Sunday 6 July 2014

What's Cooking in Dublin?

Every now and then the Ballymaloe Cookery School team of teachers go on a research trip to see what is happening on the culinary food scene. The Dublin restaurant and café scene is really humming once again , and so we did an intensive trip to the metropolis and tasted some very exciting food in a variety of restaurants and cafés. 
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We began our trip to The Fumbally in Fumbally Lane run by Aisling Rogerson and Luca D’Alfonso and their vibrant young team. The food is simple, delicious, uncomplicated but put together in a chic and edgy way. Specials are written on the blackboard above the till. The fresh produce for the kitchen is piled against the wall in wooden crates like a glorious still-life in this airy contemporary space with a cool, retro, comfy, shabby chic feel yet elegant feel.

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We really loved the brunch dishes – The Fumbally take on the Dr Seuss' famous green eggs and ham: toasted brioche with avocado and scrambled eggs and chorizo. The pulled porchetta with slow roasted shoulder of pork, caper mayo and spiced apple sauce was another great combo. 

The GreenHouse on Dawson Street served a totally different style of food.  Mickael Viljanen who hales from Finland is one of the most talented young chefs cooking in Ireland at the moment. He and his team cooked us a delicious three course lunch with lots of excitement on each beautifully crafted plate – a carpaccio of scallop, shoulder of suckling pig and apricot tart with elderflower ice cream.

We popped our heads into Murphy's Ice Cream from Dingle, then wandered through the aisles of tempting fresh produce in Fallon and Byrne. We found lots of new ingredients – fresh pineberries (like underripe strawberries), teff flour which I’d been looking out for to make an Ethopian flat bread and red rice from the Camargue. 

We also dashed past The Pepper Pot in the Powerscourt Centre where Marian Kilcoyne's (a past student) Café Restaurant was throbbing with lots of unbearably tempting treats. 

Ananda is the flagship restaurant of Asheesh Dewan’s Indian restaurant empire under the stewardship of Sunil Ghai and his team of Indian chefs certainly live up to its reputation. The Ballymaloe Cookery School tutors were totally wowed by his tasting menu which started with pan poori and ended with gulab jamun: pistachio icecream and caramel mousse. 

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We got another warm welcome from Garett Fitzgerald and James Boland at brother hubbard in Capel Street. This café cum deli has built up a fantastic reputation in the less than two years since they opened. The menu is packed with unbearably tempting choices, gorgeous sandwiches, salads, brunch dishes piled high on good bread from Tartine Bakery, which is virtually the only item that is not made from scratch in house. Garett Fitzgerald and Danielle Beattie (who does all the baking) are both past students of the Ballymaloe Cookery School. I loved the cannellini beans with tomato sauce and slow roasted pulled pork with a fried egg and a sprinkling of sumac on top, but there were appreciative sounds coming from all directions of the table as we tasted our way through the menu.

At Palais des Thés in Wicklow Street Niall did a tutored tasting with us. We tasted a beautiful selection of exquisite teas including Thé du Hammam, Japanese Green Tea, Sencha Ariake.

A light lunch at Cornucopia the long established vegetarian restaurant in Wicklow Street was another enlightening experience. It really was a delicious few days!