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    Originally posted by Hitchhiker's Guide To... View Post
    I'm too long in France to be reading this and thinking: wow, he was able to eat before 7:30pm and on a Sunday! Kebab shops and McDonalds are the only thing ever opened here before 7:30, and on Sundays even the kebab shops will take the day off.
    Yeah, I remember years ago in Paris visiting a mate for a long weekend and on the Sunday I got up early and went out to get stuff for breakfast, thought it would be nice for everyone else in the gaff to wake up to it as they had put me up for the weekend.

    Everywhere was fucking closed, must have walked around for almost an hour before I managed to find one or two really small places open where I was able to cobble together all the required items for breakfast, fuck me it was painful.

    Comment


      Restaurant: Liath (Formerly Heron & Grey)

      Address : Blackrock Market

      Price : €€

      It's weird how fast time flies, but it's been just over two years since I've eaten in Heron & Grey.

      It doesn't feel that long but in that time, the partnership has split up, the restaurant has closed and reopened, it's been renamed Liath, they've had a major renovation and have had their Michelin Star automatically reinstated.

      I haven't got to see the renovations in person and it could be a while before that happens due to the current circumstances but tonight I got to eat their food in an unorthodox method.

      Liath has started to do Liathtogo, a service where you can collect a three course meal that with a little bit of assembling and cooking at home (full instructions given) you can have three of their courses from some of their tasting menus. The price comes in at 33 quid a head which overall is a fairly reasonable price.

      The starter was Smoked Eel, Baby Gem, Aged Parmesan and was all just assembly. You had to marinate the shallots, quenelle the smoked eel paste and lash all the ingredients together. You then use baby gem lettuce, lightly salted, as your taco to put it all together before shoving it in your gob. It was really rich and the baby gem taco idea is pure genius.

      This is how it looked before we put it into the baby gem lettuce.

      SPOILER



      The main was Beef Ragu Ravioli, Pancetta, Black Truffle.

      There was slightly more work to this course whereby you had to fry off the pancetta, add in a sauce to it, heat up some cep paste, boil the ravioli and then plate it up.

      I thought that I had made a mess of it and split the sauce but upon sticking it up on Instagram (The best looking plate wins a free meal for two), Liath responded to say, that's actually exactly how it's meant to look (I read instructions good). It tasted deeeelsih.

      SPOILER


      For desert, it was Rose Panacotta, Rhubarb, Amaretti Crumble

      This was the simpliest of all courses and again was just assembly although getting the panacotta out of the tub was a slightly delicate process.

      It looked and tasted great.

      SPOILER


      We washed the whole meal down with a decent bottle of plonk from Bordeaux.

      I'm not going to lie to you, I've had worse Thursdays nights.

      Comment


        Lockdown has had a fairly dramatic impact on this thread but lockdown or not, Mrs Lao Lao's birthday still comes around once a year so I booked us into Volpe Nera for a 9pm sitting on Saturday night last week.

        Owned by Barry Sun, former head chef at Etto, I was really looking forward to it only for the Government to announce the night before that all indoor dining was off the table effective from midnight. I tried to call them to confirm the reservation was gone on Friday night but the phone rang out so I presumed it was definitely gone but my pessimism was unfounded as I got a call early Saturday morning to let me know that they had some outdoor tables and if we were willing to bring the booking forward by an hour, they could accommodate us - We didn't need to be asked twice!

        The only thing different this year was no that we couldn't go for a pre dinner drink. I know, I know, the horror of it all, but when going out to dinner, I like to make a bit of an event out of it. Pre dinner drinks, dinner and then a nightcap somewhere. With the Vid in full flow and level 3 restrictions in place, we had to settle for a home poured G&T while getting ready and then it was masks on for the short taxi trip out to Blackrock.

        When we arrived, there was only three table outside and all were full which seemed odd but we were quickly led two doors down the road to the Wishing Well Pub where they had the exact same set up as outside Volpe Nera & another 4 tables. It was a really nice space. There was an awning over us, outdoor heaters, and a glass partition with hedging to separate us from the path, we could have been on holiday somewhere hot! We asked the waiter how they had secured this space and it turns out that their restaurant building is owned by the Wishing Well so it made sense to all parties involved to keep the restaurant open as much as possible.

