Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bright Courtyard - Dim Sum

Dim Sum is a form of Chinese cuisine where food is prepared in individual bite sized portions served in steamer baskets or plates in portions of 3 or 4. Traditionally, this was not supposed to form a meal, and was eaten along with tea.

In the early to mid 1980s until say the mid 1990s rich Indians [who at that time were almost always non vegetarian] used to flock to the Royal China Restaurant at either Queensway or St. Johns Wood in London and eat Dim Sum at lunch time. Not only were Rich Indians in the 1990s non vegetarian but their range of travel was mainly to England and the Continent. The Middle East, Far East and America were generally not visited. America had some visits from parents whose children were graduating from some US University. No restaurant in India served this, so eating these delicious morsels was a really exotic treat for us Indians. Soon, more and more restaurants in London started to serve Dim Sum, but Royal China remained the favourite. America, by and large, has no clue as to Dim Sum so eating it there was impossible.

Soon, like everything, the Dim Sum scene changed and so did the Rich Indian. Today a Rich Indian is vegetarian, travels to the Middle East, Bangkok, Singapore [especially if he has children as it’s a child friendly place] and the US is very much part of a Rich Indians itinerary. Royal China has opened in India and boasts 2 branches in Mumbai – Bandra and VT. Hakkasan and Yauatcha both the new Rich Indians hangouts, have also opened in Mumbai. Every Indian Chinese restaurant in Mumbai serves Dim Sum, obviously in 3 versions, chicken, fish and vegetarian, anything else is too threatening. Now, horror of horrors, Dim Sum is served in India even at dinner. However, to eat good Dim Sum you still have to go to London. Royal China still serves excellent Dim Sum though the St. Johns Wood branch has shut. The Royal China Club, the more upmarket restaurant serves top class Dim Sum. We had some Dim Sum at the Bright Courtyard which is fast gaining a reputation as an excellent Chinese Restaurant.

Dim Sum by and large can be classified by cooking in neat categories – steamed, fried and baked. Dumplings called `Gao’ are normally steamed. The outer covering is rice or wheat flour sheets. Common forms of `Gao’ are `Sui Mai’ with a bland shrimp or chicken or prawn filling. A Prawn and Chive dumpling is also very popular.  `Bao’ are made of wheat flour often with yeast. These are either steamed or baked and the skins are much more substantial therefore requiring the inside to be more robustly flavoured with fillings like Sweet Char Sui Pork or Sweet Bean Pastes. A Rice Noodle covering is another category of Dim Sum and is called `Cheung Fun’. Baked Dim Sum is one where the outside is Puff Pastry. There are also several other types, too numerous to bore you with.

At Bright Courtyard we ordered a fair selection of Dim Sum which we washed down with some Chinese Green Tea. The light was good and the photographs have come thru well, even if I say so myself. 

Baked BBQ Pork Puffs

Shanghai Dumplings

Beef Cheung Fun

BBQ Duck and Pumpkin Dumpling

Minced Chicken Sui Mai

Pan Fried Peking Gyozas

London - more stray thoughts and random observations

A few more stray thoughts and random observations on London.

We Indians have our collective nanny i.e. our Government allegedly headed by Dr. Manmohan Singh, whose integrity and honesty is without question. All that our nanny does is all for our good, such as for example, messing up our investment climate and allowing the Rupee to slide to Rs 54 to a Dollar, and, waffling about FDI in retail, and, changing taxes retrospectively and banning dance bars. All this is good. But this post is about London not India.

Well, in the UK the nanny likes to tell people what is good and bad for them. Apparently people drink too much in the UK. So they have formulated a huge awareness campaign telling people, sorry educating people, how much they should drink. It has been decided that a man should ideally not drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol per day. To help you know how much is a unit; the nanny has sort of dictated that all alcohol glasses should have marks showing how many units of alcohol the glass contains. A pint of Guinness contains 2.3 units. So I should not drink more than 2, better still 1 pint and a ½ pint is ideal. Ridiculous! If you are 18 you should have control of your life. No nanny required.

