When we sat down at Bastible the other night none of us could actually say what a Bastible is. Can you? Well, here you go: a Bastible is “a flat bottomed cast iron pot used for baking largely in the nineteenth and early twentieth century Ireland.” Now that we know, we are all better people, right?

I have been known to frequent restaurants strictly because they have fun bathrooms. There is a restaurant in the West Village in NYC that I brought many people to and went back to repeatedly for two reasons: 1, $10 two course lunch menu and 2, bathrooms that were hilarious and terrifying all at once. I would bring friends from out of town, then they would then bring new friends when they would come back a year later. The bathrooms kept Peep in our repertoir for years. I would still go back today. I won’t tell you exactly what the bathrooms at Peep are like, go see for yourself.

The bathrooms at Bastible are excellent too. Their use of brushed concrete, communal trough sink and rope toilet roll holders was enough to have our table talking for at least ten minutes. That was handy because we were there for over three hours and needed to fill our time at the table talking about something.

We talked about the food when we had it, which probably totaled all of 30 minutes of the three hours we spent in the place.

Freebie treat.

The food is worth talking about. It’s excellent. If it had been served in a timely manner it would have been better. We were all very hungry for each course, then ate too quickly, then all felt hungry thirty minutes after.

Delicious Beetroot Starter

There were some classy freebies, and I love a classy freebie. We had gorgeous giant radishes to dip in  a smoked cod roe hummus-like sauce. These freebies were standard for all dining and not because we were being made to wait for our food.

Venison Main

I was told we would be asked politely to leave by 8.45 when I booked, but our food had not arrived by 8.30. Then we were allowed to sit with nothing to eat or drink for almost fifteen minutes before we got the bill. It got exciting when the fire alarm started going off because of some frying going on in the open kitchen. We probably should have just started on a second dinner at that stage. Would they have noticed if we just walked out?

Offending Extractor Fan/Kitchen

For a restaurant that has been open long enough to have worked out service kinks, and to have made sure their extraction fan works. I had very high expectations. The food lived up to them. The overall experience did not. For the cost of the experience, all expectations should have been met.


Bow Lane Brunch


At Bow Lane on Saturday morning, I turned into a Restaurant Jerk. I became the guy who makes a fuss about food, or argues over what can and cannot be served. I am never that guy. If my meal comes out and is missing an item promised to me on the menu, I won’t say anything. If my burger isn’t cooked perfectly, I let it slide. On Saturday, I ordered the Truffle Egg Toast, and this is how I morphed into Restaurant Jerk:

Me: I’d like the Truffle Egg Toast, please, but may I have the egg well cooked?

Server: Oh, um, I actually don’t know if you can. It’s a poached egg.

Me: Right, and I would just like it to be cooked a bit longer. I’m not supposed to eat runny yolks at the moment.*

Server: Well, you see, the egg is cooked in the toast, it’s all put under the grill, and if we try to cook it longer the toast will burn.

This was my moment to say, “ok, well, let me have a look at something else, then, give me a second. What might you recommend?”

But instead, I said, “is there really no way you could cook the egg first and then put it in the toast?”

Server: You see, they crack the egg in the bread and cook it all together. That’s just how it’s done.

I’m thinking “let it go, it’s fine, I’m bummed, but let it go,” and I’m saying,

Me: And there is no other way to do it?

Server: I’m so sorry. But the Eggs Benedict is really good and we can definitely poach your eggs longer?

Me: Let me see . . . . Um . . .

At this stage my husband and my friend are thinking “Annie! Decide! Who cares! Oh man, we’re sitting with the Restaurant Jerk.”

Me: Ok, fine. I’ll have the Eggs Benedict I guess. With the eggs well cooked. Please.

You know what? The Eggs Benedict was pretty darn tasty. There was plenty of slow cooked salty ham, wilted spinach, crispy sourdough bread in place of a muffin and just the right amount of hollandaise sauce. My eggs were cooked perfectly.

The Eggs Benedict

C ordered the Eggs, Greens and Grains which was colorful on arrival and colorful in the mouth. The freekeh, a grain I hadn’t heard of before, was cooked with a kind of pesto and there were plenty of roast vegetables. It was also hilarious to watch C struggle with the full roast leek on this plate.

