Nac Mac Vegan: adventures in rabbit food

30/03/2009

More on vegan Dublin

Filed under: Eating out — Tags: , , , — Feòrag @ 22:14

As mentioned in the previous post, I returned to Juice one evening to have the mushroom wellington. The food was excellent, but I have to say that if your establishment is in a 1960s building made of concrete, the decor consists of hard surfaces, and you have members of staff whose first language is not that spoken by the majority of customers, then loud music isn’t a good idea. My (BBC English speaking) partner’s main course order was misheard, though replacing it was handled professionally and with good grace. I also noticed that the scrambled tofu I mourned was on the weekend brunch menu, so I went back for that, too.

We also tried out Sinners, a Lebanese restaurant on Parliament Street, close to the Porterhouse. The menu had ample vegan options, and the service was just the right level of attention. The food was tasty, but the portions are American in size, and being tourists we couldn’t really take them up on the offer of packing the leftovers in take-away containers.

The Porterhouse, where you will find the best beer in Dublin, has added a vegetable tagine to their menu which looks to be vegan.

I’ve eaten a lot of very substantial food on this trip, and am looking forward to a week or so of light Japanese cuisine and salads before I hit the road again.

28/03/2009

Disappointment and delight in Dublin

Filed under: Eating out — Tags: , , — Feòrag @ 16:35

I’ve been in Dublin and environs for the past few days and the food has been somewhat variable.

The first disappointment was discovering that China House has changed its menu, and the interesting range of vegetarian dishes has been replaced with mixed veg in a choice of five very boring sauces. The next was the lunch menu at Juice, from which the scrambled tofu and mushrooms on toast, and practically every other vegan option, has been removed. There are now only two vegan main courses – a stir fry (yawn!) and a bean stew. The evening menu looks to be pretty good, and the mushroom wellington is still there. Disappointment the third was discovering that another Chinese place with an interesting veggie menu, the one by the International Bar, has closed.

My intense disappointment was compounded by the vegan meal prepared by the posh hotel restaurant (with prior notice), which after a good start – a mediterranean soup – degenerated into yet another bloody stir fry. This was a vegetable one, with the same vegetables served boiled as a side dish. The chef appeared to have added salt to the stir fry, even though the sauce consisted mostly of soy sauce. It was so salty, I couldn’t eat it. Dessert was a fruit salad – the raspberries were nice.

So, that’s the bad stuff out of the way. With himself busy doing other things, I was able to take myself to Cornucopia, a venerable vegetarian wholefood restaurant of the most worthy kind. It’s a cafeteria-style establishment, very similar to Henderson’s in Edinburgh. There are generally a couple of soups (both vegan on my visit), five main courses (three of which were vegan), about a dozen salads (all vegan) and there were vegan desserts too, though I never got there. Everything is labelled as to whether it is vegan, gluten-free, low-salt and many other things. I went for a layered polenta dish with fennel and squash, which came with two salads of the customer’s choice, and I was completely full.

This morning I was passing and noticed they were serving a breakfast menu, including items that the omni partner likes. A lot. So I texted him and we had brunch. He had the omelette of the day – smoked cheese and aubergine, I believe – which he declared to be okay, though he felt the aubergine was an odd thing to put in an omelette. I had the vegan cooked breakfast – two sausages which were clearly doctored Sosmix, stuffed mushrooms, beans, an excess of caramelised onions and toast. I’m typing this at four in the afternoon, and I’m still not hungry!

My other discovery so far is Cafe Irie on Fownes Street in Temple Bar. It’s a place that, if it were located in the UK, I would point out as the epitome of Britishness. It’s a reggae themed cafe serving Italian/American style sandwiches apparently run by people of East Asian ancestry. They have a lot of vegan options, mostly involving hummous. The vegan club sandwich provided a more substantial lunch than I was expecting and was delicious. I plan to head back and try the tofu wrap some time. Note this is not the same place as featured in this disturbing report – the Temple Bar branch was sold on late last year and is no longer related to the Thomas Street one. As a result of the stushie, the new owner is considering changing the name.

I have a couple of other places to investigate – Saba looks rather promising, as does Sinners, a Lebanese place on Parliament Street not too far from my hotel. There’s also a Filipino restaurant over the river with some vegan options on the menu. Finally, when I was getting annoyed at the lack of vegan lunch options, a man overheard us and mentioned that Gruel has a chef who used to be vegan and who enjoys cooking up something special for vegans.

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