Ireland, March 2013

March 15, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Posted in books, food, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Restaurant review, travel, Waterstones | Leave a comment
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Ireland: land of leprechauns, Guinness, potatoes and poetry. Well, yes, but, as any Father Ted fans will know, ‘Der’s more to Ireland dan dis’.

The main purpose of my trip was to meet my great nephew, Jamie, who was born in Co Louth in January. However, I also wanted to see more of the North, as having been to Dublin seven times, I was getting slightly bored of it (sorry, Dubbers).

Originally, as I cherish my time alone, I was going independently, but my dad came with me in the end (I’m nearly thirty, but he still worries). We hired a car at the airport and stayed at the rather expensive Bewley’s Hotel, five minutes from the airport. It was nice, but frankly not worth the money.

The next day, we set off about ten for Drogheda, a rather boring town which, nonetheless, has the historically significant River Boyne flowing through it, named, of course, after the battle. Its saving grace has to be its proximity to Newgrance, the Irish Stonehenge, if you like, and a surprisingly nice shopping centre (within which lies a rather lovely Waterstones).

After I met the lovely chap above, Dad and I made our way to Belfast. After checking into the IBIS Castle St (more central and better value than Bewley’s), Dad chilled in our room and I made my way into the town, where I looked up the newly refitted Waterstones on Fountain St and was interviewed by BBC Radio Belfast.

That night, having been recommended Home on Donegall Sq for a good meal, but not being able to get in (always a good sign), we went to Coco on Linenhall St instead. The decor was fabulous – my favourite piece of art depicted a cigarette packet with the words, ‘Religion can seriously harm you and others around you’. Usefully, the food was even better: Dad had beetroot risotto and I had chicken liver parfait to start, then we both had shoulder of lamb, which was divine.

After breakfast on Tuesday, we drove to the Giant’s Causeway. It was freezing at the very north of the country, but worth it to see the amazing stones, which really are hexagonal. The visitors’ centre, rebuilt and redesigned in 2012, was impressive too. Dad enjoyed seafood chowder and I wolfed down soda bread pizza.


Back in Belfast, after an afternoon of reading, we headed to Salt Bistro in the Cathedral Quarter. Unfortunately, my meal was disappointing: the bread served was unsuited to my tapenade and hummus starter, and my thai vegetable curry also contained mussels and prawns, which the waitress suggested I had ordered.

On Wednesday morning, after a delicious breakfast of berry and cinnamon scones and sweetened cream in Avoca on Arthur St, we headed south again. Dad fancied seafood in Howth, but as time was getting on, we headed through Dublin Bay to Dalkey. Again, our food was pretty ordinary, but not a bad end to another lovely stay in Ireland.

So, do I prefer Belfast or Dublin? It’s got to be Belfast!


Lunch at the Goods Shed, Canterbury

February 25, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Posted in Restaurant review | Leave a comment
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Today, I had lunch at the Goods Shed in Canterbury with my good friend Jenna. I hadn’t visited this lovely place for some time, so was feeling very excited at the prospect of another delicious meal there.

I was so hungry once I got there, that I thought I was going to be sick: clearly, breakfasting on endless coffees, Marlboro Lights and an almond macaroon was not the way forward. Oddly, however, a starter of chicken liver parfait, red onion chutney and melba toast was the perfect antidote to my nausea.

Next on the menu was pork, red cabbage and apple purée for Jenna and chicken breast, chorizo and leeks for me. The saltiness of the chorizo was the perfect foil to the freshness of the leeks; my only quibble would be that the roast potatoes could have been crunchier.


Full as I was, I can rarely resist pudding, for which I chose blood orange posset served with thyme shortbread. I’ve only ever had lemon posset before, so was intrigued by the use of blood orange. I loved the shortbread more than I thought I would, and the blood orange jelly topping the posset was heavenly, but the posset itself lacked that distinct citrus which I was craving.


All in all, it was a tasty, reasonably priced meal which reminded me why I love the Goods Shed. If you’re bored of chain restaurants and want to try something interesting for a change, take a trip to this restaurant.

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