Harrods is a most astounding store. Originally it was a very British store, which was bought by Mohamed Al Fayed in 1985 and sold by him in 2010 to the Qatari Sovereign Fund. The store is huge and literally has everything inside. People believe the store is expensive, but I do not think so. The Queen and me have lots of free time in London and spend a lot of it buying cooking equipment, be it knives, pans and other gadgets. We do a lot of comparative shopping, wandering thru the `Kitchen’ sections of not only Harrods but Divertimenti, Selfridges, John Lewis and smaller independent stores making notes of prices. More often than not Harrods has the widest range, most knowledgeable salesmen and prices that are the same if not a tad lower than other stores. The bigger difference is that Harrods will normally not stock a cheaper brand, so you will not find an Antler suitcase at Harrods but will certainly find Samsonites and Rimowa. These suitcases cost a lot of money, but that does not make the store expensive. Anyway, the point I wanted to make before going out on a limb defending Harrods is that the brand is so strong that I often see people wanting to be photographed under the Harrods sign.

London is known for its theatre. The Musicals are very popular and people make it a point to see one when they are in London. It is a very different experience seeing a play in London. The theatres are quite imposing, the quality of acting, music and dance is high and in case it’s a musical you have a live orchestra playing in the theatre. Its big budget, it’s expensive and it’s great fun. We went to see `The Sunshine Boys’ a Neil Simon play that stars Danny DeVito. A movie version with Walter Matthau and George Burns is something old timers may recall. The theatre is located in the famous Savoy Hotel. The play was absolutely top class. This runs for only 12 weeks so if you are in London till the middle of July, do make an effort and see this play.

To continue on the theatre thyme, we went to yet another play another comedy `What The Butler Saw’ starring the hilarious Omid Djalili. This play is a farce. Not as good as Sunshine Boys.

After a most disappointing stretch of gastronomy in Dublin, we needed some charging up. What better place to do this than at the very nice Pierre Koffmann Restaurant at the Berkeley. A reservation was made at 8 pm to allow for any flight delays as we would be arriving from Dublin just a few hours before dinner. Once our telephone number was noted by the receptionist, obviously the restaurant computer threw up all our details. I have written about this in an earlier blog. Our reservation was made and we looked forward to some good food.

This was our third visit here. The restaurant was very full. We had a great meal once again. We got an Amuse Bouche of a hot Vichyssoise, which is unusual. The bread basket has the most amazing Garlic Brioche which as flaky on the outside and wonderfully soft inside.


For starters HRH the Queen had the special for the day, a Lobster Ravioli and I had the Provencal Fish Soup with Garlic Aioli. The Lobster Ravioli was fantastic, one large Ravioli absolutely stuffed full of beautifully cooked Lobster. My soup was also excellent, fragrant and tasty, yum yum. For mains HRH the Queen had Tete De Veau with Sauce Gribiche. This is a sort of Terrine made with the head of a calf with crisp fried brains. Sauce Gribice is a Mayonnaise based sauce with chopped boiled egg, Capers, Parsley, and Cornichons. It’s a classic French dish and this one was well done. I had Pied De Cochon Tante Claire which is an invention of Pierre Koffmann. Excellent.  To finish I had a Lemon Tart, once again good. An excellent meal and along with Le Gavroche this is one of our favourite restaurants in the world.

Provencal Fish Soup with Garlic Aioli

Lobster Ravioli

The amazing Pied De Cochon Tante Claire
Tete De Veau with Sauce Gribiche

Thursday, May 17, 2012

O'Neills Bar & Restaurant - Dublin

Dinner three in Dublin. Third time lucky is the phrase, yes, it’s correct. We have been let down by the fancier Dublin restaurants so we thought why not downscale even more and eat at a pub. To be sure we were going to the correct place, in our usual obsessive way, we check with 3 different Concierges on duty at the Hotel. Every one recommended O’Neill’s as their first choice. One Concierge casually mentioned O’Neill’s is basically a carvery and most food is served that way. So on to O’Neill’s it was.

O’Neill’s is a short walk away from the Hotel. It’s a very large Pub seating almost 400 people in many levels. You cannot get an idea of its size as the Pub has lots of nooks and crannies and passages leading to more seating areas, labyrinth would be an appropriate word to describe its interiors. It’s much like Khyber in Bombay. I must say that you do not realise that there are as many as 400 other people in the place. There are several bars drink dispensers all over the place each serving an area. A band plays Irish music every night from 9.30 pm onwards. At the lowest level was the food.