Eggs, Grains, and Greens

Our friend had the pancakes and I’m glad she did. Someone had to provide desert. The ‘cakes themselves live somewhere between a crepe and an American pancake and were stacked tall before being drowned in a maple caramel sauce and some cream for good measure. There were also bananas.


Our coffees were tasty, the room was dark and cosy. Though the brunch is delicious, I did feel that Bow Lane is somewhere you want to be in the evening. When the sun is shining outside it’s hard to sit in a dimmed room with dark wood and leather. However, I like to imagine myself surrounded by that dark wood and leather on a rainy night with one of the many cocktails on the list.

There is a bar menu and a restaurant menu for evening. Some items overlap. The space is large, so even though Bow Lane is quite popular, you should definitely try to squeeze in. I will, because you can’t judge a place just on its brunch, right?



*I am currently pregnant and have been told to avoid runny yolks, but like all pregnancy advice, there is always some wiggle room and frankly, I probably could have eaten the Truffle Egg Toast. The whole thing just became competitive for me. I turned into a Restaurant Jerk.


Bow Lane Brunch

Café at Industry


It is nice  to walk into Industry on Drury Street and not have to leave 10-15 minutes later feeling angry that I simply cannot afford to pay over 50 euro for some nesting wire baskets. Happily for me, the food at the café is affordable and delicious.

The menu is like an upmarket Blazing Salads (Industry’s neighbor) with the added carnivore offerings of meat or fish. There were seven salad options the other day and two protein options. Salad options included a beet and goats cheese, c0uscous, grilled sweet potato, grilled broccoli, green lentil, carrot, and green beans with sugar snaps. Protein options were cold chicken breasts smothered in an herb yogurt sauce and cold grilled salmon.


I had the chicken and two green salads. An extra broad bean salad was brought out when I was about halfway through my meal which I thought was unfair. It looked like a mountain of creamy orange bean goodness.

There are four vegetable juices to choose from, all the coffee confections you could hope for and plenty of flourless dessert treats. So if you just want a snack or a quick coffee, you’re taken care of. Whatever your choice, you’ll be hard pressed to choose badly. The food is fresh and tasty, the coffee is good and according to an overheard conversation the cookies are “excellent”.


It’s nice to sit in Industry and watch the people walk by. Even though I cannot afford the candles, blankets, or hip leather backpacks they sell, sitting amongst those treasures, eating yummy food is some consolation. If you’ve got a cape or giant scarf that can be slung around like a cape, you’ll be even closer to fitting in with your surroundings.

Café at Industry



Borlottie, on Baggot Street, needs a new door. The whole look of the place could use a re-vamp, but the first issue the designers should address the door. I was sitting by the door and everyone who walked in or out became my enemy. It wasn’t totally their faults. The door is not easy to close. The owners/managers clearly know this as there is a written sign on the door that says “please close door completely.” If only.

It’s a shame that the decor is not nicer (or chicer or cozier or slicker) because the food is good. If this place were in NYC (and it might as well be for the “CROSSFIT RECOMMENDED!” meals on the menu) I would slide past it to a slightly better looking salad/healthy lunch joint. No one should ever underestimate the power of a slick interior. I will go and sit a coffee shop because I like the light fixtures. I realize that says more about me than interior design, but I can’t be alone in this.

The main competition a few doors up is Cocu, and Cocu is far cozier and cuter if much tinier. Borlotte is vast. I like that there are more places to sit (and free wifi), so it should be comfortable to sit there. And warm. With a door that shuts properly, even if the queue usually goes out the door.


The food is fresh. I had the house salad with marinated turkey breast as my protein. I like that turkey is showing up more and more on Irish menus in creative ways. My salad was tasty but not “I cannot wait to get back here” fabulous.

There are more options (hot pots, noodle soups, rice dishes) than up at Cocu, and from the intel I gathered from staring at other people’s plates, they seem to be good options. Most everyone finished their whole meal.

Here’s a thing, though: in a health food based dining joint you would hope to find an eye towards environmental impact. The hot pots are served in styrofoam/plastic containers. The salads are all in plastic. The bin looks like Al Gore’s worst nightmare. It’s not hard to source paper take away containers.

