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Trip Report May 2012: Dublin, with some Glasgow, Edinburgh

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Restaurants & Bars

Trip Report May 2012: Dublin, with some Glasgow, Edinburgh

millerla | Jun 7, 2012 11:23 AM

Dublin

Day 1
Jet lagged dinner at Le Bon Crubeen, mostly due to proximity to where we were staying. Nice 25E prix fixe option for 3 courses, I had a nice grilled sardine and a very good braised pork on polenta. Banoffee pudding dessert was a fail. Service was a bit amateurish but friendly and they didn't bring me the correct wine, but I would go here again if north of the Liffey. Not a destination restaurant.

Day 2
Lunch at 2 star Patrick Guilbaud. Very impressive main dining room, I like that it's grand but still feels somewhat cosy. It probably helped that we were given one of the semi-circular alcove booths, a nice vantage point to survey the rest of the room & crowd. Lunch options are a 38E two course or a 50E three course. I just wasn't wowed. Had a lobster nage to begin and a john dory for main. They just tasted one-note rich/buttery, and were in need of some acidic balance, in my opinion. My dining companion had a lovely cheese plate from the trolley. (cheese trolley just sounds so much better than cheese cart, don't you think?). Service was very formal & french. In retrospect, not what I'm looking for when I'm in Dublin.

Dinner at Fallon & Byrne
Difficult to be hungry after big lunch, so I appreciated the flexibility of the menu. My dining companion had rabbit which was served with sadly undercooked beans. Underwhelmed, but the food hall is nice and would consider maybe eating at the downstairs cafe.

Day 3
Lunch at L. Mulligan Grocer. You won't find this place unless you're looking for it, but fairly close to the Collins Barracks if you're out that way. We were very happy here, good food and each menu item is paired with a beer and a whiskey. Great selections of both. We were ready to move in.

Dinner at One Pico. Again, you would be hard pressed to just wander by here as it's located in an alleyway but it is pretty central if you're staying downtown. I enjoyed the enthusiasm of the servers and the food was very good. The main I had, pork, was just too large for me but very tasty.

Day 4
Lunch at Bite. Located across the street from buzzing Dunne & Crescenzi this place seems the second choice but I was pleased with my meal here. I didn't have the fish & chips which is what they are known for so maybe I shouldn't say anymore. But I say it's worth a shot if you need something down by Trinity and you can tear yourself away from D&C.

Dinner at Exchequer. I'm sure the vibe of this place changes depending on what night you are there. We were there on a Monday so it was pretty quiet. Service was nice, cocktails were good, plates very nice and well balanced. Great deal for 16.95/two course or 19.95/three course.

Day 5
Lunch at Caviston's, Glasthule. Wandering in for a late lunch after visiting Powerscourt, I entered a completely packed restaurant without a reservation and forlornly asked if they could possibly fit in one more person. The very nice waitstaff offered to sit me outside, which was a bit blustery but manageable and offered a nice little people watching experience. They brought me blankets and repeatedly checked in on me. Had the most wonderful salmon with a chive beurre blanc sauce, it was just perfection. Lovely white burgundy to accompany. Highly recommended for a nice little jaunt south of the city. Convenient to the Sandycove DART station.

Dinner at Camden Kitchen. We caused a bit of a stir because the chef wanted to know who these people were who reserved a table more than a month in advance. Just foodie San Franciscans, we explained. A nice neighborhood bistro spot, friendly service. I would hang out here if I lived in Dublin. This was probably my favorite asparagus dish (we were there at the height of the season, so I had it quite often) with a delightful crunchy poached egg. Early evening menu for 18E would be a stunning deal if you can manage it.

Day 6
Lunch at Jo'Burger. Oh dear I got so lost trying to find this place. It was good but not worth my journey, unfortunately. Absolutely try it if you're south of the city, though--so many combinations they are sure to have something that you'd fancy. Sweet potato fries were so soggy I couldn't eat them with my fingers--I think this fails to meet the definition of fries, somehow? Yummy tomato sauce, though.

Dinner at Chapter One. Pre-theatre at 36.50E for three courses. I thought service achieved a wonderful balance between competence and enthusiasm. Personable interactions all around and we had a great time. Wonderful mackerel to begin and lovely pork for the main. Basement setting might be dreary in the rain but it was a very warm day out so we were happy to be in the cool underground!

Glasgow
Dinner at Two Fat Ladies, Blythswood. It was a very warm day and air conditioning is not really ever needed in Glasgow I suppose but we wilted a little here. Poor communication between waitstaff as we were never told the specials (only heard them later being given to other tables). Waitstaff did not seem happy to be there. My salmon appetizer was good but huge--far too much for an appetizer portion. We were not overwhelmed.

Brunch at Stravaigin, very good eggs benedict. Highly recommended if you're in the West End. We also had a snack at Ubiquitous Chip, very interesting "greenhouse" setup, good cocktails.

Edinburgh
We took the train to Edinburgh for the day and had lunch at Castle Terrace (first choice Kitchin was unavailable even when booking for lunch two months ahead!). Some of the waitstaff here should be modeling professionally, if they aren't already. 3-course set lunch 24L. Nice asparagus to begin and salmon for main. Salmon was served in a consomme, perfectly acceptable but sort of lacking any wow factor. Timing between courses seemed very long, and we often got our wine pairings after the plates were presented. So, pacing and delivery just seemed a bit off for a Michelin star.

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