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What We're Reading, Eating & Watching | April 2023
A delicious digest of satisfying suggestions...
Another edition of our free monthly digest kicking off each month shining a light on some of the best things we’ve eaten, cooked, listened to, watched/streamed or read recently that we hope will inspire you. Think of this as a ‘highlights reel’ of what we might ordinarily share on social media, jam packed full of suggestions and recommendations to keep you in the loop, and no two digests the same!
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Eating & Drinking
We spent St. Patrick’s weekend up north with one of our closest friends, Laura Bradley (of Indie Füde fame!) exploring the beautiful Causeway Coast together. We nipped into George Nelson’s picture-perfect pierside cafe Babushka for brunch, coffee and anzac slices then nipped across the way for pints in one of the best bars ever: The historic Harbour Bar in Portrush.
We ate in newly-opened LIR outside Coleraine, the cavernous Bushmills Inn and also made our way to Derry for a review you’ll see in the not-too-distant future. Plus, we finally got to the little treat-filled treasure that is Maegden’s bricks-and-mortar shop! What started as a cute caravan pitched in a muddy field by the Giant’s Causeway… we couldn’t be prouder to see Maegden’s yassification!
Another Paddy’s Day adventure, we paired up with our pals at Locke Living to delve into some of the best pubs in Dublin…
Over in our Sunday Times Ireland restaurant review column we’ve been to Moran’s Oyster Cottage for fab fish and chips and native dainties, FX Buckley in Temple bar for slap-up sticks and a bruiser bottle of red, 57 The Headline for a Sunday roast that reminds of the ones we loved in London and awarded our first 10/10 for the unmatchable two michelin-starred experience at Liath in Blackrock. Plus, don’t miss our ‘If This, Then That’ trio of suggestions to accompany each one, too. Across these four we spotlight 12 *other* places, too!
Outside of Ireland, we’ve been to London twice since our last monthly mailer. Working backwards, earlier this week, Patrick flew solo and ate at the second branch - first south of the Thames - of Roti King. Set in the totally transformed Battersea Power Station complex under the railway arches, the service let the whole place down but we just can’t quit the roti canai with chicken kari. It’s £8.25 and one of the best things under a tenner in the entire city –– but stick to the Euston original on Doric Way for the real experience.
Earlier in the month we both spent a whirlwind two days in the city, eating at Michelin-starred The Ninth the very day after it re-opened, cute seasonal-aligned cafe BURNT, Brixton Market wine bar Bottle + Rye and also a big beautiful roast at Blacklock.
Watching & Listening
Like annual clockwork, we’re bet into Great British Menu this year, aren’t you? Whilst we continue to loudly pine for a standalone Irish iteration of the format, let’s just talk about Andi Oliver, shall we? Once again this year proving she was the secret to rejuvenation –– her addition to the judging panel a few years ago a fine move, but the evolution of her role to host has had a profoundly positive effect on the show. She’s got the energy, the sharp wit, the motherly touch, the FASHION, the sass and the expertise. “Shantay, you stay,” Andi. The chefs may all be competing to be the ‘best in show’, as it were, but we all know she is.
Mayday, Mayday! MasterChef Australia is coming BACK on 1st May! Early last week we got the first trailer and teaser of the concept and contestants. This year it’s all about “a season full of secrets and surprises” and it’s not fans vs. faves or back to win, it’s strictly first timers-only. We have heard that lots of familiar faces will be popping up on at the junction of every twist and turn throughout, and an ongoing “celebrity chef” guest judge is yet to be announced. In the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party promo it sees the three judges (Melissa, Jock, Andy) at the centre of a maze willing on and welcoming the 18 new hopefuls make their way towards the centre –– which is a smaller group than the usual 24. It won’t air in on Irish & British telly for a while, but if you know, you know Reddit is a good starting point
A cúpla new cookbooks to shine a light on: two we’ve been really enjoying, and two we’re super excited to get our hands on. One thing that they all share, though, is wonderfully eye-catching and expressive covers.
Biased, as we contributed one of our recipes to this (and it’s a bloody brilliant one), but The Gathered Table is a collaborative Irish cookbook that celebrates the relationship between food and home, in aid of the incredibly deserving Peter McVerry Trust. [Out now, order here from NineBeanRows]
Two cookbooks we’re eager to have in our hands is the long-awaited eponymous debut BAO from Erchen Chang, Shing Tat Chung, and Wai Ting Chung of cult-adored BAO restaurants in London. We listened to a Monocle The Menu podcast episode from earlier this month about their debut book and their art and design approach to restaurants, which was a fascinating listen. [Out now, Order here from Phaidon]
The second is the upcoming sixth in the Blasta Books series, Tapas (of which our book Hot Fat was the sophomore!) from Anna Cabrera and Vanessa Murphy. The couple are co-owners and proprietors of Las Tapas de Lola and newly-opened La Gordita. Just look at that octopus cover! [Released 20th April 2023, Order from blastabooks.com]
JP McMahon’s done it again. His Michelin-starred restaurant, which this week saw it holding a star for ten years straight, has long been an icon of fine dining in the west of Ireland and its magic now distilled in An Alphabet of Aniar. Designed as a reflective, companion piece to his seminal book on Irish cuisine, The Irish Cookbook (published by Phaidon in 2020) with another aim to stir discussion and dialogue as JP does so well. [Out now, order from Aniar Restaurant]
Speaking of Michelin, stars aside, we wrote this the other day about the Bib Gourmand accolade, wondering has it truly lost its way –– especially where Ireland is concerned…
As ever, a little “Thanks!”
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