Camile Thai – Brunch Review

Last weekend, myself and two of my besties were lucky enough to be invited to the launch of Camile Thai’s new brunch menu, at their first “sit-in” restaurant in Phibsborough, Dublin. Those of you who are familiar with the Camile brand will know that they are famed for their Thai takeaway restaurant chain, so I was a little surprised when I heard that they were launching a brunch menu and I have to say that I really questioned what on earth “brunch with a Thai twist” would consist of.

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It turns out that “brunch with a Thai twist” is delicious and it’s EXACTLY what one needs to recover after a night out on the town. The brunch menu at Camile offers a wide range of options from classic breakfast dishes like “Eggs Benedict” to more substantial dishes like their “Katsu Chicken Fillets”.  The restaurant doesn’t offer a large selection of brunch cocktails yet but, the girls and I started our afternoon with a “Kir Camile” which is a lovely fruity combination of Prosecco and Creme de Cassis. It should be noted that they serve a really good quality glass of Prosecco that’s fairly light but has gorgeous almond, pear and apple flavours – for me, this is really important because I’m so sick of the “muck” that’s often served at some of the “bottomless brunches” that have become a fad in recent times.

 

 

Moving on to the food. First up, let’s talk about the “Eggs Benedict”. My friend had this dish, so I’m giving you the low-down from her point of view. This is probably the best time to mention that the three of us could be classified as “food snobs”. We have all worked in the hospitality/food industry, so our standards are pretty high. A brunch menu is not complete without the addition of an “Eggs Benedict” dish and Camile’s version consists of two poached eggs, rashers and chilli hollandaise sauce – all served on a toasted muffin. The presentation of this dish was brilliant and as you can see from the photo, it looked really appetising. There’s nothing particularly Thai about “Eggs Benedict” but, my friend really enjoyed the kick that the chilli hollandaise sauce gave to the dish. It’s a small but effective twist that transformed a dish that can be quite bland, to a flavoursome option – if you’re popping in for a quick breakfast, this is a great choice.

Next up, we have my dish of choice, the “Katsu Chicken Fillets”. This is the PERFECT option for anyone who is feeling hungover and needs a spicy pick-me-up. The crisp chicken fillets were accompanied by green curry sauce and fried potatoes that were seasoned with garlic, chilli and salt. This dish is ultimately a high-end version of the “spice bag” which just happens to be my takeaway of choice if I’ve had a few too many cocktails the night before. The chicken was cooked to perfection – the coating was perfectly crisp but the meat itself was juicy and full of flavour. The potatoes were the kind of “roasties” that melt in your mouth – they were fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside. I detest under-cooked or soggy fried potatoes but these were some of the best that I’ve tasted and the seasoning was great too – spicy but not too salty. The only minor issue that I have was that I would have liked more green curry sauce to be served with the dish but this is just a small hiccup and is easily resolved by simply asking for more sauce.

 

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The final dish that we sampled was the “Salmon Fish Cake Slider” which was served with a toasted muffin, roccola, siracha mayonnaise and fried potatoes. Now, I’m not a big fan of salmon but the lady who ordered it is. She described it as zesty with a kick of spice and loved the siracha mayo which added flavour to the fish. Again, the spiced fried potatoes were great. I have to admit that this dish looks divine!

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Calories don’t count on Sunday so all three of us opted to try the “Warm Death By Chocolate” dessert. I’m a “dessert person” and would usually choose sweet over savoury but I’m afraid that for me, this dessert fell a little short of the mark. It was light and tasty but it wasn’t exactly “death by chocolate” which, in my opinion, translates to calorific and smothered with rich chocolate sauce and/or caramel. Again, the presentation was great and this might be a good option for those who don’t enjoy heavy desserts but I would like to see a more luscious dessert option on the menu. The dessert didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the brunch experience, it’s just a little constructive criticism for the restaurant.

We had a brilliant afternoon at Camile – it was a fabulous place to recover after a night out/ The decor is really nice and relaxed, the staff were absolutely lovely and the customer service was flawless. Again, having worked in hospitality, we see this as something that either makes or breaks a restaurant. All three of us have agreed that we will definitely return at some stage – maybe next time we’ll opt for an evening meal with some of that delicious Prosecco.