        Onto the food - We started off with some bites of Homemade Bread with Cep Mushroom Butter & Salted Hake & Preserved Lemon Croquette. The bread was fresh, warm and lovely and the croquettes were delightful bite sized morsels of goodness. There was only one each, which was a shame as I could easily have eaten half a dozen of them. We washed the bites down with a glasses of Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley each.

        Starters consisted of Mushroom Dumpling, Pickled Fennel, Lovage, Aged Soya for herself and Halibut Crudo, Fermented Radish, Black Sesame, Corriander for myself. Now, I absolutely love dumplings, albeit I would normally eat the Asian version of them so when I saw them on the menu, I was intrigued and was going to opt for them but Mrs Lao Lao had similar thoughts and being the ultimate gentleman, I pretended not to be too pushed about them. It turns out, my chivalry was rewarded as I most definitely got the better of the starters. I had one of the dumplings and they were nice but just a little something missing from them, bland is far to harsh a word but they just weren't something you'd rave about. My starter, however, was light, fresh, vibrant and really was delish. We opted to have another glass of Sav Blanc each with starters.

        For main, we both opted for Suckling Pig, Morcilla, Braised Endive, Romesco (my chivalry has limits) and we shared a side portion of Beef dripping hash potato. I very much enjoyed the main, especially the morcilla which is a Spanish blood sausage (their version of black pudding ) - There was only a small piece of it but it was lovely. The main was washed down with a bottle of a 2016 Torbreck (Shiraz, Grenache & Mouvedre) which was fantastic, even if it was a little pricey at €84. I had bought some Torbreck many years ago but sadly drank my last bottle about a year ago so was very happy to see it on the menu.

        For dessert, we deiced to share a sweet option of Warm Chocolate Mousse, Fig Leaf Ice-Cream which was lovely followed by a cheese board which we again shared as we polished off the last bit of the Torbreck.

        Overall, it was a very pleasant evening in a very nice, albeit, last minute set up. Kudos to the staff of Volpe Nero for puling it all off, they were very friendly and attentive throughout but in a relaxed manner. Barry, himself, stopped by our table during the meal to make sure everything was OK which it most certainly was. Total bill was €241 and with tip, it was rounded up to €276.

        From there, there was nothing else to do other than to head for home, break out the good gin, lash on a load of vinyl and dance our little cotton socks off into the early hours of the morning. I mean, what's a birthday without dancing?


        Comment


          While I'm in this thread, what are peoples opinion on the annual HHE dinner in January?

          A) Too far away to decide
          B) Sure it'll be grand by then
          C) I've no intention of hanging out with a bunch of degenerates during a pandemic
          D) Atari Jaguar

          Comment


            Restaurant: Mae

            Address : 53 Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge

            Price : €€

            Mae, named after her grandmother, is the new restaurant from Grainne O'Keefe, formerly of Clanbrassil House. Opened in mid August, they sold out for three months solid in a few hours. As such, I was very happy to nab a table of four for last Thursday night.

            Our guests, were one of Mrs Lao Lao's mates and her fella, a couple who are into their food and wine and always up for a bit of craic so it promised to be a good night and it didn't disappoint. We met up in The Bridge for a few pre dinner G&T's and as an aside, I was somewhat surprised at the price they were charging for their wine. €60 for a bottle of bog standard Sav Blanc that you could get at retail for under twenty quid. I say somewhat surprised but when based on the area and the clientele, I'm not really surprised at all, just more surprised that people actually pay it.

            Anyway, onto the restaurant. Mae is located in the old French Paradox. That restaurant is gone but the wine shop of the same name is downstairs and they apparently have helped out in the curating of the wine list. Structurally, the restaurant is the same as before but it's being given a face lift and is a lot more fresh and light. The kitchen is completely open and our table was situated right beside it, so a perfect view of what was going on if you wanted.

            They offer a set menu for €60 and for me, it was excellent value.

            After some bread and butter, our first course arrived, a trio of small bites;

            A basque ham and gruyere bon bon which was delish - Literally couldn't have eaten loads of these and been happy

            Brioche, Chicken Liver and fig - Exactly what it says, was lovely

            Beetroot, goats cheese, pickled walnut - Served in a wafer thin edible basket - 3 for 3 so far

            Next course was Cais na tire agnolotti, artichoke, leek - A beautiful, creamy, cheesy, pasta dish. I was tempted to pick up the plate and lick it clean.