Though I was satisfied with my salad and thought the turkey was a lovely addition, I won’t be rushing back to Baggot Street weekly for a salad here. Get a new door, though, and we’ll talk about it.

The Offending Door. And Opening Hours. And Me.





It was a tradition in our house growing up that the birthday person would get to choose where to have his or her birthday dinner. We lived in LA, a city full of dining adventure opportunity, but our dinner location choices were never that creative. My siblings and I went back and forth between Ed Debevics, a 50s-style diner complete with waitresses in poodle skirts, jukeboxes, and malts, and Benihana. Benihana was a classier choice, and had food people over fifteen wanted to eat. At Benihana, a Japanese restaurant, dinner is cooked on a grill at your table. At your table! The chef would make a volcano out of onions, set the grill on fire, and flip shrimp into his tall chef hat or onto your plate. It was a show and a meal all in one. The highlight was the green tea ice cream that arrived inside a ceramic Buddha.

For the past year C and I have walked past Tippenyaki on Castle Avenue in Rathmines and said to each other: “When are we going there?” We live right around the corner. Tippenyaki is the Japanese name for what Benihana is: cooking on a hot grill. It gets great reviews, good word of mouth notices, and even smells good as you walked past. C and I love Japanese food. I love Benihana. What has stopped us?

For one, the prices made us feel like we had to be picky when it came to choosing an occasion to visit it. It’s not a casual night out. It’s not crazy expensive either (mains are in the 18-25 euro range), but just that bit more where you feel like you need a reason to go. Like a birthday. Also ,it tends to be packed.

But not on a Monday night in January at 6.30! We did have a good celebratory reason to head out, and we had the whole place to ourselves. Prawn crackers were produced for us to munch on as we perused the large menu. I knew we would go for the Tippenyaki grill options over sushi. If there is grill in front of you, you want someone to cook on it for you, right? We ordered gyoza to start (standard. Tasty.) and decided to split one duck grill meal and one veggie meal.

Our chef came out in a tall chefs hat with all the vegetables chopped in perfect sizes. There was a bowl of rice, two raw eggs, a pile of vegetables and a plate of duck. The tofu to go with the veggie dish was prepared in the kitchen. Boring!

Our chef gave us a great show as he sliced, diced and grilled our dinner. There was no onion volcano, but he did set the grill on fire and did some amazing work with a pre-cracked raw egg. He made small talk, tried to flip cooked egg into our mouths (fail on all fronts. I blame ourselves) and made us feel as though his making us dinner was the best thing he’d done in 2016 so far. We talked about New York, the Philippines, Toronto and Dublin weather.


We ceased our chatter when it was time to dig into the meal properly. Our chef wiped down the grill while we shoveled the food into our gobs. The food was very tasty, but the experience made it worth the price tag. Would it be as much fun if we had to share the grill and the chef? I don’t know. Maybe not. I’m willing to go again and find out. I also hear the sushi is excellent.




You know a place must be cool when they don’t need to put a “The” in their name. And if the worst thing you can say about a dining establishment is that the tiny milk pitcher was drippy, they probably deserve to drop the “The”.

Richmond opened only a few weeks ago just down the road from our house. If more of these fantastic local eateries keep popping up on our doorstep C and I will have to figure out how to live in a small, one-bedroom cottage forever. FOREVER.


We popped into Richmond for lunch on Saturday. It wasn’t too busy and we nabbed the good seat in the window. The other customers were basically us: 20-30 something couples out for their late breakfast, early weekend lunch.


The menu is not to big, but there’s something for everyone. C got the baked eggs and was delighted with himself. Mushrooms on toast with gruyere cheese and truffle oil drizzle was the first item on the menu and the one that won my heart immediately. I never really saw what else was on offer.


The space is small and cozy. It feels less flash then a lot of the other new places cropping up. There is exposed brick, but no subway tiles. There is a simple colour scheme but some design-y light fixtures. It’s comfortable.


There is a dinner menu that hits all the bases as well as the successful lunch/brunch offerings.

Richmond could become our favorite neighborhood joint.