Thai Brunch at Camile, Phibsborough is available every Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 4pm and all the dishes are priced between €5.95 and €13.95 – it’s well worth a trip!

Rouge x

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“Le Drunch” at the Marker Hotel – Review.

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I’m the Queen of brunch. Almost every Sunday, I will drag myself from my cosy nest of blankets and pillows and traipse across town in search of a yummy “Eggs Benedict” or my all-time favourite “Coco Pops French Toast”. The only issue I have with this is that, the odd time, I’m feeling a little fragile after a night of partying and getting up at 10 am for brunch becomes a little less appealing. However, the Marker Hotel know what’s up, and they’ve come up with a solution to my little problem. Let me present “Le Drunch”.

“Le Drunch” is a combination of dinner and brunch and it is served from 2pm on Sundays, out in the very picturesque setting of Grand Canal Square. A fortnight ago, I ventured out to sample some of the dishes, with the help of my lovely Mum, in celebration of completing my final exams. My mouth is currently watering just thinking about it…

We kicked the celebrations off with a thirst-quenching cocktail. In the Marker, they present you with the option to “build your own” Mojito. So divine… This one was my choice and was infused with strawberries. Mum had the cocktail pictured on the right. This one is the “Marker Dream” and was infused with Beefeater Gin, Chambord, elderflower, grapes and lime juice. She loved it, and may have had another one over the course of the meal but ssshhh..

In order to make complete pigs of ourselves, we decided to order three courses during “Le Drunch” and pictured above were our “Start Plates”. I had the “Chipotle Spiced Chicken Wings” while Mum tried the “Tiger Prawns”. Now, of course I sampled both.

The chicken wings were the most unusual that I’ve ever tasted. Whilst I am very dedicated to my generic “hot sauce” style wings, the Marker’s wings were a refreshing change from the ordinary. These wings were glazed to perfection and tasted spicy, while retaining some sweetness with the sprinkle a pomegranate.

Of course, Mum the star dish. Her prawns were the highlight of the entire meal. The prawns were served with garlic, shallots, chilli & French baguette. And, oh my goodness, they were amazing. The meat was tender, succulent and cooked to perfection. I would return to “Le Drunch” at the Marker, even if this dish was the only one on the menu.

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Next up was the main course. When we entered the Marker Hotel, we decided to leave the diet at the door so, we ordered from the “Comfort” section of the menu. There’s also a “Equilibrium” section that offers healthy alternatives and would be a great option for any one who considers themselves to be “fit fam” material. This time, I ordered the “John Stone’s Butcher’s Secret” dish while Mum had “The Marker Charolais Irish Beef Burger”.

The “John Stone’s Butcher’s Secret” was essentially a really tender cut of meat, served with champ, roast shallots, mushrooms and peppercorn sauce. The meat could be described as “melt in your mouth”. I’m starving just thinking about it! Also, I’m a stickler when it comes to any kind of mashed potato and in this instance, the champ was completely “lump-free” and creamy. I cleared my plate..

Mum said that her burger was really well cooked and juicy. She enjoyed the Parmesan truffle fries and, the homemade tomato relish was gorgeous. However, if we had to pick a winner in the main course department; my choice comes out on top.

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I can barely breath thinking of it, but there was no way we could have left without sampling the dessert on the “Le Drunch Menu”. If the truth was told, I would have to admit that I would have gladly eaten every dish on the menu.. Yes, I do have a sugar addiction. So, to finish, Mum had the “Baked Alaska” (pictured above) and all I can say is; why on earth isn’t this dish served everywhere? It was essentially a plate of fluffy, meringue and ice-cream goodness. I was raging that I didn’t order this dessert myself!

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I decided to try the “Banoffee” which is my absolute favourite dessert. Now, don’t get me wrong; it was absolutely delicious but, I was so full that I only managed a few bites before admitting defeat. Banoffee pie is always a very heavy dessert so, I would only recommend ordering this one if you haven’t just eaten your weight beforehand. Still worth it though!

Overall, “Le Drunch” at the Marker Hotel was one of my favourite dining experiences in Dublin, to date. The staff were lovely, the setting was stunning and the food – well, the pictures speak for themselves.

