Friday, October 17, 2008

Gingerday, peace be upon y'all/ and a foodie rant.

(Nicole Kidman- after ingesting Parsley)--->

Top of the morning to you. Recession doom and gloom and mongering of fear getting to you? Me too. However there are a FEW good things to the penny watching.
I like to eat out, or rather I used to like to eat out, but over the last year or so I've sort of stopped as I got a pain in my inflated sense of harddonebyness when ever I did so. Anyone else noticed how standards of food and staff has slipped in the capital? Manuel can probably assure me that standards of costumer has slithered down the pole too, but from my perspective my main gripe is food.
See, I like going to various places for various dishes. I don't expect restaurants to be totally supermega awesome with every dish. But if you eat out long enough you do come to expect places to perfect at least one dish.
It USED to be that the seafood ramon in Wagamamma was the very best, now they have changed the recipe and it is watery poo.
It USED to be that Saba did an excellent thai lunch on Satdee's, now it too has dribbled down to mediocre, with slow staff and bland dishes- although their salt and pepper squid is still delicious.
it USED to be that The Corner Grill was a decent place to get lunch, now the meat is tasteless, the mash cold and the service so slow you might as well call in the morning to order lunch. No wonder the Spaniard feels justified in stealing all their steak knives.
It USED to be that BoBos on Wexford street did the very best burger in all the land- oh no wait, they still do that.
Gotham USED to do a good salad, now it is slimy slurm slithering sloppily about.
Fallon and Byrne USED to do a decent lunch menu, now they have changed it and made it dull, a bit wanky and frankly uninspiring, not to mention expensive.
L'Ecrivain's lunch menu is fine but the dishes are so tiny you need to call to Burdocks for a battered cod and chips on the way home to fill up. And if that's the case I'd rather cut out the over priced hoo-haa and just go straight to Burdocks.
It USED to be that you could get a decent cup of coffee in the Shelbourne, now for some strange reason it tastes of mud.
Don't get me started on the amount of dishes I have had to send back over the the last few months, festooned with ghastly parsley-I'm particularly thinking of a cheese and italian ham board in Enoteca Torina. I mean come fucking on. Chopped Parsley over cheese and cured meat?? Is it on the menu? No. Well then don't add it unasked for to perfectly good food.
It's a bit dispiriting going out for food, shelling out your hard earned dosh only to find that restaurants are no longer terribly interested in whether or not you enjoyed the experience. A decade of busy tables and high turnovers over has hardened their coughs. But nothing makes a restaurant pull the proverbial finger from its arse faster than the high pitched yelp of recession.
Tightening my own belt means I will not BE eating out so often, which I don't mind at the moment as I steadfastly refuse to pay hand over fist for poor service and tedious food. But it also means that when I DO venture out I will be casting a sharp eye across the foodie spectrum and settling only on quality dining. I'd rather pay more for an excellent meal less often that shell out money on a regular basis for sub standard fare.
So huzzah to L'Gueuleton, harroo to Sawadee and big up to Bobos. for continuing to do good honest to god simple food well. I will happily give you my business for as long as you happily treat me like a valued costumer. Quid pro Quo. Quid Pro Quo.



Anonymous AM in Brussels said...

You've taken the words right out of my mouth FMC... I agree in principle and the idea, but I don't know the majority of the places you mention. Thanks for the tips though :)

Whenever I am back in Ireland, the staying in hotels and eating out bit horrifies me. Although I absolutely LOVE food, I don't like it to be overpriced (and too often combined with low quality). Especially when I'm used to prices here (which have shot up in the past year or so, but still nothing compared to Ireland).

There is a very small and select list of resturaunts in Dublin which I am happy to go to.

Luckily my brother likes his food too, so there are always good recomendations from him - but he's rich and has money, so although the food is good, sometimes I can't afford it.

Where was I...? Yes. If a place gies bad service or bad food, I won't be back. And I will tell them why I won't be back (though the waiting staff normally don't care, a quick e-mail with the relevant details normally does the trick).

If a place is good. I'll be back all the time.

For me, my latest find in Dublin (though it's been open for years, but I only ate there a month ago for the first time) is Jaipur on Sth. Gt George's St. What yummy deliciousness. A tad pricey, but worth every penny.

1:28 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I've heard that's very good AM, the paramour wants to go as he is a fan of hot food.
Next time you're over and you want something light on the wallet but very very tasty try BoBos, you can get a chili Burger and chunky home made fries and a beer for less than a starter in some places and it is VERY delicious indeed.
Monty's of Kathmandu in Temple bar is good too if you like Indian/Nepalese dishes. Not cheap, but good quality.

1:35 p.m.  
Anonymous Cate said...

What a coincidence. I just had the worst sandwich ever for lunch, but I ate it cus I'm broke. I'm off for a gallon of tea now to swipe the taste from me tongue. Ugh.

1:38 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Yack, poor gal. I bet it wasn't cheap either.

1:46 p.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

Im headin down to dublin tamarra FMC for a bit of a dander round - any nice lunchy type places I should go to?

2:01 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Any type of food you're fond of Sheepie?

2:16 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm back for a quick visit in November and will have to check out your recommendations! I'm an incredible cheapskate and usually only dine out once or twice (giant plate of lamb stew and veg at O'Neill's doesn't count) when I'm in Dublin, for exactly the reason you mention. I can't remember the name of the place where a couple friends took me a couple years ago, but it was some bistro place back by the Georges' arcade. Terribly overpriced, and my friend swore he loved the duck he got, but the main dish I got (a couple hours after we arrived) was both flavorless and cold. I can't even remember what I had, but it was criminal for them to have spent 25 euro on it. At least the wine was good.

