Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Big This Month

Recent Posts

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

[Review] Ali's Kitchen, Rory Gallagher Place, Cork

As a student in Cork City, I spent many afternoons browsing the bookshelves of Connolly's bookshop on Rory Gallagher Place. I couldn't, and still can't, get enough books in my life. When I learned than Alan Connolly had retired and closed his bookshop, I was disappointed to see a little of the old fabric of Cork disappearing.  

I need not have worried however, as the opening of Ali's Kitchen in this beautiful old building has given Cork a vibrant cafe and bakehouse which has quickly developed a reputation as the place for brunch and baked goods in the city. Even browsing their Instagram feed induces salivation. 
Stitch & Bear - Ali's Kitchen - Coffee
Coffee at Ali's Kitchen
We visit during a busy brunch service but we are lucky to grab one of the few remaining tables before they are all taken. Brunch options are chalked up on a blackboard but my gaze keeps being drawn to the countertop covered in alluring cinnamon rolls and other delicious looking pastries. Still, it's brunch time and I gather my focus. 

I had been looking forward to trying the famous black pudding hash, but unfortunately, all the black pudding was gone, replaced instead by a bacon hash. This turned out to be a glorious mixture of fried potatoes, crispy bacon, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. I accept it as a worthy replacement, but the black pudding hash is still in my sights.

Across the table, a similar dish but with hot smoked salmon was disappearing quickly. A chorizo and chickpea stew had been "brunchified" with the addition of a poached egg, along with a toasted slice of superb crusty sourdough for mopping up. 
Stitch & Bear - Ali's Kitchen - Bacon hash
Bacon hash with poached eggs
Stitch & Bear - Ali's Kitchen - Chorizo & chickpea stew
Chorizo & chickpea stew with poached egg
Stitch & Bear - Ali's Kitchen - Hot smoked salmon hash
Hot smoked salmon hash
Owner Ali Honour brings a strong love of food and experience gained from her travels, and combines this with fantastic Cork produce from producers such as Hanley's and Durcan's, with coffee from Dublin micro-roastery Cloudpicker. And most of all, her passion and enthusiasm is reflected in the faces of the Corkonians who flow in and out of the cafe. 

Ali's Kitchen, Rory Gallagher Place, Cork
Tel: +353 (0)21 2390 681
Twitter: @AlisKitchenCork
Instagram: @aliskitchencork

Sunday, December 3, 2017

[Review] BuJo Burger, Sandymount, Dublin 4

It's hard to keep a good thing down, and right now chef Gráinne O'Keeffe is the woman on top. Not only is she head chef at the wonderful Clanbrassil House (read my review here), but she is also culinary director at BuJo Burger, Dublin's newest burger joint. 

BuJo is a simple restaurant where you order, take a seat, and wait for your order to cook before collecting at the counter. It's bright and cheerful, perfect for family parties, teenage dates or a casual quite bite. On the day we visit, owner Michael Sheary is busily hands-on, refilling the soda dispenser and directing his young and cheerful team. 

For all its simplicity, BuJo comes with serious food credentials. Whole cuts of West Cork beef go into the burgers, while the brioche bun comes from Coghlan's Bakery in Newbridge, Co Kildare. Ice cream comes from Wexford, while Wicklow Wolf brewery and Dan Kelly's cider feature on the menu. In a forward thinking move, the disposable cutlery and cups are biodegradable. Top marks so far. 
Stitch & Bear - BuJo Burger - Burger and fries
BuJo burger and spicy fries

Friday, November 24, 2017

[Review] Clanbrassil House, Clanbrassil Street, Dublin 8

A few years ago, I saw a commercial premise on Upper Clanbrassil Street come up for sale, and I had a little fantasy of purchasing it, renovating it and living upstairs while letting out the little unit downstairs. The property eventually went off the market, only to recently resurface lately as the home of Clanbrassil House restaurant, an off-shoot from the lauded Bastible, which is situated just around the corner. 

The decor is plain and simple, even austere, with clean white walls and dark wood tables with the dining space split into two cosy rooms. There's a small front room with high tables, and a second room to the rear with sit down tables. The rear room has a wide pass into the kitchen, with a ringside view of the wood burning grill and occasional wafts of smoky goodness hitting our table. We settle in and order a bottle of Portuguese Dao red wine from Niepoort (€38). The menu starts with a selection of snacks before breaking into small plates (starters) and items from the charcoal grill.