If you want to take a look at the food menu you can do so here. You can also take a sneak peak at the cocktails/drinks menu here. It is a little on the pricey side but as they say, “treat yo self” – it’s definitely worth it!

If you have anymore dining recommendations in Dublin, I would love to hear them. You can let me know here (in the comment section) or over on Instagram (username: rougewritinghood).

Rouge x

Catch 22, Dublin – A Foodie Review.

It is notoriously difficult to find great quality food, at affordable prices around the Grafton Street area. This is mainly because the well known shopping district has developed into a tourist trap, littered with chain restaurants and fast food joints. However, I am delighted to announce that I recently stumbled across a diamond in the rough. Let me introduce Catch 22.

Catch 22 is located opposite Kehoe’s on South Anne Street and they pride themselves on their simple, yet delicious seafood menu. The décor which consists of tiled flooring and bleached timber panel walls screams ‘sailor’ and, I am delighted to report that there’s nothing pretentious about the atmosphere of the restaurant.  Alas, a word of warning: this place is tiny and they operate on a “first come, first served” basis so you can only reserve tables for parties of 5+. But, if you are lucky enough to snatch up a table on arrival – you are in for the most delightful treat.

I have been to Catch 22 on two occasions now and I’m happy to report that they have my full seal of approval. On my first visit to the restaurant, I ordered a portion of calamari with hand-cut chips. More often than not, Irish eateries get it wrong when it comes to squid – we’ve all had the over-cooked, rubbery type. However, the deep-friend calamari in Catch 22 was soft and succulent, and I have to admit, surprisingly fresh. The calamari was served with chilli mayo which was tangy, rather than spicy – delicious.

  

The menu at Catch 22 provides for the addition of two specials, sourced and cooked fresh everyday. So, on my second visit to the restaurant I opted for one of these specials; prawns tossed in Marie Rose sauce, layered over home-made brown bread. The prawns themselves were moist and bursting with flavour and freshness. I expect that they were sourced directly from Dublin bay – no phoney frozen fish here! The sauce was simple, yet tasty and complimented the fresh seafood perfectly. And as an added extra, the hand-cut chips were cooked to perfection – fluffy on the inside with perfectly crispy skin.

  

And there you have it – unpretentious, wholesome comfort food at surprisingly affordable prices! 
What do you think? Worth a visit? Let us know in the comments!

Rouge X 

 

My Deliveroo Review. 

Everyone knows that dining out is the ‘Holy Grail’ of my hobbies. So, imagine my joy when I heard that I no longer have to leave the house in order to source ‘restaurant quality’ food. The food delivery app ‘Deliveroo’ has launched in Dublin and promises to deliver from many major eateries across the city, straight to your door. Yes you heard me – restaurants such as Nandos, Aussie BBQ and many more straight to your door!

Last week, my friends and I decided to give the app a trial run by hosting a foodie party. In the mood for pizza, we chose to order from McGarry’s Pub and Restaurant in Harold’s Cross, Dublin. €50 supplied three large pizzas, two portions of chips, one portion of wings and a side of garlic bread topped with mozzarella. 

  

The service was super fast with the food arriving within 35 minutes of ordering online. The food was delicious and travelled well, tasting just as it would had we eaten it in the restaurant. The app itself is really easy to navigate – suitable for technophobes city-wide.

  
I can’t wait to see what else ‘Deliveroo’ have to offer. Considering we fed five people on €50, I don’t think I’ll be cooking next time I host a dinner party. 

For more info you can check out the website here

Let me know if you love it!

Rouge x

The Gotham Cafe – Foodie Review.

If this blog isn’t making you gain weight, you’re not reading it properly. Today, we’re taking a trip to The Gotham Cafe on South Anne Street, Dublin. A hidden gem, located just off Grafton Street, this place is definitely worth the visit. You will be greeted with quirky, retro decor and a big welcome from the really friendly staff. The Gotham Cafe is bustling with shoppers, natives and tourists alike so it’s the perfect place for a break from reality.