There was a huge selection of liquor on offer. Several brands of each category viz: 3 types of Stout on tap plus many others in bottles, two types of Cider on tap and bottles and so on and so forth. To start, I had Stout, not Guinness but an O’Hara, which I quite liked. HRH the Queen had a pint of Cider. Once that was done, I got myself another Stout and taking advantage of the wide range of Irish Whiskeys available, I chose a small – 35 ml - shot each, of three mid priced Whiskeys with a cube of ice in each glass for HRH the Queen to try. Each was different, each was reasonably good, and each was drunk. Now it was time for dinner.

As I mentioned, O’Neill’s is a carvery. On the lowest level was the food. A large steam table in which was the various foods on offer. A carvery is an establishment where cooked meat is freshly sliced to order and served with a selection of vegetables which the diner chooses. The food is served cafeteria style which means you pay per plate, however you can load your plate as much or as little as you like with the vegetables, the meat being carved and served to you in a limited portion. HRH the Queen had a traditional Irish Stew of Lamb with a side of red cabbage and mashed potato. I had a slice of boiled ham with red & green cabbage with some roast potato all doused in a gravy. You carried your tray of food back up to your table to eat. Both of us were happy bunnies. The food was hot, tasty and robust and rustic. No short-changing, no mis-decription no inadequate seasoning. All this at a super cheap price of about 12 euro a plate. Thank God for O’Neill’s. As we were leaving, the band was setting up.

Irish Lamb Stew

Boiled Ham

The next morning we had to leave for London. It would be lunch time when we would be in the aircraft. We both do not eat a heavy lunch at all. A simple soup or sandwich is about what we can handle. As we were walking for the last time on Grafton Street we saw several pubs offering a `Full Irish’ breakfast – sausages, bacon, eggs, black or white pudding, mushrooms, potato in some form, tomato, baked beans & tea was a bit much for us. So we popped into the nearby Burger King and got ourselves a Sausage, Egg & Cheese Bap and a Bacon, Egg & Cheese Bap with an order of hash brown potato. I could not believe how cheap it was. The Sausage, Egg & Cheese Bap was only 1 Euro. All in all in some 7 Euro we had a most satisfying, clean, hygienic and freshly made breakfast that would hold us thru to the evening.

A Bap

Opened with the egg
Unbelievable prices

Thus ended our stay in Dublin. All in all, disappointing, both as far as what the city had to offer as well as gastronomically.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Pig's Ear - Dublin

Dinner two in Dublin. After the huge disappointment at Exchequer we were hoping for good things at The Pig's Ear. This is another of Dublin’s more highly rated restaurants. It has a nice location, overlooking Trinity College grounds. We popped in during our afternoon explorations of Dublin and made a reservation for the evening. The dining room looked nice and things looked promising.

As always, before dinner we had to soak in some of Dublin’s finest, there is a pub very close to our hotel called Nearys where we popped in. A pint of Guinness for me and a pint of Bulmers Cider for HRH the Queen of Kutch. The atmosphere was relaxing and gentle. The drink was had in the most pleasant of circumstances. Then it was a short walk to The Pigs Ear.

Dublin has a smallish City Centre, pleasant weather and decent footpaths. The result of this is that walking is the best way to get around. The furthest sightseeing is a 45 minute walk being the Guinness Storehouse and even that 45 minute walk is very pleasant. Our Hotel is also brilliantly located so getting around on foot is a dream. All this of course is dependent on the weather. Till the day before we arrived, Dublin had heavy rain and blustery winds. This paragraph would have read differently if that had continued.

The Pigs Ear is located in a very narrow pencil shaped building. Level 1 is the main restaurant, level 2 houses the Kitchen, level 3 has a more exclusive Chefs Table and level 4 has the toilets. We were on level 1. This room had about 50 diners and just 3 front of house staff tending to them. So typically European! This kind of staff guest ratio would have any Indian restaurant in Mumbai cart wheeling to disaster, just the demands for sliced onion, masala papad, garam roti and limbu would finish off the staff. If it was a Italian restaurant in Mumbai the demands for fresh lime soda – one sweet, one salty, one sweet salty mix, each with different quantities of Ice – chilli flakes, tomato sauce and mustard coupled with the demands of an undisciplined child who is never told to channel his orders thru his parent, would knock the socks of a restaurant. In addition to all this nonsense you then require the waiter to serve you your food in a plate, it’s all too strenuous for us Indians to serve ourselves, or is it a sense of power or wanting more for your money? The only thing we draw the line at is asking the waiter to eat your food. But in Europe it’s different. No sauces, no extras, nothing. What is on your plate is what you eat and salt and pepper are on your table.  