            For main you had an option, either

            Beef Rib, braised beef cheek, morels, celeriac, tarragon suace

            Or

            Cod, black Garlic, beurre blanc, seaweed

            3 of us went with the beef and Mrs Lao Lao went with the Cod - The beef cheek was absolutely melt in your mouth, really, really good. The Cod was apparently also very good, I wasn't so much as offered a bite which says it all.

            Dessert was apple tart tatin, calvados, creme fraiche - This was just devine. My only tiny complaint was that the portion was too small but that was probably more to me being a complete glutton than anything else.

            There was an additional option course for an extra €5 of young buck, pear chutney which we happily opted for to round out the meal.

            Mae have two options for matching wines (at two different price points) to go with the set menu and both looked to be very good value but we opted to stick to the one wine (and plenty of it) as we worked our way through four bottles of Chateau Martinet.

            By the end of the night, we were the last to leave and Grainne came over and chatted to us about how it was going so far and if we enjoyed the meal. She chatted to us for a good 10 minutes and it was great to talk through some of the dishes with her. She mentioned that the Michelin inspectors had been in already. I'm open to correction on this, but I think her price point is too high for a bid so wonder if there is any chance of a star. As good as it was, and it was really, really, really good, I would have thought it's not there, not yet at least, but what do I know.

            The final price, is well, kinda unknown. One of the other couple somehow managed to discretely pay for the entire meal with the other three of us not even noticing. I'm pretty sure that the wine was €55 a bottle so for food, wine, water and tip, I reckon the bill came just shy of 600 quid. The wine, like the food, was very good value, I'm pretty sure, it retails for close to €30. The Bridge could learn a thing or two from Mae.

            I think I could be on to a winning idea here - Book a nice restaurant, invite people to come with you and then they pay at the end*

            *just joking, we shipped half of what we thought the bill was to the other couple as that is too much for people to be paying.

            Comment


              I wonder if the €60 for a bottle of €20 wine thing, outside of restaurants, will seem far too odd for a while as everyone is acutely aware that it's almost as easy to have a pre bottle at home as to go out for one.
              "We're not f*cking Burundi" - Big Phil

              Comment


                The whole sneaking off and paying bill gig seems to have reappeared so. Only 2 of the meals I've had in the last few months were split. Different people ran off to pay the bill as soon as dessert/coffee arrived across multiple outings.

                I'd only seen this a handful of times in the past but it seems the novelty of dining out has made it popular again.I thought it was only happening to me. The good thing though is that most people seem to have revolut and if their number is saved as a contact on your phone, it's easy to send them a few quid.

                Comment


                  Originally posted by coillcam View Post
                  The whole sneaking off and paying bill gig seems to have reappeared so. Only 2 of the meals I've had in the last few months were split. Different people ran off to pay the bill as soon as dessert/coffee arrived across multiple outings.

                  I'd only seen this a handful of times in the past but it seems the novelty of dining out has made it popular again.I thought it was only happening to me. The good thing though is that most people seem to have revolut and if their number is saved as a contact on your phone, it's easy to send them a few quid.
                  My Brother in Law took this to a new level in Donegal recently. Two families out for dinner and I went up to the register while people were finishing up, asked for the bill.

                  "oh no, that's already been paid"

                  Turns out he had given them his credit card as soon as he arrived and told them he was paying. So if you do want to get into competitive bill-paying, that's probably the way to go.
                  "We are not Europeans. Those people on the continent are freaks."

                  Comment


                    Any of ye bill payers up for an all day lunch, dinner and wine session in Shanahans when it re-opens

                    Comment


                      Related to this. I find the idea of bringing the bill to the table very disturbing. Really dislike the idea of it. The continental thing of going up to pay the bill is far better.
                      "We're not f*cking Burundi" - Big Phil

                      Comment


                        Originally posted by Hitchhiker's Guide To... View Post
                        Related to this. I find the idea of bringing the bill to the table very disturbing. Really dislike the idea of it. The continental thing of going up to pay the bill is far better.
                        Yeah I get a good laugh if someone complains that they can't leave because the bill wasn't brought the table. Get up off of your hole ffs!

                        Comment


                          Also ate in Mae last week, it's class. Can highly recommend it. I was going to suggest it as a IPB pre Christmas dinner if there was interest. I'd be confident of swinging a prime slot.

