Eating Out · Review

Taste of Dublin 2017

Value is important to me. I’m not cheap – I’ll spend a little more on a 5-star hotel if it’s worth the money – but I hate feeling ripped off. A couple of years ago I won tickets to Taste of Dublin, and even though I didn’t pay for the tickets, I still felt like it was bad value for money. The portions were tiny, the food was expensive and it was crowded. We left hungry.

Even so, when I was asked to pop along to the Sunday afternoon session for work, I was excited to find out if anything had changed.

I was pleasantly surprised.

4 dishes, 2 cocktails, a couple of cookies and €40 later, I finally admitted to myself at 8 tonight that the BBQ I had planned probably wasn’t going to happen. I’m still stuffed.

The Meat

I started with the Croquetas Selection from The Port House. Seriously good value at 4 Florins, tasty and generous. My favourite was the Confit Duck. The Jamon Ibericos didn’t do much for me.

Port House Croquettas

After a quick trip the bar for a Hugo Spritz, I headed to Saba for their Lamb Panang. The lamb was tender and the sauce was thick and creamy with the perfect balance between sweet and spicy.
Saba Lamb Panang
I’d heard good things about the Chakra Lamb Bihari with Flaky Malabar Bread from Jaipur so I made that my next stop. The bread was the star of the show. Soft and flaky and perfect for mopping up the meltingly good lamb and sauce. At 6 Florins this was the best value dish of the day.
Jaipur Lamb Curry
At this point, I was pretty full, so I grabbed another drink while I flicked through the brochure. My final dish came from Suesey Street. I clearly have a thing about meat that just falls apart, because I went for the Braised Daube of Beef, Pommes Mousseline, Shallots and Watercress. It was super rich so it probably wasn’t the right one to end on (and definitely not suited to the weather) but I enjoyed it.
Suesey Street Beef Daube

The Sweet

One of the problems with Taste of Dublin is that you’ll inevitably end up with a Florin or two left over. A couple of years ago we had 3 Florins left and ended up spending €5 more to use it up on two overpriced ice creams. This year I noticed that Gather & Gather were selling cookies sandwiches for 1 Florin each, so I brought a couple home. (They were crumbly and filled with chewy marshmallow – so good!) And with that, my Florins were gone!

The Rest

Plenty of seats, gorgeous weather, a fantastic atmosphere and the convenience of the Just Eat waiters. Dee Laffan’s conversation with Sharon Hearne-Smith at Food For Thought was super interesting and fun. I went alone and enjoyed myself.

My Taste of Dublin Advice

  • Go early, grab a seat in the Just Eat area and use the map to get your bearings. You can always order your first dish from your seat.
  • Don’t buy your Florins until you’ve checked the menus. You can always buy more but you don’t want to end up with too many.
  • If you fancy a little cooking, sign up to one of the slots as soon as you get there.
  • If there’s a particular demo you want to see, keep an eye on the time so you don’t miss it.
  • Win a ticket! I’m only half joking. I felt that the food I ate was good value for money and I enjoyed myself, but a large part of that is down to having my ticket paid for by work. It’s not a cheap day out, so anything that makes it cheaper is the way to go.
  • Relax. You have 4 hours. Don’t feel that you have to march around the place seeing as much as you can. Grab a drink and enjoy your day out.

You can follow Taste of Dublin on Twitter if you want to keep an eye out for information on next year’s event.

 

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