Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Salamanca, 1 St Andrew's Street, Dublin 2

A few weeks ago I met a friend of mine straight after work, our little bellies were quite hungry and we fancied eating some tapas for an early dinner. We always go to The Port House Pintxo but wanted to try somewhere different, my friend suggested Salamanca and I thought 'why not?' as I've only ever been to Salamanca during the Campo Viejo tapas trail.

Salamanca is a spacious restaurant that feels welcoming. The mosaics over the bar may vaguely remind you Gaudi's style and the chairs and chandeliers are a bit baroque: there is a Mediterranean feel to the place. 

The menu is divided into the following categories: charcuterie & cold tapas, meat tapas, fish & shellfish tapas, meat from the grill, other tapas and desserts. The choice is extensive and includes many well-known Spanish classics, they aren't the cheapest tapas in town but portion sizes are pretty generous.

We went for the early-bird deal, which includes three tapas for €16.95. 

We got 6 tapas between us, tapas are made for sharing so we made sure we both liked the sound of everything.

We got the fiery patatas bravas, these fried potatoes were lovely and crunchy on the outside and nicely fluffy inside.  

Same for the croquetas de jamón (Serrano ham croquettes), they were little balls of creaminess in a crisp crumb shell.

The seafood paella was one of the nicest I've had in Dublin, they got the seasoning and consistency just right, it wasn't soggy like you get sometimes.

The fried calamaris were crispy, peppery and the batter was light.  

We also had the Spanish omelette which was good too.

The battered mixed vegetables came with a homemade tomato and chili dip that was quite piquant.

We also ordered the cheese plate (€11.95) as we had some wine left (like I need an excuse to order cheese). The cheese course consisted of grapes, quince paste and 5 different cheeses. It was served with mini bread sticks that we didn't really like so we asked for bread which unfortunately wasn't great either and cost €2.50 (way too much). The manchego, the blue (Cabrales I think) and goat cheese were my favourites, overall the platter wasn't overwhelming but I'm picky in that matter.

Salamanca is one of those places in Dublin that have been here for many years and you sometimes forget because new trendy eateries catch all the attention. I'm yet to find amazing tapas in the Irish capital but Salamanca is probably one of the best places in Dublin for Spanish food. The food was simple but good and the gentleman who served us was warm and friendly. We managed to feel transported to Spain during the time of our dinner without spending too much money, which meant the evening was a success.

1 St Andrew's Street
Dublin 2

Monday, 21 July 2014

Bonjour from France! Vlog #1

Bonjour from France!

No restaurant review this week, désolée. I've decided to publish my first vlog (video blog). It's short and sweet and features my French home, snail eating, mushroom picking and two farmers markets.

You might want to come with me next time!

PS: I miss Mr. FFID who stayed in Ireland though, poor chéri!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Taste of Paris: Bastille Market (75011)

Today is Bastille Day or Le 14 juillet, the French national day that commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison.

You can't miss Place de la Bastille in Paris, there is a huge column in the middle called 'July Column' and this monument commemorates the 1830 revolution (we did have more than one revolution).

Anyway, I'm not going to talk about history here, but rather about one of my favourite markets in Paris: Bastille Market. It's on every Thursday from 7am to 2.30pm and every Sunday from 7am to 3pm.

I highly recommend a visit if you want to have a sense of what a Parisian food market is. There is a variety of stalls, not only fruits and veg but pretty much anything you'd like to eat.

From cheese to roasted chickens, from olives to crêpes made right in front of you...

Don't be shy, people are proud of their products, try talking to them. The man who sells saucissons (French cured sausages) is lovely, he has so many different flavours and speaks a little English.

If you love food, you'll probably enjoy this market very much.

If you're getting tired of the food, they also have flowers, clothes and souvenirs if I remember correctly.

Isn't it lovely? Now this is one to add to your list on your next trip to Paris, you're welcome!

Bastille Market
Place de la Bastille
75011 Paris

Friday, 11 July 2014

Crackbird, 60 Dame Street, Dublin 2

Do you like chicken? Well if you do then you’ll love Crackbird, as chicken is kind of the star on their menu.

I’ll be honest with you I’ve only  been to Crackbird twice. The first time I was a little drunk and the second time I was more than a little hungover (please don’t judge me too hastily).

Crackbird isn’t new, it’s one of Jo Macken’s restaurants, he also owns Skinflint, Jo’Burger and Bear.

Crackbird is located on Dame Street and it’s quite spacious and bright if you visit during the day. At night it’s quite dark and the music is loud.

The menu is short enough, you can order little dips and nibbles that cost from €4.25 to €5.75 such as the deviled egg dip. Then of course you have chicken (buttermilk, soy garlic, chicken brochettes…) with prices ranging from €4.95 to €19.95. They also make salads and have sandwiches for lunch as well as a few sides, along with many different sauces.

I recently met with a friend for lunch, I had a few drinks the night before so it sounded like exactly the food I needed.

I wanted something not to pricy so I went for the chili chicken crunches (€4.95), the croquettes (€3.95) with their burnt lemon and whipped feta sauce (€2). 

It did the job, the chicken was nice and crisp but what I like is their sauce, which was lovely to dip the croquettes in.   

I was very thirsty and had a huge jar of their lime ginger spritzer (€3.95), it was refreshing and the portion size was massive. 

My friend had the same thing, the chilli chicken crunches but with the chipotle baked beans. 

The beans were very good, nicely spicy.

I suppose people who don’t want to go to KFC or Nando’s go to Crackbird when they crave deep-fried chicken. Deep-fried chicken for hipsters perhaps. It’s funky, modern and the staff act a bit like they’re too cool for school. The setting is trendy but you wouldn’t stay too long, great if you’re on a night out in the area but I still prefer Skinflint.

60 Dame Street
Dublin 2