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.

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