Last fall I finally hit up the Cedar Tree with some friends and it was probably the best meal I'd had in a couple years. Ended up paying around 100 for me and a friend, wine and all, but having pinched my pennies for weeks in advance, it was totally worth it. Next time I will starve myself a bit before going, all the better to shovel more Lebanese goodness into my mouth.

2:17 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I'd never even heard of The Cedar Tree, but a quick google and your comment has set my belly to growl.
I hear Locks in Portobello is supposed to be tremendous.

2:29 p.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

I'm not overly fussy FMC - just somewhere nice around the city center that you'd recommend.

2:32 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Café Topolis in parliment Street does a terrific lunch- really good Italian at a VERY reasonable price, I think, and Ar Vicoletto Osteria in Crow Street is mighty fine too.
Elephant and Castle in Temple bar do the BEST spicy chicken wings in Dublin ( again in my view)
The Chatham Brassaire off Grafton Street is pretty good for lunch too.

2:40 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elephant and Castle do a mean roasted-garlic burger as well. And by "mean," I mean for the love of God, do NOT under any circumstances spend the next twelve hours in proximity to another human being.

3:07 p.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

Cheers FMC.

Dammit grims, now I really want one but I'm meant to be heading out tamarra nite to see a mate's band... is it worth the social leper tag?

3:12 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounded really good on the menu, but it was uninspiring in actual fact. Dry burger, bit of mayo, and a whole head of roasted garlic that hadn't been roasted quite long enough. But I have a sick love for garlic and I was starving so I ate it. I'm really not sure that I would've gone out with friends afterwards, or if I had, that they would've thought anything but, "My God, this woman must have some awful intestinal rot going on."
If it was a better burger, I'd say you might risk it. But you're probably better off skipping it.

3:19 p.m.  
Blogger Dr. James McInerney said...

FMC: Locks on the canal is absolutely brilliant. Have eaten there twice and loved both times. A bit pricey, so save it for the occasional event.

Jo'Burger in Rathmines is good for a big burger.

In Rathgar, Howard's way is good - 25 Euro per head for the 'early bird' special, which is all night mon-thurs and it includes a half bottle of wine (50 quid for two including wine) and the food is nice to it is a bit cramped, but the staff are nice too.

As for Jaipur on George's street - luverly grub.

My lunch today sucked a*** however!

3:27 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I've run past Howard's Way a few times Docky and it always looks busy. I might give it a bash in the near future. But I have to totally and utterly disagree on Jo Burger, I think it is pants. Wanky over sized inedible burgers and potato 'things' instead of chips? Yack. And also they put a kind of sweet onion on my burger which nearly made me gag.
I will now definitely try out Locks as everyone who has eaten there says it's wonderful.

3:45 p.m.  
Blogger Dr. James McInerney said...

I guess jo'burger satisfies my need for an enormous burger.

4:42 p.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

Righty-o folks, I'm away off to sample the delights of the friday pint.
Have a brilliant / fun / depraved / healthy / ginger (delete as appropriate) weekend.

4:52 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I like a big burger too, but it's got to be an actual burger, not a pile of dried mince in a chunk of batch.

I probably should point out that the day I was there I was almost dead from a monumental hangover, so my memories MIGHT be slightly skewed, but I'm not allone in questioning their 'art'/

Anyway, Sheepie have a terrific weekend I hope Dublin treats you well. Docky, Grims everyone, have a great one too. I am just back from kick boxing and even the cats look like they might taste good on a spit roast.

6:53 p.m.  
Anonymous Penelope_CA said...

Happy Ginger Day FMC

Not too familiar with restaurants in Dublin but whenever I'm in Belfast I love to go to Ginger Bistro... it's fab!!

8:08 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had roasted cabbage for lunch today. The only places around here (here being northwest Arkansas, US) is drive-through fast food places. Ugh. Other than that and I'd have to take a two hour lunch, which I can't afford to do on my salary. So I brought leftovers to work with me today and ate them while reading blogs from other countries...heh heh...

8:41 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Ginger Bistro! Who knew such an amazingly named place even existed!! I would go there in a heartbeat.

Mizz Fit, I am a firm believer in leftover too. In fact I think a lot of food, like stew and lentils and pasta dishes taste FAR superior the next day having been left for a few hours to infuse their sauces.

9:19 p.m.  
Anonymous Pinkie said...

I do believe that the Pigs Ear on Nassau Street is good. What it is on the menu is what turns up on your plate - none of this wanton parsley sprinkling.

11:05 p.m.  
Blogger Manuel said...

Ginger bistro? I've reviewed it twice......and it is indeed the second best restaurant in belfast. The chef/proprietor is indeed a ginger.

The price of food is causing chefs to cut corners hence some shitty food about. Margins are getting squeezed and the owners are reacting. It's a fools economy.

Despite all the crunchy credit tips are holding up well.....which is all I really care about.....obviously....

12:39 a.m.  
Anonymous Penelope_CA said...

I thought Ginger Bistro might catch your attention Miss Cat and it's good to have Manuel back me up as to it's quality.

Second best eh? So Manuel, what do you consider Belfast's finest? I do love good food.

Oh happy day, I'm booked to return to Belfast for the holidays. Having finally met them this year Beloved's parents insisted I come "home" for Christmas, which is a really nice feeling. I was never so nervous meeting a partner's mum before, protective Irish mammys and all that, so it was a relief when it went well. I tease Beloved that his mum likes me because she is glad to have someone else do his wash!! LOL

Lunch at Ginger sometime during my stay will be a must... yum yum

3:57 a.m.  

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