It’s finally spring in UK, with sunny long days that I can almost call warm – very welcome change that makes me long for travel and time spent outside. This is why I chose Dublin for a weekend trip, the hometown of Oscar Wild and Guinness (apparently whiskey too). What I didn’t expect was to have so many culinary surprises; it felt like the city had so much to offer.
The Greenery – Donnybrook
Finding this place was a lucky strike – since it’s not in the city center but a healthy 40 minute walk away, in the southern side of Dublin – in Donnybrook. I only know so much about the neighborhood because the lovely guesthouse I booked was in the area and because the check-in was only open after 2 PM I had some time to spare for lunch. The Greenery was the first restaurant with a sunny small terrace that I saw after getting off the airport shuttle. Although it was a workday (Friday) – the place was almost full, but the waitress was very polite and accommodating and found me a seat immediately.
It wasn’t difficult to decide, the salads seemed to me the hit of the place – so I went for the crab salad with avocado, tomato vinaigrette and homemade brown bread. I loved it! It was probably the first time that I really appreciated the touch of very well balanced vinaigrette to a dish, the roasted pine seeds made such a difference and added tons of flavor. The crab pasta (hidden under the green leaves) was creamy and fresh and went so well with the queen of the plate – which for me was the delicious homemade brown bread, served warm. I only once before had such bread on a trip to Sweden, I’m not sure if the recipe is Nordic, but I know that I never tasted something similar in these parts of Europe.
It felt like I discovered a hidden gem, prices being reasonable as well – on my last day I went back for breakfast. Sunday mornings are quite busy, especially if trying to find a place on the terrace, so maybe aim to be an early bird. This time I stayed true to my first instinct – which in the morning will always be the scrambled eggs with smoked salmon…and since they also had a choice of wild mushrooms, I added those too (very strong and earthy flavor, the mushrooms were delicious and I wholeheartedly recommend).
Olesya’s – Wine Bar and Bistro
This time finding a good place to eat was no coincidence. Since apparently the weekend I chose for my trip was among the very few sunny weekends that Dubliners get…it was (almost) impossible to find a nice restaurant with a terrace in the city center. I’ve been walking in circles for miles with no luck, until I found Olesya’s somewhere in between Grafton Street and South Great George Street. Although it seemed a bit on the pricey side, it still tempted me with the lunch menu and the many wine choices. The wine menu was by far exceeding the food one, which is never a bad thing.
The pleasant surprise was the starter and if I knew I would have probably ordered it for the main too. I chose the carpaccio of organic beetroot, lightly salted herring and potato salad. It was definitely a very refined dish and the presentation impressed too. The service was impeccable and the waiter was careful not to keep me waiting at any moment.
Dublin surprised me and it’s now on my culinary map for sure 🙂 since I can’t say Dublin without thinking Guinness, here is one before I leave you.