Gallaghers Boxty House, Temple Bar, Dublin

Last week Lusa flew over from the states to help me celebrate my upcoming big birthday (it isn’t until the 9th  – but if you want you can send wine at any time). We decided to push the boat out and fly over to Dublin for the weekend as I love it and Lusa has never been before.

Every time I have been in the land of Guinness I have dined at Gallagher’s Boxty House in the Temple Bar area of Dublin and it has never disappointed. I, therefore, booked online well in advance as I knew it would be busy.

When we arrived we were immediately shown to our table in the window where Lusa was able to keep an eye on all the wacky Halloween costumes that were staggering past. The T-rex was my favourite.

We were given 2 menus – the early bird one and the regular one. Wine order taken we  concentrated on the menus.

mdeWe both ordered the Seafood Chowder Fresh & Smoked Fish in a Potato & Fennel Broth, served with Jack Smyth Stout & Treacle Bread. This was a big hit with Lusa, later in the weekend she said it was one of the best things she had eaten all weekend. I wasn’t so keen on the carrots in it but that’s just me being picky. The bread was, heavy, thick and dark just as you’d expect from  ingredients such as treacle and stout.

For her main Lusa ordered the Vegetable Chilli Boxty (V) Vegetarian Chilli with Mixed Beans and Irish Cheddar, wrapped in a Boxty Pancake and topped with Chive Sour Cream. For the uninitiated a boxty is grated raw potato, cooked mash and flour, kneaded with pure Irish butter and is either baked, slow cooked or boiled.

mde

When her meal arrived Lusa had to recheck the menu to ensure she wasn’t eating meat as it tasted so much like normal chilli. Lusa prefers her meals not to look like replica meat but she enjoyed the chilli nonetheless.

mdeI had the Chicken & Smoked Bacon Boxty (ng) Free-range Irish Chicken Fillet in a Creamy Smoked Bacon & Leek Sauce, wrapped in a traditional Leitrim Boxty Pancake.  This was rich, creamy and yummy with big lumps of chicken, crunchy leek and small pieces of bacon in it.  Sadly, it was so filling I had to leave some – probably something to do with eating all the bread with the chowder.

Dessert menus appeared and we decided on liqueur coffees instead of puddings. My Irish coffee with Teeling Whiskey hit the spot and Lusa was enjoying her Baileys coffee when suddenly we were asked to leave as they needed the table. ptrThis surprised us as no-one had told us that there was a time limit on our table. The waiter told us we would have been told when we arrived. Nope, we weren’t. Plus you didn’t tell us when you brought the coffee that we would need to rush them. I even re-checked my confirmation email for a warning – nada.

I nipped to the toilet and returned to find Lusa speaking to the floor manager who was explaining their policy to her. Lusa pointed out as it was their policy that they needed to be managing it better and not surprising it onto customers, she also added that asking people to leave mid meal was plain rude. The response was a verbal shrug. If we had been told at the start it would have made a huge difference so instead and unfortunately, we left with a bad taste in our mouths, which was definitely not from the fabulous food or the beautiful but quickly downed Irish Coffee.

2 Early Bird menus, 1 liqueur coffee, 1 bottle of wine = €74.50 (my Irish coffee wasn’t on the bill and I am hoping this was because I’m a regular – well, 4 times in 6 years 😉 )

Advertisements

Dublin = Guinness

Our Ryanair flight dumped us into Dublin after midday on Saturday 22nd March all set for a week in Ireland. 2 nights in Dublin, 2 in Cork, a night in Galway and another in Drogheda. In the past I’ve either grabbed a taxi into town (expensive – €20) or hopped on the airlink bus (reasonable – €6) but this time I’d done some research and the No.16 would get us into the city centre (cheap as chips – €2.60) and there’s free wifi on the double decker!

We got off the bus on McConnell Street and headed straight  over to the bridge to what I knew as Messers but is now called JW Sweetmans . With our luggage at our feet we ordered the first 2 Guinness’s of our Irish holiday. ImageEveryone says that Guinness in Ireland tastes totally different and I can testify this is most definitely the case. It’s creamier, has more body and goes down smoothly with no bitter aftertaste. ImageIt wasn’t long before my pint glass was empty and my smile was wide.
It would have been really easy staying put and having another but OH was keen to check into our hotel and get rid of our bags. Our hotel was The Camden Court Hotel which is about a 10 minute walk from St Stephen’s Green. The street the hotel is situated on is full of quirky shops and interesting looking restaurants. I’m guessing the normal Dublin tourist wouldn’t know about this street’s existence as it is a little off the beaten track but it deserves a wander up just to see the less touristy side of Dublin.