We were welcomed, our coats taken and soon seated. Another pint of Guinness for me and a Cider for Her Highness. We got a bit of bread. The Rye Bread with Pumpkin Seeds was excellent.

The excellent Rye Bread

To start HRH the Queen of Kutch ordered Baked St. Tolas Goats Cheese with Basil, Toasted Seeds & Nuts, Rye & fennel Crisps. This was beautifully served on a wooden board. She pronounced it as very good.  I had a spoonful of this and I must say she was absolutely correct. It was really good. There is one thing I just cannot eat, and that is Goat & Ewe milk cheese, I cannot stand the barnyard flavour, but this was very mild. The addition of honey made a winning combination and the crunch of the nuts was welcome. The Curds had been flashed under a Salamander and got a lovely browned top. A very good starter indeed.  

Baked St. Tolas Goats Cheese with Basil, Toasted Seeds & Nuts, Rye & fennel Crisps 

I ordered Whiskey & Citrus Cured Irish Salmon with Pickled Cauliflower, Soda Bread & Dillisk. Dillisk is Dill or `Sua’ in Hindi. What a beautiful plateful of food. So summery so colourful so well presented. It felt a shame to eat it. Some wafer thin slices of Apple. Radish and Cucumber, some Tapioca pearls [`Sabudana’ to us] a smear of Cream Cheese on the bottom and a lovely Pink Salmon nestling inside. The brown crumbs are the toasted Soda Bread. This was a really nice dish. Is it not really pretty even in the photograph?

Whiskey & Citrus Cured Irish Salmon with Pickled Cauliflower, Soda Bread & Dillisk 

We were happy, so happy that we decided to order a glass of wine. So it was a nondescript non threatening non technical Merlot. Thoroughly decent and as I have written nondescript non threatening non technical. We were getting set for our main course.

Her Highness wanted the Shepherd’s Pie, which was a speciality at The Pigs Ear described in the Menu as the `Pigs Ear’ Lough Erne Fed Lamb Shepherd’s Pie. A Shepherd’s Pie is classic comfort food made everywhere. A mince which is a blank canvas to be flavoured with any spice topped with lovely mashed potato and served hot. We have our versions of Shepherd’s Pie in India, a Kheema with Peas and some Potato; all of us remember our mothers making it. Soon it arrived, in a oval dish with fluffy mashed potato deliciously browned. This was cut open to release clouds of aromatic steam. The mince was really really hot and after it had cooled the first mouthful resulted in mild pleasure for Her Highness. Tasty, well seasoned and rich in taste. Only one minor problem – too much, just too much mashed Potato. Yes, I know Ireland loves its potato, it had a potato famine which killed thousands of Irish but this much potato? The ratio was probably 1/3 lamb mince and 2/3 potato mash. A bit too much don’t you think? Another example of short-changing if you ask me. At a price of 19 Euro this should not have been done. I realise that protein costs more than potato but this was shocking. Have a look at the volume of potato that was removed from the top after leaving what we thought was an appropriate amount of potato to complement the mince.

The beautiful Shepherd's Pie

Excess Potato

For my mains I had Honey Roasted Fermanagh Pork Belly with Lakeshore Mustard Mash, Braised Lentils & Apple Sauce. Getting the skin on pork belly crisp is not such a complex thing. Every Chinese Restaurant [outside India] does this. I do this at home, have a look at my home made Siu Youk Pork. Even in the Continental style it is not difficult. You need to place the piece of belly skin side down on a pan to crisp up the skin to make Crackling. I got limp Crackling which is difficult to eat. It’s like eating a soggy papad; you know how it sticks in your teeth. Decent tasting but simply careless. The menu said I would get this with braised Lentils. I got none. Instead I got some Black Pudding which I like and have no problem with. Why then mis - describe things on the menu. Why does a restaurant simply not care what they are putting out? This was not short changing this was simply sloppy.

Honey Roasted Fermanagh Pork Belly with Lakeshore Mustard Mash, Braised Lentils & Apple Sauce 
I must mention that also on offer was a side of Duck Fat Roast Potato. We both thought why not, they ought to be delicious. Unfortunately they used the wrong type of Potato to roast. They used New Potato or `Ratte' Potato as the French call them or Jersey Royals. This is normally boiled or steamed not roasted. Have a look at the photograph. Obviously the restaurant had floury potato with which they made the mash. That should have been used for the Roast Potato. Again, simply carelessness, or no one knowing or demanding better?

