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!

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Sunday, February 4, 2018

[Review] Fuel...Fit Food, Clontarf, Dublin 3

This morning, I woke up feeling foggy and not rested. When I feel that way, one of my favourite cures is a brisk walk in the fresh air to flush out the cobwebs. Usually I head towards Sandymount or one of the around the southside of the city. Today however, I wanted to take a look at the ongoing renovations at Clontarf Baths, so we headed north. 

45 minutes walking later, I was feeling much better. Looking around Vernon Avenue, we spotted the very small and cute Fuel...Fit Food. The best word to describe the interior is compact, with many small tables neatly tucked in. The focus here is clearly on healthy tasty food, with a young clientele who appear to like their coffees flat and white. 
Stitch & Bear - Fuel...Fit Food - Mexican eggs
Mexican eggs

Monday, January 29, 2018

[Review] 3 Leaves, Blackrock Market, Blackrock, Co Dublin

It's a bitterly cold January lunchtime as we enter Blackrock Market. Wind is funnelled by the crowded aisles and as we pass the shuttered doors of Michelin-starred Heron & Grey, I find myself wishing for somewhere warm and cosy. Going for lunch after my yoga class, while still in my yoga leggings, doesn't seem like a good idea anymore. 

We are here in search of 3 Leaves, a small Indian restaurant from chef Santosh Thomas and his wife Milie who came to Ireland over 10 years ago. The buzz about this little spot has been quietly growing, and last year Thomas scooped the Best Indian Chef in Dublin gong at the Irish Curry Awards. Not bad for a small little spot in a market!

Stitch & Bear - 3 Leaves - Gulabi chicken curry
Gulabi chicken curry

Sunday, January 21, 2018

[Blog] Most popular reviews of 2017

I always find it extremely interesting to load up Google Analytics, and analyse my blog statistics. I particularly like to do it at the end of every year with the specific objective of understanding what reviews were most interesting to my readers. Thankfully this year, your preferred spots coincided largely with with my favourite venues from 2017. So without further ado, here are 5 most popular restaurant reviews from 2017, plus one wildcard from yours truly.

In 2007, TV chef and Ballymaloe family member, Rachel Allen opened her eponymous restaurant and cocktail bar on Cork's Washington Street. Within a few months, Rachel's had garnered a selection of mixed reviews with an overall consensus that Cork had gained a smart new restaurant, with a strong focus on using local produce.

Stitch & Bear - 2017 most popular - Lamb at Rachel's Cork
Rack of spring lamb with wild garlic and almond crumb


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


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

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