Tuesday, March 17, 2015

WINTOUR&GUINNESS DEVOURS THE MARCH ISSUES OF BRITISH HARPER'S BAZAAR & VOGUE OVER BRUNCH AT BAKERS IN DONNYBROOK

So whilst Kevin works most weekends, I am left to my own devices really, eager to run around the city uncovering all of Dublin's hidden fashion, brunch and coffee gems. Living in Ranelagh and being so close to the city, I like to get away from the hustle and bustle of the main city area most weekends - especially since I spend the majority of my week there. I hadn't realised just how close Donnybrook was to Ranelagh, until a week or two after I moved into the area. Not too long ago I took a trip down Marlborough Road and came out just beside Donnybrook Fair. I had heard some amazing things about Donnybrook Fair and everyone was right; it really is more than just a local shop. Full of delicious fresh breads, baked goods and freshly made meals - I could do my weekly shop in there happily. 

I took a quick trip around the shop before I made my way up the street towards Bakers. Bakers had been on my list for a a while now and having spent the last year in Melbourne keeping my eyes out for all the main brunch and coffee spots in Dublin - this suburban sanctuary was exactly what I needed on that Saturday morning. Multiple magazines tucked under my arm and a few days into a paleo-inspired diet I was eager to see if Bakers were able to accommodate for this guys rather demanding ways. 

I tend to get up rather early at the weekends, eager to get up and get going. So when I got to Bakers it was thankfully before the crazy breakfast rush that quickly developed shortly after I arrived. I started the day off with an Americano (or a long black for my Australian friends). Usually I am a latte drinker however I was off milk during that time. It wasn't too much of a struggle to give up milk considering I was doing so to see if it made any difference to the eczema I developed last year. Looking through the menu, I eventually decided on the Superfood salad. Roast butternut squash, beetroot, candied walnuts, pine nuts and blueberries sitting on a bed of fresh crunchy spinach. The salad usually comes with house dressing however I decided to ditch the dressing, opting for a side of olive oil. The salad was nice, however it lacked that vital something that would have given it a great big punch of flavour. At ten euro fifty, its not a cheap salad and a few blueberries a Superfood salad does not make - it needed some form of a protein in my opinion. I ended the meal with a peppermint tea which was recommended to me by the waiter. It was beautifully light and perfect for that cold winters morning flicking through the latest issues of British Harper's BAZAAR and Vogue. 


Bakers is a great spot. The food looks beautiful, the coffee is great and the cafe itself is one of the most inspired I have come across since I've moved back to Dublin. Given that I was on a very strict diet at the time of visiting I have to say I don't feel like I've had the chance to get a real taste of what these guys do and because of that I intend on visiting the place again very soon. 

Bakers
The Crescent
Donnybrook 
Dublin 4
Website: www.bakers.ie

WINTOUR&GUINNESS PRESENTS THE APRIL ISSUE OF VOGUE AUSTRALIA FEATURING CATE BLANCHETT

Oh its that time of the month again, what when I get anxious and text my parents every few days eager to see if the latest issue of Vogue Australia has arrived from Down Under. This month we see Cate Blanchett take the cover for the second time since Edwina McCann took over as Editor of the magazine. The cover has been getting mixed reviews since the image was released but I think there is something quite sophisticated and classical about this cover. Edwina is one of the best in the business, alongside Kellie Hush at BAZAAR Australia and I look forward to seeing the issue in its entirety when it arrives shortly. 

For more information check out Vogue Australia here.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

WINTOUR&GUINNESS VISITS THE BUTCHER GRILL IN RANELAGH FOR A NIGHT OF WINING, DINING AND BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS


Throughout the last year or two, reading up about the flourishing food scene in Dublin - there was one area in particular that kept cropping up time and time again. I knew Ranelagh well since some very good friends of mine lived there and when the opportunity to live there came up when we moved back to Ireland late last December we jumped at the chance. Last week it was Kevin's birthday and rather than head into the city and try out one of the newer, flashier establishments that everyone was talking about - I decided to book a table at The Butcher Grill. Owned by the same team behind 777, Dillinger's and Super Miss Sue; I'd been to The Butcher Grill a few years back and I found it a lot better than Dillinger's, both in terms of the quality of the dishes and the overall value for money.
I had kept the fact we were going to the Butcher Grill a secret from Kevin and thankfully it paid off as he had had The Butcher Grill on his to-go-to-list for a few weeks. The place itself is quite small, however for what it lacks in space it makes up for in warmth, character and romance. We started the meal off with two glasses of Prosecco, our mouths watering as we ran our eyes over the menu. Our waiter brought us through the menu, the specials of the day and when the mention of an Australian striploin was uttered I knew exactly what I was going to have that evening. Kevin started off with the seared tuna tostados which came with avocado salsa, chipotle mayo and crispy onions. These would not typically be a dish I would order myself but after once crunchy bite of that tostado; I'm hooked.  
I ordered the hand cut beef tartare with caper jam, quail egg and toast. I hadn't had steak tartare anywhere before so this was a new experience for me. The dish itself is presented beautifully and after once carefully curated piece, with enough of everything on that light crispy piece of toasted bread; I knew that this was a dish that would quickly rise to the top of the best dishes I'd ever had. Where had this dish been all my life and why didnt everything in life taste this good. I could have eaten another plate of this - it was that incredible. 
Main course consisted of that piece of Australian sirloin, cooked beautifully to medium rare and was accompanied by sautéed spinach, caramelised red onions and a side of cauliflower cheese. Kevin ordered the barbecue back ribs with coleslaw and a side of fries. We both had a bit of each others dishes and well they were faultless really - there was nothing we could pick out. No complaints. We'll that's a first for us two if I'm being honest.

Ending the meal, we decided to share the banana fritters with salted caramel ice cream and cookie crumb. And good thing we decided to share, for this was one of the most decadent, richest and definitely tastiest desserts I had had in a long time. 

Overall, The Butcher Grill is that perfect neighbourhood haunt that you can always rely on for great quality food, excellent customer service and what was even better was that there was no need for a taxi home, sure its just around the corner. Now thats my kind of night out. 

The Butcher Grill
92 Ranelagh Village
Dublin 6
Tel: (01) 498 18 05

Saturday, February 21, 2015

WINTOUR&GUINNESS PRESENTS THE MARCH 2015 ISSUE OF VOGUE AUSTRALIA FEATURING MARGOT ROBBIE



Back when I was working in Melbourne, it was an office rule never to touch my issue of Vogue Australia. Each month the magazine got sent directly to a few select people in the office and being a major fan of the magazine - my name was on one of them. The Australian version of the magazine is, in my opinion the best of them all. It’s a superb magazine with a huge amount of content produced locally for a local audience. This month the magazine has placed Australia's biggest rising star Margot Robbie on the cover. I'm not the biggest fan of Margot to be honest but the issue itself is absolutely fantastic, filled with tonnes of fantastic features and interviews with the likes of Anthony Cuthbertson from Sass & Bide to Julie de Libran of Sonia Rykiel. Now that I am living in Ireland, that issue, once reserved for me now goes elsewhere and a twelve month subscription has ensured that this little treasure keeps on arriving each month. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

WINTOUR&GUINNESS VISITS BROWN THOMAS FOR BREAKFAST AT THE THIRD FLOOR RESTAURANT


The one thing that I really feel that Ireland has over Australia in the retail space is Brown Thomas. Its consistently named as one of the best department stores in the world and sure why wouldn't it be when you walk in and see the amazing transformation it went through whilst I was away. Australia doesn't really do the luxury department store too well. Yes they do department stores, but none that are as focused or presented as well as Brown Thomas is.



I used to visit the restaurant in Brown Thomas quite a bit before I moved to Melbourne and it was always incredibly delicious. The burger, the Cesar salad; everything was done to perfection. So when I heard that the third floor restaurant had gone through somewhat of a face lift last year, I knew I had to check it out once I was back on Irish soil.




With a menu inspired by the two-Michelin-star restaurateur Patrick Guilbaud, a few of us decided to check the place out for breakfast one day after Christmas. Having grown accustomed to eating out a lot for breakfast in Melbourne, I've had the opportunity to visit some of the most incredible cafes and restaurants, where imagination and creativity is key in helping to differentiate one spot from the competition. 