A special starter of beef tartare is satisfyingly beefy, accompanied by already famous and delightfully crunchy beef dripping toast (€9). A bowl of celeriac ravioli with hazelnuts and apple balsamic is bang on the current trend for buttery ravioli and is the veritable stuff of pasta dreams (€10). the smooth creamy filling and buttery sauce is beautifully balanced with little dabs of balsamic zing. 
Stitch & Bear - Clanbrassil House - Beef tartare with beef dripping toast
Beef tartare with beef dripping toast


Saturday, October 21, 2017

[Event] Bar 1661 pop-up from Bán Poitín

Several years ago I attended the Irish launch of Bán Poitín, and immediately loved their modern, vibrant version of this much-maligned traditional Irish spirit. Now, the Bán Poitín Bar 1661 cocktail pop-up is asking you to forget the traditional image of the illicit bottle wrapped in brown paper hidden under the kitchen sink, and instead experience the quality and style of modern poitín. 

For 6 weeks only, Bar 1661 will be located in a retro basement next to Berlin Cafe on Dame Lane where it will serve a changing cocktail menu based on just one spirit, poitín. In addition, drinks will incorporate under-used and under-valued native Irish ingredients, supported by over 25 producers, distillers, foragers and farmers. 
Stitch & Bear - Ban Poitin Bar 1661 - Cocktails
The Gaeilgeor and Leprechaun Zombie cocktails


Saturday, October 14, 2017

[Review] The Legal Eagle, Chancery Place, Dublin 7

The Legal Eagle pub on Chancery Place, next to the historic Four Courts and beloved of solicitors, barristers and court attendees, had stood empty since 2012. It was acquired by Brian Montague and his business parter Elaine Murphy in 2014, but work on their other projects The Woollen Mills and The Washerwoman took precedence, delaying the opening until just recently. Was it worth the wait?

Every part of the overhauled Legal Eagle speaks in muted but confident tones. (In fact, just like the kind of solicitor or barrister you want to represent you should you ever find yourself appearing before the courts). A solemn and decorous dark green exterior with touches of gilding gives way to the spruced up interior. The general layout is true to the original, but now smart high backed leather stools line up alongside the bar, while exposed red brickwork and assorted copper vessels gently warm the walls. It's smart and modern, yet feels so comfortable and barlike.
Homemade pickled eggs

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

[Wine] 2 wines to try from Aldi

I've been sampling a lot of Aldi wine recently, and it's fair to say that they are offering some great value for money at the moment. Out of all the bottles I've tried, two have stood out as bottles that I am happy to recommend to you. 

First up is a barrel-fermented Limoux Chardonnay from Langudedoc legend and wine producer Jean Claude Mas. It's a rich, full-bodied wine with crisp lemons and apples, a touch of honey, underpinned by a luscious buttery, nutty oak finish. The heavy bottle is uniquely attractive in its own right. This is a cracker served cold on its own, or with a Sunday roast chicken. Plus, it scored an impressive 90 points on a recent Decanter tasting


Sunday, September 24, 2017

[Opinion] The importance of transparency in blogging

Over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve kept up with the Twitter storm that has followed tweets from chefs Gaz Smith (Michaels of Mount Merrion) and Garret Byrne (of Michelin-starred Campagne in Kilkenny). No matter which side of the fence you are on, this debate has revealed some ugly sides to the world of food and travel blogging. 

It is claimed that a blogger contacted Campagne seeking a free meal in return for blog and social media coverage. On the surface, it appears gauche and self-entitled on the part of the blogger. But on the other hand, it was a business offer that Garret could either accept or refuse, and refuse he did. 

As a blogger, I’ve always tried to feature restaurants and venues that I feel deserve to be shared. As a result, I could probably count on one hand the amount of times I’ve written a strongly critical review. I’ve obviously eaten in many restaurants where the best thing was the exit, but I’ve rarely chosen to feature those spots. 

© Stitch and Bear | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Developed by pipdig