Stitch and Bear

Food & drink adventures and restaurant reviews from Dublin and Ireland

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

[Review] Forest & Marcy, Leeson Street Upper, Dublin 4

Dining without reservations has finally made it out of the city centre and into suburbia - well kind of, if you consider Upper Leeson Street to be the edge of the suburbs. John and Sandy Wyer, the force behind Forest Avenue have opened Forest & Marcy in the space formerly occupied by Rigby's and to which the adjective bijou can be truly applied.

Described as a "small neighbourhood wine room and kitchen", Forest & Marcy impresses from start to finish. We visit on a Sunday evening, fully expecting to have to wait to secure a space. Thankfully, the dining gods were on our side, and we took two places at the long dining bar. The theme is here the new normal of small plates of food, made by chef Ciaran Sweeney, using modern techniques combined with the best seasonal ingredients.
Stitch & Bear - Forest & Marcy - Interior
Interior at Forest & Marcy


Sunday, October 9, 2016

[Competition] Win a pair of tickets to JN Wine Portfolio Tasting

I recently put together a listing of all upcoming wine events, featuring many "Meet the Makers" type tastings, which are a great way to try out lots of new wines and meet the people that make them. I was delighted to be contacted by one of the featured wine merchants, JN Wine, who generously offered me some tickets to give away to two of my readers!

JN Wine will hold their annual Portfolio tasting in the Merrion Hotel, Dublin on November 11th, and tickets cost €20. (For wine lovers in Northern Ireland, they will also hold a tasting on Friday November 12th in Andrews Gallery at the Titanic Building). However, two lucky readers will each receive a pair of tickets to the Dublin tasting where they can taste and sample their way around a room of fantastic wines. 


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

[Events] Irish Cocktail Festival 2016

The brainchild of master bartender Oisin Davis, the Dublin Cocktail Festival first appeared several years ago, and has now gone nationwide in 2016 as the Irish Cocktail Fest. This festival has simply gone from strength to strength and represents a great way to taste some of the very best Irish cocktails and spirits.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

[Events] 2016 wine tastings

Here's a collection of the wine tastings and wine events of which I am aware. If there are events missing, please feel free to get in touch with me and share the details.

October 20th - Cork Bollinger champagne dinner

I was delighted to see that O'Briens are hosting an event outside the Capital, this time in De Real Capital. Join O'Briens and legendary champagne Bollinger for a 3 course dinner paired with Champagne at Les Gourmandises.
Tickets cost €85 and are available from O'Briens Douglas. Contact Nicolas on (021) 436 9596 or email to book.

October 20th - Chateau Kirwan dinner in Cliff Townhouse

O'Briens are delighted to welcome Chateau Kirwan owner Yan Schyler to host an evening of Chateau Kirwan wines matched with the delicious food of the Cliff Townhouse. This historic Margaux chateau makes Chateau Kirwan and Charmes de Kirwan. One of the original Irish wine geese properties, Yann is passionate about Ireland and the part that Ireland played in the history of Chateau Kirwan. This three course dinner will be matched with Charmes de Kirwan 2011, Chateau Kirwan 2012 and Chateau Kirwan 1998 served from an Imperial (6 litre). 
Tickets cost €95 each and are available here.

October 25th - Spanish fine wine tasting with Rafa Salazar of Vinos Tito

Green Man Wines in Terenure welcomes back Rafa from VinosTito back to Green Man Wines for this very special tasting that will showcase the very best of Spain. You’ll taste 8 exceptional and rare wines from stellar producers and excellent vintages. These wine are available in minute quantities and can retail up to €130+ per bottle. A wonderful opportunity to try some real treats from this exciting and diverse land at this once off tasting.
More details here.

October 26th - Wines of Lebanon

Join Lebanese wine writer and journalist Michael Karam at On the Grapevine for a tasting of diverse Lebanese wines including some of the most exciting blends on the market. This will include the ancient and indigenous Obeideh and Lebanon's first "Old Vine" Cinsault. With around 50% of Lebanon’s 9-million bottle production currently exported, Michael’s brief is to bring the country’s wines to a wider audience. “These wines are really special, with a great back story and made with exciting varieties, so I’m hoping that we can make a real impact, especially in the independents and the on-trade,” he said.
Tickets cost €20 and are available from On the Grapevine, 34 Castle Street, Dalkey.