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Myself and my fabulous friend Tanya had the good fortune to visit The Gotham Cafe on a gloriously sunny day. Therefore, we sat outdoors to enjoy the buzzing ambience of the city. Opting for the lunch menu which is great value, I selected the “Chargrilled Herbed Chicken Ciabatta Sandwich” while Tanya had the “Chargrilled Steak Ciabatta Sandwich”. Both were equally flavoursome and delicious!

First up, we have the chicken sandwich. This treat  was layered on ciabatta, smothered in sweet chilli & basil crème fraîche and served with homemade fries and mixed salad. A minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips but worth every second. The chicken was succulent, the dressing was tangy and full of flavour while the bread was fresh and crispy.

So, what about the steak sandwich? Personally, I’m not a huge fan of steak sandwiches – I always find that the steak is cut too thinly and usually overcooked. However, I had a little taste of Tanya’s dish at The Gotham Cafe and can vouch for the fact that it was nothing short of delicious! The sandwich was accompanied with garlic mayonnaise, rocket, tomato, relish and homemade fries. Thinly cut, yet cooked to perfection – the steak was of the ‘melt in mouth variety’ and like my own, the fries were crispy on the outside and perfectly fluffy on the inside.

All this food came in at under €20, so you won’t feel too guilty about treating yourself.

Let me know if you try it – I love hearing your feedback!

Rouge x

The Brunch Of Champions.

A Manhattan ritual, Sunday brunch is my favourite meal of the week and as it becomes more and more popular in Dublin, I’ve resolved to discover the best and reveal it to the masses. This week, we popped into San Lorenzo’s on Georges Street. Famed as a NYC style eatery, I had high expectations of this establishment. So, did they deliver?

 

You bet they did! Credited by Dubliners as “The Brunch of Champions”, the fry-up was nothing short of divine. A huge portion to satisfy even the worst of hangovers – this is a treat to the taste buds!
   

Forever a slave to my sweet tooth, there was one dish in particular on this menu which caught my eye and stole my heart. San Lorenzo’s have created “Coco Pops French Toast” – an exciting mixture of French toast, coco pops, caramelised banana, peanut butter and Belgian chocolate sauce. Heaven on a plate is an understatement!

 

No brunch is complete without cocktails and San Lorenzo’s do not disappoint. I sampled the ‘Boris Karloff’ which was a combination of gin, elderflower liqueur, lime, egg white and club soda. The cocktail was expertly mixed with a fabulous zingy citrus flavour – perfectly refreshing after a night of clubbing! Also, a thank you to the lovely barman who welcomed us at the door and chatted with us about his recommendations, regardless of the fact that he was rushed off his feet. 

Let me know if you have any more brunch suggestions!

Rouge x

I have the Simplest Tastes, I am Always Satisfied with the Best. – “Taste of Dublin” Festival 2015.

Article brought to you by Jessica Wilkie, otherwise self-proclaimed ‘Silkie Wilkie’ – best friend, ticket taker and now, beginner blogger.

As a first time explorer at the “Taste of Dublin” festival, I can wholeheartedly say I was not disappointed. Thanks to Evoke.ie, we were lucky enough to visit on Thursday afternoon and as pale and light-lusting Irish folk, we were delighted to experience a beautiful sunny day for this annual outdoor event. A taste of Dublin which is hosted in the Iveagh Gardens, is a delicious array of marquees offering food and drinks from bars, cafes and restaurants around Dublin. As we wandered through the gardens, we were greeted with tent after tent of mouth-watering delights inviting us to graze at will like gastronomic dinosaur with insatiable appetites. If you are sceptical about whether or not this event is really your scene – I can assure you that “Taste of Dublin” has a little something for everyone.

Have you got a sweet tooth? If so, walking past stalls like that of the “Dublin Cookie Co.” without having an irresistible urge to grab all the cookies and run for the nearest escape will be next to impossible. How can any girl walk past a tray of macaroons without sneaking over for a nibble in true Blair Waldorf fashion? Or, if like me, your heart starts melting at the prospect of melting chocolate then “Choc Allure” is the place for you. A cup filled with strawberries, toffee and marshmallows, smothered in milk chocolate needs nothing other than some peace and quiet to selfishly indulge yourself in it.

