Friday, November 28, 2008



Rachel Allen recently proclaimed on TV that Isaacs (McCurtain Street) is her favourite bistro. She has many who’ll agree with her, even if the place was less than half full last night.

We had a smashing meal there. I must admit I was particularly pleased with the “Wine of the Month”, so pleased in fact that I didn't even notice that they charged me €25.00 instead of the €24.00 on the menu. It is a Lugana (from an area close to Lake Garda - see ) and is produced by Zenato. One of the best whites I’ve tasted in a long time.

Started off with a lovely plate of tapas between us. Great variety for €10.90. Then on to the main course. I had one of the day’s specials, Turbot on spinach with a Beurre Blanc sauce. Very good. The Advisor went for the Moroccan Tagine, shank of lamb with couscous. Again top class and quite reasonable at €18.80.

Dessert (€7.00) was also quite good and a little different: a Tunisian Orange Cake, served with a berry compote and crème fraîche. The orange taste was not dominant but it had a lovely light citrus flavour. Light and tasty.

Saturday, November 22, 2008



Got a comment recently from Mel who included Jacques in a short list of his favourite restaurants. It is on mine as well.

Was in there last night and had a gorgeous meal. I chose Brill on a bed of greens with a hollandaise sauce. Absolutely worth the wait, a magnificent combination. There was no doubt that the Brill was the star of the dish, the sauce there to offer appropriate support.

A few days earlier, I had been in Amicus and made the mistake of ordering the Trio of Fish without properly studying the menu. It was smothered in the rich creamy sauce. The haddock wasn't too bad but the other two (salmon and sole) were anonymous. The advisor had Sole with a Butter sauce and her fish and veg were all swimming in the sauce.

In Jacques, they do it properly as they respect the main ingredient. Last night, the Advisor’s main course was an absolutely spot on Monkfish tempura. The fish was gorgeous in a very light batter. Again the fish was the star, the batter the support

Desserts are top class also in Jacques. Last night, I had the most divine Bread and Butter Pudding, with winter fruits (raisins and apricots mainly) sumptuous, scrumptious, while the Advisor had her favourite raspberries with vanilla pod ice-cream.

Wine was an award winning Sauvignon (Luc, I think) from the Beziers area of the Midi. It is the current house wine and costs €22.90. Enjoyed it. Enjoyed the evening.

Saturday, November 8, 2008




One of my favourite Chinese restaurants is Ying’s Palace in the Mayfield Shopping Centre. In a very comfortable nicely decorated room, it provides top class meals at a very reasonable price. The only pity is that the restaurant side is poorly supported, though the takeaway is doing very well indeed.

Last night, we took the Set Dinner for Two, cost €20.80 a head. There is also a Set Dinner which is slightly cheaper and another (which I can certainly recommend) that is slightly more expensive. There is also a special that comes in at under €16.00.

But back to the €20.80 menu. You start off with a generous plate of prawn crackers. The first course is a Meat Sung, a beautiful combination of minced pork (or chicken) with cashew nuts served with vermicelli noodles and you can make your own delicious little parcels with the crispest lettuce. Gorgeous.

I need superlatives too for the Chicken and Mushroom soup. Didn't quite know what to expect here but I needn’t have worried. In a clear liquid (chicken stock), swam extremely thin slices of mushroom and little pieces of chicken, along with tiny pieces of spring onion. No additives here, no artificial colouring. Top notch.

The main plates kept up the standard: King Prawn Satay in a bowl, Duck Cantonese style on a big platter. The King Prawn was faultless and the Duck was the most exquisite dish of its kind that I have tasted in a long long time.

They are pretty weak on deserts here (usually jelly and ice cream) and we were happy enough that none was included in this special but we did finish off with a decent cup of coffee and a couple of mint chocolates. With the meal itself, we had a half bottle of a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc that cost €8.90. There is a good selection of wines, all at reasonable prices.

Well worth a visit and I’m really amazed that so few try it out. The total for the meal for two came to €50.50.