October 28th - Food and Rhone wine pairing at One Pery Square Limerick

In advance of Rhône Wine Week Liam Cabot will be running a Classic food & Rhône wine pairing workshop at No. 1 Pery Square in Limerick. The evening will run from 8-9.30pm and cost €25 pp. For more info please call 061-402402 or email

November 1st - Rhone wine event at Hatch & Sons

Bruno Boisson from Domaine Boisson in Cairanne and Simon Tyrrell, winemaker at Les Deux Cols both from the Southern Rhône will be at Hatch & Sons on Tuesday 1st November.  Simon will host the evening as he takes us through a short history of the region, what makes it endlessly fascinating and why these wines offer perfect winter drinking and fantastic value for money. You will get to taste six wines in total followed by supper with wine: Pate de campagne and Jesus du Lyon Cornichons – Shoulder of lamb, Provencal herbs, black olives, Pommes purée – Saint Marcellin and salad
Cost €35 per person – Please call 01 661 0075 or e-mail

November 2nd - Rhone wine & film event at the IFI

Join a special Rhône wine-tasting and film showing in conjunction with the IFI and Inter-Rhône as part of Rhône Wine Week. The film, After Love, is showing at the IFI as part of the French Film Festival and there will be a special showing combined with wine-tasting for Rhône fans. The wine-tasting will start at 19.00, and the film will commence at 20.30. Tickets for wine-tasting and film: €25 (tickets not sold for wine-tasting alone). Places are limited so pre-booking is essential. For more click here.

November 2nd - Greenes restaurant Rhone dinner

Award-winning chef Bryan McCarthy will present a wine-pairing meal using produce that is wild. foraged, farmed, preserved, fermented, organic and cultivated in as small a geographical area around the restaurant as is possible. Meet the winemakers and taste the wines in the wonderful surroundings of Greenes Restaurant. For more info or to book please click here or call 021 455 2279 or email

November 3rd - The Ely Big Rhone Tasting

The very popular Big Rhone Tasting at ely bar & brasserie returns as the first official event in this year's Rhone Wine Week. This always sells out fast, so be sure to get your ticket in time. Only €20 a head to meet the producers and taste your way from north to south of the valley and back again! To buy yours now click here or visit and click on the Wine Tasting tab.

November 10th - O'Briens Winter Wine Fair in Cork

O'Briens are bringing their hugely popular winter wine fair to the bank of the Lee on November 10th. 130 wines and 25 winemakers will be waiting for you at the Clarion Hotel, Cork. Proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Cork-based Irish Guide Dogs.
Tickets are €15 each and can be bought here.

November 10th - Wine masterclass, tasting and dinner at the Cliff House Hotel

Join Cliff sommelier Thierry Sauvnot, Pascal Rossignol from Kilkenny's Le Caveau and Michelin star chef Martijn Kajuiter in a unique celebration of the vineyard, the land and the sea. Hosted at the beautiful Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore, the evening features a fun and informative wine masterclas and tasting, followed by a specially created food menu. The Unusual suspects will showcase wines created with surprising grapes through unconventional methods. Wines featured include stunning bottles from the organic estate of Casa Belfi in Italy, Georgian wine from master vintner Iago Bitarishvili, biodynamic wines from French producer Alexandre Bain, plus many more.
Tickets are €95 each and can be bought from the Cliff House Hotel at (024) 87800 or via

November 11th and 12th -O'Briens Winter Wine Fair in Dublin

The O'Briens train leaves Cork and heads to Dublin for two nights at the Print Works in Dublin Castle. Grab a glass and taste your way around 200 wines and meet 50 winemakers. Proceeds will go to support Down Syndrome Ireland and LauraLynn, Ireland's Children's Hospice.
Early bird tickets are one sale at 2 for €30 here.  

November 11th and 12th - JN Wines Meet the Winemakers Dublin & Belfast

The annual JN Christmas portfolio tasting is a unique opportunity to taste a wide selection of wines and to meet the people who have a hand in making them. The JN team will give you a glass and tasting list at the door, and after that it's all up to you.
Tickets cost €20 for The Merrion Hotel, Dublin and £20 for the Titanic Building Belfast. More details here.