If, your taste buds tickle for food of the savoury variety then the world is your oyster. I decided to take this phrase quite literally and sampled the oysters from “Lobster Rock”. For some it’s an acquired taste and for me, the experience was a little more ‘Mr Bean’s Holiday’ than the ‘Birth of Venus’ – I can safely say that I’ll stick with chocolate as my preferred aphrodisiac.  We followed the oysters with some lobster rolls which were delicious lobster cocktails packed inside brioche baps.  The lobster was soft and fresh, cushioned by the sweet bread of the brioche. It was as tantalisingly tasty as it was well cooked and left me content in the knowledge that Sebastian hadn’t been sacrificed for nothing.

The reality was that “Taste of Dublin” had a food for every mood.  There was a great spectacle of restaurants catering for every taste; moving from the oriental “Asian Market”, to gastropub “Chophouse”, to modern day bistro “Pichet”. And with chefs such as Rachel Allen and Edward Hayden appearing in the “Tattinger Tent” and the “Electrolux Taste Theatre” I got a real sense that these people are passionate about what they do and it really translates into their cooking.

If you enjoy a liquid lunch, then brace yourself for some tough decisions as you move around the market. “Taste of Dublin” has it all from craft beer and cider to champagne and prosecco. The cocktails from ‘KOH’ were so vibrant and creative that macho men scattered through the market were left ‘minding them’ for non-existent girlfriends, in the hope that nobody would notice that they were secretly enjoying them themselves. I personally loved the “Prosecco Bar” which is a travelling company that sets up at “Taste of Dublin” each year. There you had lip-smacking options of ‘Bellinis’ and ‘Kir Royales’ to name just a few. I opted for a “Raspberry Sparkle” which was light and fruity and contained all the essential bubbles, making it my top choice as summer drink. We were shown how this drink can be easily created by adding some light raspberry cordial to your prosecco – perfect for summer parties and nights in with the girls.

Not a fully-fledged foodie? Fashionistas behold! As an essentially daytime outdoor market, the trending fashion was smart-casual. I wore a light, summery, lace dress from River Island, paired with black and silver sandals from Topshop. Bold colours and floral print playsuits were a popular choice at the festival, often paired with wedges and either statement jewellery or a belt.  The general vibe was summer chic – clothes that were light and summery but comfortable. Seeing as a lot of the walking is done through grass or cobbled stones and footpaths, comfortable flats or a small wedged heel is a fashion must. I’m ever appreciative of pain being beauty but when you are tottering precariously across the stones or stomping across the grass, your stilettos creating more holes than a small family of gophers, you are quick to concede that comfort and leisure are vital ingredients in enjoying the whole experience. Overall, I got the feeling that this summer’s main theme would be “Sixties Hippie” with flared trousers and colourful camisoles making frequent appearances. I for one, will be embracing the look this summer. Groovy baby, very groovy!

On my journey, I had the pleasure of meeting model Rozanna Purcell who nailed the fashion look of the day wearing a pretty, white summer dress paired with black leather boots and a black leather jacket. She vamped up the summery glow and polished it off with a seductive smokey eye and nude lip make up look. I am definitely in favour of the ‘girlie-girl’ meets ‘rock chick’ combo.

To top off the enjoyment of the whole experience, live music reverberated through the market as a number of stages were set up around the gardens. There were grassy areas to chill out and relax and tabled, seating areas to allow you to eat and drink and settle into the music. The great thing about the music was that it added a sense of occasion to the festival and contributed to the over-all buzz.  A festival with mouth-watering nibbles at your fingertips? Sounds like heaven to me.

So there you have it, my first trip to “Taste of Dublin “and I can genuinely say I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. And, since studies are showing that people who invest in experiences are happier and more socially interesting than those who invest in material things – I would highly recommend “Taste of Dublin” as the perfect place to start .The great thing about festival is that it allows you to achieve the best of both worlds; enjoying culinary delights while basking in the ambience. I’m a firm believer that eating out is still one of life’s most treasured pleasures and we are lucky in Dublin to have such a vast variety of high quality bars and restaurants to choose from.  I’m going to quote Flo Rida on this one and conclude that “I don’t like it – I love it, love it, love it”.