                          Comment


                            Originally posted by Raoul Duke III View Post

                            My Brother in Law took this to a new level in Donegal recently. Two families out for dinner and I went up to the register while people were finishing up, asked for the bill.

                            "oh no, that's already been paid"

                            Turns out he had given them his credit card as soon as he arrived and told them he was paying. So if you do want to get into competitive bill-paying, that's probably the way to go.


                            I had to do something similar a few years back in Croatia at the brother in laws wedding. We were there for six nights, me and ALL the in-laws. The wedding took up two nights and the father in law and two sister in laws paid for dinner a night each so by the last night, we'd hardly put our hand in our pocket. I said that we would be getting dinner the last night and both the of the sister in laws tried to protest and said they would get it.

                            Once into the restaurant, I collared the waiter, told him he was not to accept payment from anybody else that the the two women over there give no tip at all so the bill needed to come to me.

                            Sure enough, both sister in laws tried to sneak up and pay the bill and each were told, 'I can't take payment from you, I heard you tip very badly'

                            Comment


                              Originally posted by Gimmeabreak View Post
                              Also ate in Mae last week, it's class. Can highly recommend it. I was going to suggest it as a IPB pre Christmas dinner if there was interest. I'd be confident of swinging a prime slot.


                              In for this if it goes ahead.

                              Comment


                                Originally posted by Gimmeabreak View Post
                                Also ate in Mae last week, it's class. Can highly recommend it. I was going to suggest it as a IPB pre Christmas dinner if there was interest. I'd be confident of swinging a prime slot.
                                In
                                Turning millions into thousands

                                Comment


                                  Also in if the date lines up.

                                  Comment


                                    could we find an agreeable date to aim for? Wednesday Dec 15th might seem like a respectable time to shoot for. I suspect 6 is the max we could get at a table.

                                    Comment


                                      IN if room
                                      "We are not Europeans. Those people on the continent are freaks."

                                      Comment


                                        I’d join for sure

                                        Comment


                                          In if midweek ideally

                                          Comment


                                            Restaurant: Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud

                                            Address : 21 Merrion St Upper, Dublin 2.

                                            Price : €€€€€


                                            It was a significant birthday for Mrs Lao Lao so I wanted to mark the occasion. My attempt to book an overnight stay and dinner in Aimsir was thwarted when they sold out in seconds of being released so instead, we had to settle for another 2 Star Michelin restaurant in the form of Patrick Guilbaud's.

                                            Before dinner, we hit up Toners for a few G&T's to start the evening off. The location of dinner wasn't disclosed so Mrs Lao Lao deiced to give her top 3 guesses in the form of Etto, Guilbaud's and taxi to Chapter 1. The location of the pre dinner drinks really narrowed down the choices but I still walked her up to the door of Etto, let her go to walk in and then walked away. 'You're such a dickhead' was all I heard of her mini rant at me but once we walked back towards Merrion St, it was obvious where we were going.

                                            Mrs Lao Lao had told me before that when she was a kid (primary school age) she lived on the same road as the Guilbaud's and she had been friends with their daughter and knew the family but in the almost 8 years of knowing her, we never met them or had any dealings with them so I took it that it was a slightly exaggerated story, akin to my ability to play tennis but I was wrong. We were only in the restaurant, when the manager, Patrick's son, came straight over to say hello and how it was great to see her again after so long. There was a good 15 minutes of catching up and upon learning we were there for her birthday, there was immediately champagne on the house for us both which was a very nice touch.

                                            Menu's are on QR codes and before you get to the table, you order your starter and main with dessert being ordered later on. There was no tasting menu on offer as due to the time it takes v's the time they need to clear the restaurant by, they aren't able to pull it off so it was straight to the A La Carte menu.

                                            We started off with a selection of bread and Bordier butter followed by an amuse bouche of cauliflower soup which was very tasty.

                                            Mrs Lao Lao went for the Ravioli of Blue Lobster, Lobster Coconut Cream, Toasted Almond & Split Curry Dressing for starter and I opted for Marinated Raw Diver Scallops, Kohlrabi, Lovage, Green Apple & Horseradish. I thought the Kohlrabi was a little bit hard but it was in perfect contrast to the raw scallop so I'm going to trust a two start Michelin chef on this one and go with it. It was very good but Mrs Lao Lao was the clear winner. The lobster was fantastic, the pasta was super thin and the cream was rich and divine. We washed down the starter with a glass each of 2015 Chardonnay - Rully, Rabouce, Domaine Marc Morey.