So after a wonderful high we once again had a disappointing end to the meal. We were in no mood to handle dessert. We put our tail between our legs, paid the bill and walked out into the very cool night air. A stop at the nearby Italian Ice Cream Parlour and a small cup of Ice Cream, very good I may add, lifted our spirits.

Food till now has been disappointing. Much like food we get in restaurants in Mumbai, short-changing and careless. In Mumbai our demands and standards as punters are virtually zero on things that count i.e. food. It seems like the same here in Dublin. To avoid any further disappointment we plan to have our last dinner in Dublin at a pub. Low price low expectation, hopefully high delivery. All will be revealed in good time.

Here is the Pigs Ear website.

Exchequer Gastro Pub - Dublin

Our first dinner in Dublin. We had done a bit of research and narrowed our choice to a few promising restaurants. The Concierge at the Hotel suggested one of the shortlisted ones called One Pico, however, a more careful look at their menu that not only was the restaurant rather expensive but was also quite French in its food. This was not where we wanted to splurge on a big French meal with Champagnes and wines, but wanted more down to earth food with local produce and local alcohol i.e. Guinness or Murphy’s Stout. So we vetoed One Pico and instead chose a Gastro Pub called Exchequer located on Exchequer Street a short walk away from the Hotel.

Before dinner, to wet our whistles, we walked across to a pub called Davy Byrnes, one of the Joyce pubs. Apparently this is supposed to be something big, a Joyce Pub. What it means is that James Joyce has either been a regular at the pub and/or he mentioned the pub in his books. Frankly, it did nothing for me and all seemed rather pointless. Let me give you an example of what I mean. Just because some tourists got shot at Cafe Leopold by the Pakistani terrorists during Bombay’s so called `terror attack’ does not make Cafe Leopold any better or worse, or worth a visit. But so be it and so be the world of tourism!

A Gastro Pub is a British term used to describe, initially, a pub that served quality beer, ales and stouts and better quality food without much drama. The food was more upscale than the usual pub grub which is normally, bangers and mash, burgers, sandwiches and Ploughman’s Lunch. This has been further refined with the Hand & Flowers, an actual pub that has got 2 Michelin Stars. The Hinds Head owned by Heston Blumenthal is another Michelin Starred pub. The Exchequer has no such stars, but, is highly regarded in Dublin.

The Exchequer

We were given two menus. One was a set meal where you could have 2 or 3 courses from a selection of starters, mains and desserts or the a la carte which had everything from the set menu plus some more. There were a lot of exotic cocktails on offer. HRH the Queen of Kutch chose a Passion Fruit Daiquiri with Thyme. I got a pint of some beer based cocktail. Both were decent and drinkable. Thankfully the Daiquiri was not sweet. After we finished the cocktails, which were basically akin to tomfoolery and a waste of money, we stuck to some good local Stout and Red Ale. The Stout and Ale were really nice, bitter, sweet toasty and caramel flavours perfectly balanced.

Passion Fruit Daiquiri

Bottle of Stout

Bottle of Red Ale

For dinner we chose from the set menu. For starters we got a Smoked Seafood Chowder with Potato & Leek and a Ham Hock & Black Pudding Terrine wrapped in York Cabbage Pickled Onions and Seasonal Greens. The Chowder had very few pieces of seafood and to make things more difficult it had virtually no salt. The Ham Hock was passable.

Ham  Hock


For our mains I ordered a Fish Pie. Yes I know a Fish Pie is similar to a Chowder but I like a good fish Pie. The finest ones I have had are at Bentleys in London as well as at J Sheekeys – both are outstanding. So it was Fish Pie for me with Peas, Chopped Egg, Creamed Potato & Aged Cheddar.   HRH the Queen of Kutch chose a Lamb & Beef Pasty with Hot Mornay & Mustard Sauce Parsnip Puree & baby Leaf Salad.

The Fish Pie

The food soon arrived and looked great. The Fish Pie was perfectly browned on top and looked good, as the cliché goes, good enough to eat. Problem was it had no salt, absolutely no salt. This reminded me of the time when the British imposed tax on salt rendering its expensive and prompting M K Gandhi to undertake the famous Salt March to Dandi. That was not the only problem with the Pie. There was almost no fish in it, just lots of chopped egg and masses of mashed Potato. Not nice.

