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!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

[Review] The Brown Bear, Two Mile House, Co Kildare

Don't you just love when you find a treasure? Over the course of my years spent blogging, I've stayed in many locations and found many culinary treasures dotted around the countryside. The latest revelation has been the wonderfully named The Brown Bear, which is located in Two Mile House, just a little bit outside Naas.

It's a little weird from the outside, sitting in a newish building in a tiny village. The building has a bang of Celtic Tiger construction from the outside, but inside, it's wide open, with stairs winding upwards and elegant decor. The Brown Bear takes its name from an Eighteenth century coach house, and indeed a shaggy brown bear motif is gilded onto the door windows. Things are looking good. 

We are seated at a booth for four, giving us plenty of room to relax. As we've arrived early, the restaurant is largely empty to start, but as the clock passes 1 o'clock, diners start to arrive in happy groups. Following our orders, we start with the most glorious of bread baskets, accompanied by olive oil, vinegar and butter pats. My personal favourite was the yeasty roll-up, filled with olive tapenade, but each and every piece was perfectly crusty and perfectly baked. 
Delectable bread basket with butter pats


Sunday, August 2, 2015

[Review] Wowburger, Wellington Quay, Dublin 2

If you've been a regular reader of my blog for any period of time, you should know by now that I like a good burger. If you're a new reader to my blog, let's get the awkward introductions over, and let me tell you one interesting fact about myself. I like burgers. 

I especially like American style or dirty-style burgers. For me, this means burgers with soft, thin, juicy patties, fluffy buns (I'm flexible on bun style, as long as they're not overly crusty), lots of melty cheese, probably crisp bacon and then other optional stuff. I dislike thick, dry, mealy burgers, or hockey-puck burgers, as I like to call them. 

Right then, I think you've got a good understanding of my burger philosophy. So therefore, I am pleased to introduce you to Dublin's latest burger joint, Wowburger. In a move that relegates genius to the dumbass zone, Wowburger has been installed in the top floor, outdoor area at the superb Workman's Club. If you're not familiar with the Workman's Club, this means that Wowburger is located in a cool outdoor smoking area, in one of Dublin's best pubs, that also happens to be one of Dublin's best music venues. 
Yellow and red at Wowburger
Collect here at Wowburger
The colour scheme at Wowburger is bright yellow and candy apple red in thick diagonal stripes. I did wonder if these colours were selected based on their association with a famous burger chain and their clown mascot. Either way, it's fun and bright and the inner child within starts clapping their hands in anticipation.

The menu is simple and I choose a Wow Bacon Cheeseburger (€6.95) with regular fries (€2.95) and a thick vanilla milkshake (€3.95). Himself also chooses the bacon cheeseburger, albeit with different toppings, plus the wonderful sounding garlic butter fries (€2.95). After payment, we sit down at one of the eclectic mix of tables and wait for our order to be called. 

The burgers are served in de rigeur style, on an aluminum tray lined with greaseproof paper and wrapped in foil paper. Upon opening, the burger is revealed in all its juicy glory. It looks great, with two patties, oozing cheese and a super soft, slightly squished burger bun. As I bite in, the crisp, smoky bacon kicks into effect, along with my chosen grilled onion and Wowburger sauce toppings. The soft bun holds up very admirably to the challenge without disintegration. In short, it's a great burger. 

The fries are good, and a special mention must be made for the garlic butter fries, which are exactly as described on the tin. 
Burger and regular fries at Wowburger
Bacon cheese wowburger
I wish that someone had created Wowburger when I was a student. But then, I often wish that Sir Henry's in Cork was still with us and hadn't been demolished to make way for a carpark. I especially wish that Wowburger had been created in Sir Henry's. That would have been epic. But there's little point in wishing for things in the past, but there's much to admire about wishing for better things in the future. 

My single grouse is that the outdoor area is also the smoking area for the Workman's. Sorry, but I'm never going to be a fan of smoking when eating. It's just not nice. Putting that aside, Wowburger nails the dirty burger perfectly. Simple burgers, cooked exceptionally well, and served in a relaxed and cool location. Only thing to watch is that Wowburger stops serving at 9.30pm in the evening. That's probably a good thing!

Wowburger, (Upstairs at the Workman's Club), 11 Wellington Quay, Dublin 2
Tel: +353 (0)86 056 3144
Twitter: @wowburgerdublin
Instagram: @wowburgerdublin

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