                                            For mains, herself went with the Anjou Squab Pigeon, Pointed Cabbage, Pea and Coriander & Black Bean Rayu while I went with the Loin of Wicklow Lamb, Spice & Chartreuse, Olive and Artichole. The pigeon was very good, or at least, what little bit of it I got to taste was but the lamb was the outstanding dish. It was melt in your mouth soft and was easily the best main course I've ever eaten. There was a side of mashed spuds served with the mains and I wouldn't be surprised if the make up was 45% spuds, 5% spring onions, 25% butter and 25% cream - It was the smoothest, silkiest mash I've had and there was almost a domestic to make sure it was split exactly 50/50. For mains, we had ordered a bottle of 2001 Chateau Gruaud Larose which was (and I know this will sound redonk) very good value at €280 and was showing perfectly once decanted.

                                            Dessert was Pear & Coffee Gavotte, Caramel Cognac Ice Cream for Mrs Lao Lao and Grand Cru Coeur De Guanaja Chocolate Tart, Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream for myself. I think I won this round as well but Mrs Lao Lao was very happy with her choice. We washed the dessert down with a glass each of 2017 Riesling - Saar, Stirn - Peter Lauer.

                                            After that it was Petits Fours before we headed for home. There wasn't time for a night cap in a bar as we didn't leave the restaurant until after 11:30 so we had to settle for a drink at home.

                                            The bill came to €659 (over half that was booze) plus I left a €120 tip so €779 in total. It's clearly not something that you'd do every weekend but it really was sublime. It's without doubt the best meal I've eaten and the service was 2nd to none,everything was meticulous without being fussy or stuffy. I hope to get back again as soon as possible, just need to start the savings plan!

                                            Comment


                                              Restaurant: Shanahans

                                              Address : Stephens Green, Dublin 2.

                                              Price : €€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€

                                              Although the recent US presidential election was largely a financial pleasure for yours truly, there was one fly in the ointment in the form of a bet I had struck with Denny Crane - would Trump make it to the end of his term? I bet on the side of the negative and the bet was made in the form of a dinner at Shanahans, which strikes me as one of the better wagers I have lost. The Orange One managed to survive covid and not one, but two, impeachment trials and so I owed Denny a dinner. For quite some time we were frustrated in our mission to get a table as first one lockdown, then another, scuppered our best laid plans but eventually we made it last Saturday night.

                                              Covid seemed to be out of sight, out of mind amongst the throngs of revellers in the city centre as I strolled up towards the Green and the atmosphere at 7pm was verging on 'Rio Carnevale' as I entered the portals of Shanahans. I was efficiently and smilingly relieved of my outerwear, and then escorted to a comfortable table near the front of house. Clearly they recognised that dapper gents such as ourselves would enhance the window dressing extensively. I furtively surveyed my fellow diners as I awaited the arrival of Denny; they generally looked a well-upholstered lot which is not surprising given the prices. Denny arrived shortly thereafter and, after the fist-bumping, I congratulated him on not going fat or bald over the pandemic which seemed to take him aback somewhat but I was determined not to let the fucker rest on his laurels. Our waiter arrived with menus in record time and enquired as to whether we would like a pre-dinner libation. We sent him off to fetch two G&Ts as we settled down to the serious task of menu perusal, which doesn't take all that long as it's very much a tried and tested formula that I don't think had changed since my previous visit there more than a decade ago. The wine menu requires more study and I selected a glass of Sequoia Grove Chardonnay to accompany my seafood starter, while Denny, being more carnivorous than I was persuaded that a bottle of Meerlust represented the way forward for his drinking needs.

                                              A small loaf of extremely good freshly-baked bread (possibly onion, was very savoury anyway) was brought to the table with our wine and I, despite knowing full well the volume of food that was incoming, made the cardinal mistake of taking two slices. Rookie error. Just as we reached the bottom of our gins, the starters were deposited and we reached for our weapons. Denny selected the 'Arndal Farm Pork Belly' which looked like a fine example of the style, daubed with some saucy bobs and bits. It didn't last long in front of him in any case and he seemed satisfied with the offering. He was also swilling the Meerlust appreciatively, this having been decanted for us already by our smoothly efficient waiter - the service in this joint tends towards the impeccable, which is all the more impressive when so many restaurants are really struggling for staff post-covid. I selected the Sautéed Garlic Shrimp which came bathed in a pool of wonderful garlic creaminess, my only complaint being that there weren't enough shrimps (just the six, which I thought was maybe on the parsimonious side). The sauce was so good that I hoovered it up with some more of the bread. What was I thinking?

