Wednesday, 8 June 2016

24 in Dublin: Union 8, 50 Shades of Gay and Slice

Yesterday was my first day off in a while, because of my job in the arts- this time of the year tends to be quite hectic until the the lazy Summer hits. I like to plan something on my day off otherwise I'll end up procrastinating and wasting the day away on meaningless activities. One of my good friends from the arts world had landed a solo gig and dying to see him in it, I booked 2 tickets to see him perform in the Smock Alley Theatre. Sticking to our plan of eating our way around Dublin- we booked Union 8, in Kilmainham for pre-theatre dinner and planned brunch for the following day in a little restaurant- Slice in Stoneybatter, that we had walked past a few weeks ago and that was buzzing and we were dying to try.


Union 8- self-labled as your neighbourhood eatery has been busy every time we passed it. Ev had heard great things about it, but we always booked something else in the past and so only got round to trying it out on the Monday. It was 5.30 on a bank holiday so we were offered the Early Bird Menu @ €23.50 for two course + tea/coffee. I went for the Seared scallops with Mc Carthy’s black pudding, Spring onion, Ponzu and Chicory for my starters and the special of Pan fried hake on a bed of tomatoes and squid. And Ev went for Wild garlic and nettle soup with Créme fraiche and Nduja  and for mains went for the Roast Duck breast, Blood orange, Potato rosti, Carrot and anise. To drink I chose a Passion fruit Margarita and Ev went for a Coconut Mojito. 

To be blunt- it was poor and we expected so much more. I don't know if we expected more because of the reviews, because it always looked busy or because we liked the idea of having a restaurant a stone's throw away from Ev's childhood neighbourhood. But it was so poor. Drinks were good, and so were my scallops. But everything else was just very mediocre. The soup had a domineering pea smell from it- even though peas weren't advertised in the title. My hake (which is a fish that I love!!!) was overcooked and also burnt on the outside and the bed of tomatoes ended up being a tomato cut in half with a few lack lustre pieces of squid. Nothing that made it a special. Ev's duck was cooked well- except that it was luke warm and the rosti seemed to miss seasoning. Don't get me started on the half piece of carrot on the plate. This wasn't a tasting menu, so don't serve food that way. 23.50 is fine for a two course, but our waiter seemed brand new, didn't know the menu and we waited 20 minutes for our drinks to come out. I hate not giving something another try but but I really don't think I would visit Union8 again. The brunch I'd try- but other restaurants nearby offer a far more attractive meal. Highly disappointed. 

50 Shades of Gay- on at the Smock Alley Theatre till Saturday 11th June

This is not a bias review simply because I know Rob Murphy personally. I've seen other friends in performances before and not necessarily blogged about it. I'm more writing a review because it actually far exceeded my expectations. It's a fantastic bit of theatre that everyone can relate too- gay or not! When I told Rob last week that I'd bought tickets for me and Ev- he rather politely went crazy and suggested that I should be going with a group of girls or some gay friends. Utter nonsense. While it is a rather overly stereotyped play on a gay men and his sexual conquests- Aiden (played by Rob Murphy) speaks about some of his 69 past boyfriends and we can't help but grasp on to a few familiar situations and just as we start to well up and reminisce, Aidan snaps us back to laughter with references on grocery items that will never set foot in my trolley again; sweetcorn and jelly tots are over for me!

The Smock Alley is a fantastically intimate theatre, just rather disappointingly, ticket sales were quiet (hey it was a bank holiday Monday and a lot of people had work the next day!) and I knew that it mean't Rob had to work ten times harder to get any audience interaction. So on that alone- I was blown away. His effort and passion for performing in a one-man show was brave and inspiring and  I highly recommend you visit this week before the run ends this Saturday. Hey, the weather is so beautiful in Ireland at the moment, it's perfectly acceptable to go for a drink or dinner, take a walk up the quays and stop for a bit of theater- c'est la vie non?! Tickets can be booked here.


Tuesday's brunch was at Slice. I walked past it a few weeks back and it looked charming. There was people sitting on the makeshift bench, it's located in the uber cool Stoneybatter area and I made mental note to come back and try it out in the future. We arrived around 11.30, so breakfast was still being served. And the lunch menu started at 12 which suited me fine. 

I went for the scrambled eggs on sourdough with avocado and chorizo and Ev went for the home made beans and sausages on Sourdough with Gubbeen cheese. He went for one of their teas, I went for their juice of the day- watermelon and apple and we got two coconut milk cappuccinos and a slice of coconut cake that was filled with the oozing jam. As far as breakfast goes- mine was lovely- decent portions, but most importantly good tastes. Loads of coriander + meaty chorizo in mine and simple homemade beans in Ev's were the highlights. And we really enjoyed the bread. I loved the juice so much- we stopped of in the supermarket on the way home and bought watermelon to use in Ev's juicer. And my coffee was good. Like real good. Cappuccinos made with coconut and almond milk are my new go too's. I'm really obsessed with them. I got chatting to who I think was the owner- and just the overall vibe of the place was my cup of tea. Me and Ev love Stoneybatter- just one of the terrace houses from the mortgage gods down the road and I'd be sorted. can dream right!