The hotel room was lovely and had everything that you’d expect but there was no free biccys. I do like a wee biscuit with a cup of  coffee from a sachet when I first arrive at a hotel but sadly complimentary biscuits seem to be a thing of the past nowadays.

Peckish and travel weary we decided not to go far but to try the pub next door for something to eat. The Bleeding Horse is a traditional Irish pub – lots of wood, levels and hidden cubby holes. We sat in the corner with a view of the footy and ordered lunch. Although I do, OH doesn’t like Italian’s  (the restaurants not the people – he likes them, especially Sophia Loren types) so I rarely get to eat pizza. Therefore, when I saw there was a choice of pizzas on offer and there was actually one that if I were to pick all my favourite toppings it would be it – I think it was called the Odds On – there was no further menu scrutiny required. OH chose a burger with smoked bacon and cheese which arrived on a block of wood with big fat chips, side salad and relish. OH rated it highly and the thought of it being made from a bleeding horse didn’t enter his mind at all. My pizza was great although I shouldn’t have chose the Oregano oil as unfortunately,  I was reminded of it for the rest of the night :S

Obviously, being in Dublin, the rest of the night pretty much consisted of drinking Guinness in different Irish bars. The next one was The Swan. The building is steeped in history and featured in the Rebellion as a signalling post, was centrally located in The War of Independence and was occupied during the Civil War. OH asked for dark rum in here and was given something that smelt like it should be rubbed on a bleeding horse. Bleurgh. The bar man saw my face when I sneaked a taste and told me the rum was called Sea Dog. I’m not joking; you’d have to be at sea for a lengthy period of time to think this minging, medicinal liquid was worth a swig.

Off on our travels again and we headed to The Hairy Lemon where many scenes from the film The Commitments were shot. Comfy, old leather chesterfield chairs were our home for the next couple of rounds before we decided to go to the The Old Storehouse in the Temple Bar area where we found a packed house and music on offer. The tourists were demanding the band sang Galway Girl and they weren’t disappointed when the singer broke into it almost immediately. I think it was really to get the girl with the black hair and blue eyes out of the way so they could proceed to sing what they really wanted to sing. In that situation, I ask you friend, what’s a fella to do?

 

The next morning the plan was to have brunch in Gallagher’s Boxty House. I’ve been a few times before and I’ve always had a great time so I wanted to make sure we could fit in a visit. I’ve found in Boxty’s that the waiters are charming (good looking and flirty – just what you want from young Irish guys), the food is lovely and the overall feeling of the place always seems to be warm, welcoming, friendly and that nothing is any trouble at all. You can tell I love this place huh?

Boxty’s opens at 11am on Sunday mornings and we were hovering outside waiting for the minutes to tick by. On this visit there was a lovely waitress who ushered us in and quickly made us feel at home.  We were looking over the menu and I was trying to decide if I should have wine with my meal as it was still early. I asked the waitress if I should or not and she pointed out that I was on my holidays and if you don’t have wine with every meal on your holiday then you’re not doing it right. That was it settled so she started writing down a glass of wine. No, I said, a bottle. The look on her face was brilliant.

I’ve waxed lyrical about their bacon and cabbage boxty to OH on numerous occasions (Boxty is a traditional Irish potato pancake) so he pretty much had to try it (there was no pressure really ;p)2014-03-23 11.42.16 and I plumped for the full Irish breakfast since it was my first opportunity to have one.

OH enjoyed his boxty and loved the flavour and texture mix. He did say it was a little bit too creamy for him but if there had been a pattern on the plate he scraped every sign of that off his plate too! My breakfast was spot on and everything you’d want from a breakfast the morning after a day on the Guinness. 2014-03-23 11.42.31 The wine went down a treat too.

As is my want, I tweeted about my meal telling the Twitter world how good it was. Not long after, I noticed that whoever was behind Gallacher’s Boxty House twitter account had favourited my tweet. As I was waiting for the waitress to appear so I could order some Irish coffees, I tweeted back saying “Never mind favouriting my tweet where’s my Irish Coffee?  We then had a bit of banter back and forth.  Ahh wait, I should say we had a bit of craic over the twitter airwaves. See, a week in the Emerald Isle and I’m almost fluent! This just added to my Boxty House experience. The Irish coffees were ordered, irish coffee they arrived and they were drank with relish. I was already sitting with a warm glow when the waiter arrived with the bill and explained that the owner had taken care of the coffees. I couldn’t believe it. What an absolutely lovely thing to do (it’s every Scot’s dream getting free drink ;p)  as if I didn’t already love the place! It also shows the power of Twitter.

So the moral of this story is that if you ever visit Dublin you have to make sure a visit to Boxty’s is on your list! (and yes it’s because I think I might get an Irish Coffee for every single one of you that visit Boxty’s on my recommendation ;p)

 

To be continued.