Fern House Cafe
We took a trip to Avoca Kilmacanogue on Saturday. First we had a bite to eat at The Fern House Cafe which is a beautifully bright and airy space. It was a gorgeous hot day so we took advantage of the heat and sat with the tall sash windows opening out to the paved terrace. Built in the style of a Victorian fern house, it's spacious and plant-filled - including orange & lemon trees. We had a selection of the dishes to share including the vegan super-food salad, half rotisserie chicken and the fritter plate with pitta bread. The vegan salad was particularly tasty with lots of interesting flavours and ingredients including bee pollen, goji berries and edible flowers. The plate was so colourful!
We followed it up with a wander around the avoca store. There is so much to browse you could loose yourself for a few hours looking through all the cute household bits, books and treats. There is also lovely authentic food spots within the store including; Roberts of Dalkey fish shop, Michie Sushi, Poulet Bonne Femme Rotisserie Chicken & a Cheese Shop.
There is plenty to see and do near Avoca Kilmacanogue. Powerscourt Gardens are very near and would add to a lovely day out!
Fern House Cafe:
Mon - Sat: 9.30am - 4.30pm - Sun: 9.30am - 5.00pm
Fish Shack Dun laoghaire
With weather like this you just have to make the most of it and get out and about whenever you get some time off work. It was a Friday evening after a long week! The weather was absolutely gorgeous so we decided to dine alfresco! We picked up our appetite with a walk on the pier and a bite to eat while we were there. Stephen decided on fish of the day (Haddock) & chips, I went for the crab roll salad & chips & our bill was €18 in total. The wait was short, maybe 4/5 minutes before we had tasty looking fish & chips in our hands.
We found a spot on one of the little benches and watched the world go by! It was a super relaxed yet tasty meal so we'll definitely be doing that again!
People's Park Farmers Market
Every Sunday there is a fantastic farmers market in Dun Laoghaire. Its one of the best markets we have been to. We used to have a stall here for a few years when we started business with our gluten free bakery - Pure foods. Its full of fantastic authentic local suppliers with top notch quality produce. The Park has been open to the public since 1890 and features great examples of Victorian architecture with the Gate Lodge and the Tea Rooms, a bandstand featuring the original gaslight standards and a playground. The market is a very popular spot and this weekend there was an amazing crowd, it felt like festival was on! Over 50 vendors trade each Sunday selling a wide range of products including delicious hot food, baked goods, art and crafts, artisan food products and seasonal fruit & veg!
There are some fantastic Irish food producers there every week so you can buy everything you need. We have started to get our weekly shop here, its a much more pleasant trip that having to face the aisles of your local supermarket! We love the organic fruit and veg stall as well as the organic meats and fresh fish from Howth. We also bought a sample box of Irish cheese including goats, sheep and cows cheeses from Cooleeney cheese.
People's Park Market, Dún Laoghaire
Sundays 11 am – 4 pm.
The Happy Pear
We ventured out for a cycle on Saturday from Blackrock to Greystones. With this glorious weather and a day off from the shop we decided to get out and enjoy the sunshine! We finally reached Greystones and had worked up quite the appetite. A stop at the Happy Pear has us fuelled up in no time. We both had the paprika and coconut veggie stew which was so delicious I was dreaming of it the whole cycle back. We'll have to buy their cookbook to see if the recipe is revealed!
We polished it all off with two coffees made by fantastic barista Mike (who we trained over at Bear Market!) All in all a great feast for two hungry cyclists.
The Happy Pear
Greystones, Co Wicklow
The Market Canteen
Just off the main street of Blackrock, there’s a little lane that leads to Blackrock Market. On a Thursday evening, you can follow the lane past the stalls, closed for the night, that usually house businesses such as Kiddy Knits, Fish Shop and The Bean Bag Shop. Following the lane, you turn a corner and are greeted by a little bistro inviting you in for a bite to eat.
