRusheinApriloflast year,SweetBeatCaféisplant- deliverswhatI’mlookingfor. Urbanityhasthree grinders (mostcafesonly haveoneon the go,thoughit’scommontohave twothesedays)whichmeans theycaneasilyofferyoua choice ofthree beans,andthusdifferent tasteprofiles,on anygiven day.
Amongtheteambehindthe counterisPaulTaylor, whoyou mayrecognisefromhis previous baristaroleat Tamp& Stitchin TempleBar.There’sfood,too, andinthekitchenisAmy Rondthaler.Therearesome pleasingsaladsthatareinventive yetaccessible. Iadda small portionofsaladto mysandwich order(anadditional¤2.50) and gofor theroastedbroccoliwitha sweettahinisauce,andaportion ofa celeriac,orange, appleand sumacsalad.
Thehamandcheese sandwich(¤6.50)doesn’tquite matchtherest ofthemenu’s offering,whichMacanTsionnaighreferstoasOttoman. The hamisdecentbut thecheeseis dullandsweaty. Urbanityhad beenso busyduring the lunchtimewavethathitthem beforeIarrivedthatIliterallygot thelastArunBakerybun inthe kitchen,so myoptions were limited.AMiddleEastern Chickensandwichonthemenu lookedalittlemoreinteresting. Thereareplentyofhouse-made desserts,andateenytahini biscuit(¤1) goesdownatreat withmycoffee.
WhenImentiontheham sandwichto MacanTsionnaigh, inachataftermylunch, itturns outtheyhaveplansto shelveorat leastadaptit.Theyusedto usea vintagecheddarbuttheir customers,whoarea predominantlylegalcrowdon breaks fromthenearbyFour Courts, didn’tlikethepungenttaste.“The customerdecideswhatyoudo,” acceptsMacanTsionnaigh,with goodgrace.
Coffeeiskinghereat Urbanity. Visitthemfrom 8amto5pm, Mondayto Friday,oron Saturdaysfrom10amto4pm.