November 12th - The Corkscrew annual charity wine fair

Join the team from The Corkscrew at their annual charity wine fair. Over 100 fantastic wines will be open for tasting with white, red, sparkling and fortified from all corners of the earth. They will be supported by some of their importers, giving you chance to meet them and see what new wimes are available as wintertime draws near. 
Tickets can be bought here cost €20 or 2 for €30 and all proceeds go to Saint Luke's Hospital.

November 17th - Beaujolais Nouveau party

Released on the 3rd Thursday in November every year, Beaujolais Nouveau day is one of the biggest parties in the wine calendar. The day is a celebration of the new harvest and the wines are fun, fruity, simple and ideal for sharing with friends over a good place of charcuterie and cheese.  Green Man Wines will be pouring a selection of nouveaux from some of Beaujolais’ most quality-driven artisan producers, growers who have driven a new ethos of quality across the region along with some rustic French nibbles.

November 22nd - Taylor's port tasting

The charismatic Chris Forbes will be flying in from Porto to talk (and taste) you through a stunning line-up of exceptional Ports at Green Man Wines Terenure. We are going to taste a range of Ports which will include a White Port, a Ruby, a Tawny, an Aged Tawny, an LBV and of course a Vintage Port. The tasting will be ideal for those new to Port but seasoned Port veterans will definitely enjoy the line up too.
Tickets cost €40 each with more details here.

November 27th - Green Man Wines Christmas tasting

Green Man Wines are back with their second Christmas wine fair. Over 100 wines will be open for tasting, with the importers on hand to advise and guide. Nibbles will be available and all proceeds will go to Barnardos.
Tickets cost just €15 and more details can be found here.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

[Review] Two new Thai hotspots in Amsterdam

I've been out and about in Amsterdam recently, trying to get to some of the more newly opened restuarants. To help me keep track of all the latest openings, I like to refer to two great Dutch blogs Your Little Black Book and BySam. Both blogs are written mainly in Dutch, but it's easy enough to find your way around on both. 

I visited two new Thai restaurants lately, both of which were fun and modern. In the middle of town, you will find Adam & Siam on Rokin, while the more casual Soi74 Thai Food Cafe in de Pijp is a little bit more out of the city centre.
Stitch & Bear - Adam & Siam - Interior
Interior at Adam & Siam


Sunday, September 11, 2016

[Review] Charlotte Quay, Dublin 4

The restaurant space on the ground floor of the Millennium Tower on Charlotte Quay has seen several restaurants come and go. Firstly Ocean Bar & Restaurant and more recently, the delightful Mourne Seafood. It's a location with a gorgeous setting, overlooking Grand Canal Dock, but it has no street frontage. And that's surely a main contributor to the previous closures. After all, most restaurants rely on footfall and passing trade. 

So, can Marc and Conor Bereen buck the trend with their new Charlotte Quay restaurant? They do know what Dublin likes to eat, given the strong success of their other popular locations Coppinger Row and the South William. Under Conor and Marc, Charlotte Quay has received a significant overhaul. Gone is the light and bright interior of Mourne Seafood, replaced by marble countertops, chic fittings and moodier, darker lighting. There's a smart little cocktail bar where you can sip a drink while waiting, but where we struggled to hear each other due to the high ambient noise levels. My Flo and basy gin-based cocktail (€12) was light, tinged with elderflower and bright basil, but just a touch cloyingly sweet. 
Stitch & Bear - Charlotte Quay - Flo and basy cocktail
Flo and basy cocktail


Sunday, September 4, 2016

[Blogging] 8 years of blogging lessons

I only realised recently that I've been blogging as Stitch & Bear for over 8 years. That means it's been 8 years since I looked at the Blogger homepage and wondered "What will I call my blog?" Once I got over that major hurdle, then I was left with the question "What will I write about?"

To be very honest, I wrote a lot of crap at the start. Unlike many bloggers today, I didn't start blogging with a game plan in mind. I just started writing. A sense of purpose and clarity for Stitch & Bear didn't emerge for quite a while. I think it was 2011 when I finally said "Enough crap, Stitch & Bear is going to be about food only!"

Since then, I've gained weight, which is a natural consequence of being a voracious eater who wants to taste everything. I've also met many wonderful people who are involved in the production and service of food and drink. I've written approximately one blog post per week and I've learned a few things along the way...
Stitch & Bear - Blogging lessons I've learned

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