This is Canteen at the Market, run by Soizic Humbert and James Sheridan. They open for lunch Wednesday through to Saturday and welcome evening patrons on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights for dinner. Humbert and Sheridan both count Thornton’s among their Michelin Star-spangled resumés. ‘When we found this premises, we took it on the basis that we could garner the experience and build a reputation,’ Sheridan explains. ‘Markets are, after all, incubators for small business.’
What once was a greasy spoon now serves as a cosy setting for a set tasting menu. There are four courses for €42 and the menu changes weekly. It’s hand-written in large letters on a brown piece of paper that hangs in the middle of the restaurant. Tonight the menu reads well; we’re to have scallops, brill, venison and raspberries.
The scallop starter is rather impeccable. I can’t think of where I’ve had scallops better cooked. The perfect sweetness of this marine delicacy was cut through perfectly by pickled raisins and astringent vinaigrette. The accompanying florets of beautifully blackened cauliflower and crunchy chicory made this a delectable starter that was a proud celebrant of the turn of the seasons.
The main course of venison is similarly relished, the pink meat sprinkled with a walnut crumble. Sweet pears, softened, work well with the venison while roasted Jerusalem artichoke add their usual earthiness to the proceedings. A moreish sauce is drizzled over soft gnocchi dumplings and a dehydrated sliver of pear topping the whole dish off. Dessert comes in a delicate little glass so that we can see tiny donuts, pieces of crunchy cake, meringue and raspberry granita mingling with beautiful Irish raspberries.
There was a little bump in the road throughout all of that success. The brill, braised with ceps, butternut squash and fregola (a lovely couscous style pasta) promised all the joys of autumnal cooking; big, fat mushrooms on top of the glistening fish, cosying up to the moist and plump fregola. But this dish just didn’t quite deliver. Though a touch of self-applied seasoning helped somewhat, the subtle depth of the other dishes was sadly missing in our second course.
Coffee and macaroons add €3.50 to the bill but they’re worth it; my macchiato is a great combination of creamy and tart while the toffee-hued macaroons are gooey and crispy in just the right way. With a bottle of sparkling water, two glasses of wine and four courses each, the total bill comes to €105.45.
Sheridan tells me Canteen at the Market is a “pilot project” and the pair clearly have their eyes on the future. It feels a bit special to catch this team’s journey as they serve their ambitious food in this sweet, informal setting. These two are definitely ones to watch.
Canteen at the Market
Blackrock Market, Blackrock, Co Dublin
Photography: Mark Duggan
It's always exciting when a new lunch spot opens near the office. But, the initial novelty of something different lasts only so long, and then it's back to the humdrum. However, with the opening of Sister Sadie on Harrington Street (in the site of the former Tiesan cafe), I don't think there's going to be any ennui anytime soon..
Sister Sadie comes from the people behind the acclaimed Brother Hubbard (Capel Street), who currently hold the title of Best Sandwich in Dublin, awarded by McKennas' Guides for their pulled pork creation. The cafe is set back a little from the street, with room for outdoor seating in finer weather. On the day of my visit, autumn was definitely in the air, with golden leaves swirling on the ground. Inside, the style is clean and bright with simple square wooden tables and bench tables along the window.
Sister Sadie serves breakfast until 11.30ish (taken from their menu), after which it switches to lunch service. The team have continued to work with their established Brother Hubbard suppliers for their new menu. Soups, salads, flatbreads and of course sandwiches all feature with a definite Middle Eastern flavour going on. Most dishes come with a side portion of one of their homemade salads, making each plate a substantial affair. Cannellini beans in a thick, lightly spiced tomato sauce came with pulled pork and a soft fried egg (€9.95). A gentle citrus note added some zing to the sauce, partnered by a little scattering of sumac across the top. The pulled pork was top notch, not too soft or wet and based on this, it's easy to see why the Brother Hubbard sandwich has won the accolades.
Sister Sadie is open from 7.45am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and there are plans for weekend brunch soon. The new location is sure to be a winner with potential to catch both the office crowd and the local residents. This winning mix of healthy, tasty food, coffee and sweet treats is bound to be as popular on the southside as it has been on the northside.