The breakfast menu at The Restaurant, though extensive tries too hard to cover off every possible angle. There are American style pancakes with crispy bacon, blueberries and maple syrup, an oak smoked salmon omelette with dill & Crème Fraîche, Serrano ham with melon and scones with clotted cream and jam. On occasions when reading a breakfast menu like this, I feel in Ireland that brunch and eating out for breakfast is such a foreign concept that to appease each and every customer, restaurants feel they need to be ready to offer customers absolutely everything that falls into the breakfast category. 


Going back to those American style pancakes with crispy bacon, blueberries and maple syrup, I decided to order them. I was still coming down from my Christmas sugar fix and I thought, at that very moment that a stack of fluffy American style pancakes was exactly what I needed. What arrived was anything but American style pancakes. Thicker than a crepe but thin enough to fold into quarters, these pancakes were dense, doughy and devoid of any flavour. The crispy bacon was, well not crispy and the fat content hadn't been rendered down leaving it soft and a little pale for my liking. The dish came with maple syrup and blueberries, four of them to be exact and three raspberries just for good measure. It was a little bit of a DIY breakfast, what with each of the components sitting separately on the rather odd shaped plate. Are you getting that I wasn't too happy with this dish? 



Kevin ordered the toasted granola with berry compote and natural yogurt, while Eimear ordered the oak smoked salmon omelette. Both looked rather delicious, with the toasted granola standing out as the best dish of the day. We followed up our meal with a round of coffees. Coming in all shapes and sizes, I ordered an extra hot latte to get my through the cold. It was good. A lot better than some of the "premier" coffee spots in Dublin at the moment and I loved the little shortbread star that sat on the side.


Whilst I had expected a little more from The Restaurant, I'm a firm believer in giving all places a second chance. Perhaps I didn't order the right dish for me or maybe it was just an off day but the overall experience at The Restaurant left me thinking that if I want something a little different or out of the ordinary, The Restaurant is probably not the place to go and that's okay. Not everywhere has the people watching power of The Restaurant. 

The Restaurant 
Brown Thomas
Grafton Street
Dublin 2
Website: The Restaurant at Brown Thomas

Saturday, January 17, 2015

WINTOUR&GUINNESS PRESENTS THE NEW ISSUE OF GQ AUSTRALIA FEATURING COVER STAR CHRIS HEMSWORTH

GQ Australia is without doubt one of the best editions of the internally renowned title. They do a cracking job of it down under and this months issue looks superb. Chris Hemsworth, who is most likely the biggest Australian actor of the last five years is covering the issue and just in time for the April launch of the Marvel Comics movie, The Avengers; Age of Ultron. Unfortunately the title isn't on sale in Ireland but I see a subscription happening in the near future. For more information on GQ Australia, check out their Facebook page here and their website here


WINTOUR&GUINNESS ON THE NEW ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN FROM TIFFANY & CO. FOCUSING ON THE IDEA OF 'MODERN LOVE'



I've never really put too much thought into the whole idea of gay marriage. Yes I want to one day be spiritually and legally connected to someone but the idea of the "gay wedding" is one that doesn't really sit well with me. Anyone that's seen the second instalment of the Sex & The City movies knows the wedding between Standford and Anthony and unfortunately that's the image most people have in their head when the words gay wedding are uttered and not the sophisticated affair that the likes of Jeremiah Brent & Nate Berkus had. So imagine my surprise when Tiffany & Co. recently unveiled their latest advertising campaign featuring their first gay couple and it being well, really good. 



While this is a great step for the Tiffany's brand, I can't help but focus on the even more remarkable part of it: the fact that the two men involved are apparently not male models, but just a normal, real-life couple from New York. Yes, that's right readers. In a city of over 8 million people, the brand managed to find what is undoubtedly the city's most attractive gay couple – and that’s worth applauding all on its own. The campaign also features two parents getting married, in continuance with the "modern love" theme, as well as a variety of pretty-young-things who all look very much in love. Good work Tiffany & Co. 

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