The Pasty was even more terrific looking, but alas, looks deceived. No salt. Also have a look at the photo and look at what turned up on the plate. I cannot see a Monray Mustard Sauce. The white on the plate is pureed Parsnip. I also got a small beaker of Stock to pour on the Pasty. Not described in the menu. The Pasty was eatable with lashings of salt, the fish pie was not.

Pasty with Parsnip Mash

And the beaker of Stock

We had no mood to compound our misery by having a dessert. I must mention that the set meal two courses cost a mere Euro 17 a head. As HRH the Queen of Kutch said, pay peanuts get monkeys! I agree we were horribly short changed. But I still cannot understand what the food was not salted. Did the chef not taste things before they went out?

All in all, stupid meal, stupid restaurant. Do not go here. This is one of the few times we have had a totally unsatisfactory meal.

Have a look at their website. The Menus are there for all to see.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Ireland! The country of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Van Morrison, U2, Boomtown Rats and so many others. Ireland is part of the European Union and has the Euro as its currency, however it is not part of Schengen countries and you require a separate Irish Visa to visit Ireland. This is just as confusing as Switzerland, which is part of the Schengen but neither is it a part of the EU nor does it have the Euro as its currency, it has its Swiss Franc.

They have an excellent sense of humor as can be seen from this delightful sign I saw at a shopping complex. Really made me laugh.

I am sure that you must have seen lots of `Visit Ireland’ advertisements in magazines and papers. It is a short flight from London and was a tempting place to visit. A few months ago my friend the Big Cheese Tax Lawyer told me he had heard that there was a visa waiver and Indians visiting Britain did not require a separate visa to visit Ireland. I did some research and found that this is indeed correct. You can visit Ireland on a British visa till the end of October 2012. We are here for a 3 day break in Dublin. A short 60 minute flight from London City Airport got us into Dublin; we cleared immigration collected bags and got into a taxi in record time with much ease.

This is my view of Dublin. Of course I am wholly unqualified to express such opinions as I am neither an Economist, Social commentator nor have I been in Ireland for even 24 hours! But what the hell.

The ride to the hotel was most un-inspiring. After London, it seemed that Dublin would be rather dull. Everywhere you looked it was signs of a huge recession. Lots of closed and shuttered shops, lots of `For Rent’ signs and by and large, the buildings seem rather run down. I know that from an international standard Bombay is quite run down, but for us Bombayites to go to Calcutta makes us realise how really broken down Calcutta is. It felt the same here. Dublin is simply broken down. Cars are old and of lesser value. I have not seen a single Rolls Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin, Porsche or Ferrari. In London you see them almost a dime a dozen [inappropriate phrase, but you get my drift]. There was just one lonely Audi R8 outside our hotel. Lots of cars have had `accidents’ being bashed from the back, tail-lights smashed, bumpers damaged and trailing or hanging, not much by way of repairs. Taxis are generally old and comprise of mid priced cars – mid priced even by Indian standards, Toyota, Skoda et al.

The shops are much smaller and the brands on offer are at best some upmarket high street brands. There is of course the obligatory Louis Vuitton Store to entice the Japanese, Chinese and Koreans – no Khandelwals here in Dublin, London is as far as they go – but besides that nothing. The top of the range stuff is sold not from own brand showrooms but from local multi brand stores, I guess something like a Harrods or Shoppers Stop in India.

Grafton Street - The main shopping drag, thankfully pedestrianised

Add caption

There are some tourists here, of course no `Desis’ just lots of Americans and a smattering of grim Scandinavian/Germans. For a lot of Americans, Ireland is their hometown, many of their forefathers emigrated to the USA from here, so it’s in a sense a return to their roots coming here. There are lots of Italian restaurants in Dublin, in fact it seems that the largest number of non Irish pubs/restaurants is Italian. There must be a reason for their presence, but I have been unable to find that out.     

You may well ask what we are doing here? Good question, After reaching here I ask myself the very same question. There is some stuff to see, the famous Book of Kells, Trinity College, Dublin Castle Guinness Storehouse and more. Lets us see what all this holds in store for us.

Trinity College

A Church

St Patricks Cathedral
The magical water that makes Guinness

HRH standing in front of the Guinness water. The obligatory tourist photo