Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Art in Howth

4 Artists are having an exhibition in the Old Courthouse in Howth this weekend, 28th - 29th June.  They'll have over 70 works on display.

Stop by and say hello.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Campo Viejo Tapas Trail

The Campo Viejo Tapas Trail concept is simple and fun: go from restaurant to restaurant, eating tapas and drinking wine.
We started in the newish Drury Buildings. The highlight here was a lamb meatball, which we were later given the recipe for. Dave liked Drury Buildings enough to return within a few days of the Tapas Trail - the little walled garden and the first-floor balcony are pleasant, although the wine selection was disappointingly limited. The leisurely stroll around the block towards the second venue featured a brief diversion while the restaurant prepared for our arrival. Our tapas guide gave a talk about... ah, this and that; he was an entertaining speaker. There was a bit about Dublin, a bit about tapas, and a bit about the wine company Campo Viejo. Since this review isn't an advert, we'll simply say that we approve of their sponsorship of street art, and suggest that this is a more natural fit than the bizarre "sports = beer" concept so many drinks companies seem keen on.

So, venue two: The Market Bar. More wine and a good selection of tapas including Patatas Bravas and a delicious piri piri chicken. One of the nice aspects of the tapas trail is that groups get shuffled around, so we found ourselves mingling with different people at each location.

The next restaurant was Zaragoza on South William Street. Zaragoza, like Drury Buildings, is a good example of the improvement of the Drury Street and South William Street area in recent years. (Did Zaragoza's venue used to be a golf shop?) It's bright and airy, the staff were friendly, and we liked the food. The highlight was the 'Mini Pig Burger'. Mmm. We definitely want to give Zaragoza another visit.

The final stop was Bagots Hutton (or "BH"), also on South William Street. It's a basement-level wine bar with a lot of character and the faintest hint of a musty smell. [Dessert isn't my specialist subject so I'll leave Claire to comment.] As we were there for dessert I can't make any judgement on the food or wine in BH in general, although for whatever it's worth a girl I know ran them out of the wine she and her friends were drinking one night. Maybe it was good wine? More evidence will be required before BH can be given a yay or nay. Claire adds "we had just a very tiny portion of banoffee pie here, it was good but I could have done with about 3 more. I've been on another occasion to BH and found the cheese board excellent with a good wine list."

At just €25 the Tapas Trail is excellent value - we can only presume everyone involved (correctly) regards it as good PR, and prices accordingly. The bad news? Tickets are hard to get. But if you're not able to get one for this year, well, there's always next year, and of course you can try out each of the restaurants and DIY-up your own tapas trail. Oh - and if you fancy a coffee afterwards, Clement & Pekoe just across the road from BH is nice.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Review: After Sarah Miles

After Sarah Miles is a one-man play currently on in Smock Alley Theatre in Temple Bar. It's performed in an almost narrative style, as the protagonist "Bobeen" tells his life story.

One-man plays can be dauntingly intense, but fortunately actor Don Wycherley gets the pace and tone spot on. Wycherley is entertaining right from the start. And though it's a cliché to describe a play as poignant - After Sarah Miles really is. The specifics of Bobeen's life as a fisherman off the west coast provide the setting, but I'd guess that everyone in the audience could relate to his sentiments.

Smock Alley's Boys' School is perhaps the best venue in the city for this style of play thanks to its distinctive interior layout; the compact floor space and high ceiling gets the audience close to the action without seeming crowded.

Conclusion: 4/5.

After Sarah Miles continues in Smock Alley Theatre until 7th June 2014, starting at 8 pm each evening and running for about 80 minutes without an interval. Tickets cost €15/€12.