                                              Our waiter cleared away the detritus as we enjoyably talked shite on many different topics and awaited the main event - THE MEAT. Let's face it, all the other stuff is pretty damn good but people come to Shanhans for one thing only and that is the steaks which are New York steakhouse style. Now, I've been lucky enough to eat in some of the best steakhouses in New York like Pete Lugers and of course many equally great joints in South Africa, but I can say that Shanahans is the equal of them all, both in terms of the quality of the meat and the skill of the cookery. So safe to say we weren't going to order some 8oz baby steak. Oh no, we both went for the 24oz rib-eye on the bone; medium-rare for me and medium for Denny. The waiter impressed with the strength it took to carry these behemoths to the table and laid them reverently in front of us (see picture below). A quick finger test confirmed the accuracy of the cooking and we, suitably fortified by the Meerlust, attacked the steaks with abandon. Mine was perfect - mouth-wateringly juicy with an exquisite Mailllard Effect on the exterior. They make a big fuss about the provenance of their Angus beef but it really shows in the quality of the steak. Denny likewise seemed highly enraptured with his steak and we duly savaged them down to the bone, although I was starting to feel the effects of my injudicious approach to the bread earlier. We ordered three sides to go with the steaks - the much-vaunted creamed spinach, some fries and a portion of onion strings. Of the three, the spinach was our least favourite, it seems slightly watery and lacking in true depth of flavour. Probably the only mildly sub-par element of the entire evening. The onion strings and fries were superb though.

                                              20211016_201335.jpg

                                              At this stage, we were accosted by another diner who came up to the table and addressed me in tones of familiarity. I literally had no idea who this individual was but he clearly knew me. This was puzzling but something that does happen to me occasionally as I do have a pretty bad facial memory. There should be a term for this phenomenon. I was pretty much done after the mains and may even have left a couple of ounces on the bone but I felt Denny deserved to get full whack for his political prognostications so we ordered some port and a cheeseboard to share. At first I though the cheeseboard was a miserly effort but then realised they had secreted a large quantity of cheese underneath the crackers. We did our best with the perfectly conditioned cheeses and washed it down with some very fine port. I had an espresso to stop me falling over with a food coma and it was probably the best one I've had all year - something that most restaurants seem to put little stock in. We also got a few completely superfluous petits fours with this and forced them down, Mr Creosote style. I called for the waiter to drop the hatchet and he presented a bill for €350 which I gladly rounded up to an even €400. A very memorable meal.

                                              Our evening didn't finish there however as we repaired downstairs to the Oval Office bar, which is redolent of a gentlemans club with extremely comfortable leather armchairs and decorated with all sorts of US presidential memorabilia. Much to my disgust, we were placed under two very minor presidents - Andrew Johnson and McKinley. I felt very jealous of those perched underneath Truman. At least Trump wasn't on the wall. We poured a couple more G&Ts down our necks and then headed for the hills. Some quick research confirmed the Sporting Aquarium was closed and nowhere would give us a drink after 11.30 so we bid farewell and headed in our respective directions. A fine evening and a good bet to lose. Shanahans is admittedly very expensive but is also a place that has been at the top of its game for a very long time - well worth the occasional trip.
                                              "We are not Europeans. Those people on the continent are freaks."

                                              Comment


                                                Restaurant: Big Fan Bao

                                                Address : 16 Aungier St, Dublin 2.

                                                Price : €€

                                                Mrs Lao Lao tried to book here a few weeks ago at fairly short notice but it was booked out so we opted for Lucky Tortoise instead with a 9:30 booking. On the day of our reservation, she text me to say, 'I've been able to get a table at 8:00pm, will I take it?' I agreed but what I didn't know was what she meant was 'I've managed to get a table at Big Fan Bao for 8, will I take it' Apparently, I should just know this kind of stuff.

