Our new favourite Sunday activity is going for walks in the hills and forests of South Dublin and Wicklow. As well as getting out for fresh air and activity, a lot of the walks give stunning views of Dublin and Dublin Bay. In less time than it takes to watch an episode of your favourite TV show, you can climb and look down on the city. Check out the Wicklow Walks website for listings of various walks, which are graded by time taken and degree of difficulty.
On a recent Sunday, we walked through the woods at Carrickgollogan, climbing to the top of the little summit for some great views. From there we continued round the circuit to the historic Ballycorus lead mines flue chimney. Obviously we were a bit peckish after our ramble, so we headed to the nearby Park in Carrickmines, where you can find the Vanilla Pod Eatery.
The Vanilla Pod Eatery is a bright open space with ample seating for hungry shoppers, office workers or local residents. The people behind the location have loads of experience including the Brown Thomas Café, and this is evident the minute you step into the VPE. The counter is bursting at the seams with loads of cakes and sweet goodies, while little pots of heather brighten every table. As it was Sunday, the brunch menu was available, boosted by several daily specials.
He chose a hearty bacon and sausage sandwich (€7.50) served with a little pot of relish and an extra side of fries (€2.90). This was substantial, enhanced by the high quality of the sausages used. I chose one of the specials - egg, ham and cheese served with potato rosti (€8). This turned out to be a large disc of roughly mashed potato, topped with a thick generous slice of home cooked ham, egg and melted cheddar. It was extremely satisfying after an outdoor walk, but there was too much potato and I ended up leaving a decent portion on my plate.
|Bacon and sausage sandwich|
|Fried egg, ham and potato rosti|
As we ate, we watched the busy staff work, we could see that their t-shirts are emblazoned with humourous statements, a theme which carries through to the coffee mugs. My only complaint about the VPE arose when we received our coffees. We ordered Americanos (€3), only to receive full-sized mugs full to the brim. I dislike the Irish habit of serving over-sized coffees so this was a negative point for me.
|The humorous mugs at the Vanilla Pod|
There's a whole lot to like about the VPE. It's friendly and casual while the food is simple but good. Prices are pretty decent and there is a cheerfulness about the place and its staff that is quite welcoming. In short, it's a very decent casual eatery.
Vanilla Pod Eatery, The Park, Carrickmines, Dublin 18
Tel: +353 (0)1 294 5126