                                                As we wandered down Aungier St, Mrs Lao Lao wasn't 100% sure exactly where Big Fan Bao was which I thought was weird as we'd been to Lucky Tortoise before. In the confusion, we ended up walking past Big Fan Boa and Mrs Lao Lao thought I was mad when I tried to enter Lucky Tortoise. When it was explained to me that we were going to Big Fan Bao, we made our way a few doors down the road and stood outside Bao Bun which Mrs Lao Lao thought was Big Fan Bao. Now, no disrespect to Bao Bun, but despite the three benches inside, it's more of a takeaway than a restaurant. Panic set in as Mrs Lao Lao for a second thought that she had somehow managed to book a takeaway but a quick check confirmed that she had indeed booked Big Fan Bao a few doors up in the other direction.

                                                Crystal clear, right?

                                                We settled into our table at Big Fan Bao and got straight down to ordering. The wine list is very small and not very ambitious but that was OK, we were both quite happy to sink a few beers. We ordered the following over two rounds

                                                BIG FAN BAO - Ardarl Fram - Happy Pork - Dong Po Style, Peanut Crumble, Pickled Mustard Greens, Coriander.

                                                THE BLACK DRAGON BOA - Squid Ink Bun, Fresh Irish Lobster Tail, Wagyu Beef, Baby Gem, Kupie.

                                                SHAN JI BOA - Crunchy Chicken Thigh Marinated Big Fan Style, Kimchi, Hot Sichuan Mayo.

                                                PORK SNOWFLAKE JIAOZI - Happy Pork, Garlic Chive, Ginger, Mixed Leaves.

                                                WAGYU CHEESEBURGER JIAOZI - House Minced Wagyu Patty, Gherkin, Cheese, Crispy Onion, Kupie Burger Sauce.

                                                XIAO LONG BAO (SOUP DUMPLING) - Minced Andarl Pork, Pork & Chicken Stock.

                                                SHE'S SWEET - Taiwanese Style Chicken, Honey Soy Garlic Butter

                                                DUCK SPRING ROLLS - Duck, Ginger Infused Rhubarb, Sweet Plum Sauce

                                                EDAMAME

                                                The only thing that wasn't great was the lobster - You couldn't taste the lobster, it was completely lost in the dish. Also, while the Wagyu Cheeseburger Jiaozi was very tasty, I wouldn't have known it was Wagyu only for I was told it was but maybe that's more of a reflection on me. Overall, the food was very good - I do love a good dumpling and a bao bun and would definitely recommend it if you like that type of food.

                                                Somehow, during dinner, our conversation turned to Garth Brooks and his imminent return to Ireland. I'm not sure how this happened as neither of us have any interest in him but I remarked, 'can't believe that was 7 years ago' Mrs Lao Lao reckoned it couldn't have been 2014 when the whole 5 gigs debacle took place but I was confident. Wrongly sensing weakness, she thought she could turn this to her advantage and offered a bet, loser for the right year pays the bill. I was so confident, I went one further 'You can have all the years, except 2014'

                                                Now, I should digress here for a minute. Mrs Lao Lao is not a gambler. In fact, she is the furthest thing that you could find from a gambler. On the few occasions where I have managed to goad (and I mean goad) her into a bet knowing I was right, she has generally welched on it so she was trying to work this one out. I only got one year, 2014, and she got every other year. She was onto a winner, except she wasn't. The bet made, she took out her phone to google the result.

                                                'You absolute, fucking dickhead - How did you know it was 2014?'

                                                'You should know by now, I know everything'

                                                'Fuck off, You read it earlier in the paper'

                                                'I did not'

                                                'You read it on-line'

                                                'I did not'

                                                'You heard it on the radio'

                                                'I did not'

                                                All my answers were true. For some reason, Mrs Lao Lao failed to ask/suggest that I saw it on the RTE six-one news on RTE +1 while waiting for her to get ready so I decided not to offer up this information and we left it that I did indeed know everything or at least that's how I remember it

                                                The bill came to €108 and Mrs Lao Lao topped it up to €120 which sounds a lot but we did have 5 beers, a cocktail and 9 dishes. You obviously don't have to eat/drink that much but we entered very hungry and left very full.

                                                With the bill paid, I insisted on paying for the taxi back to The Hill where I also insisted on getting in the nightcaps, like the true gentleman that I am.
                                                Last edited by Lao Lao; 19-10-21, 09:38.

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                                                  Great to see this thread resurrected. I should add one shortly

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                                                    lovely, I ate in BigFan on Saturday and had set myself the task of contributing a review. Now no longer required.

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