Dining in Dublin: L. Mulligan Grocer

Housed in an old grocer’s on the border of Northside’s Stoneybatter/Arbour Hill neighborhood, this gastropub is off the beaten path of better-known (and much pricier) restaurants like The Winding Stair, but what you get in service, atmosphere, and culinary delight is worth making this gem of a place the destination.

Though the front is a pub where you can get a pint, Mulligan’s doesn’t serve Guinness. Instead, they have curated an outstanding list of whiskeys and Irish craft beer (microbrews), and for each starter and main, they will suggest a beer or whiskey pairing.

Like Winding Stair, Mulligan’s has embraced the locavore movement:

Our beef is grass fed and Irish. Our sausages come from TJ Crowe in Tipperary and Jack McCarthy in Cork.

Our fish is from Kish Fish. They text us every day to tell us what is fresh! We are committed to serving sustainable species of fish on our menu. Our pork, eggs and chook are free-range & Irish. Our black pudding is made in Fermanagh with Irish blood (a rarity!).

Our sourdough is baked by Rossa in Le Levain bakery. Our brown bread is made to Colin’s mum’s recipe, often using buttermilk left over from making our Connemara whiskey butter.

Behind the pub in the back are heavy wood-block tables set with teas lights and wildflowers. Menus come fastened inside of old books. There are games and a trivia night.

The second time we went, we had the same waitress and she remembered us--remembered exactly where we sat. I think we were memorably half-mad with the good food and our freedom from the loony bin for a few hours

Until I ate at Anita Lo’s Annisa in NYC, the egg after brunch was never given much thought. But Anita elevated the egg to showstopper with her slow-cooking technique. So I was intrigued by the Scotch egg as starter at Mulligan’s, and was not disappointed. I now crave this egg regularly.

Vegetarian Scotch Egg, cradled in a seasoned chickpea batter with a Dijon and Mullagaloe relish

Mains sampled include lamb burger, breaded Haddock, and this steak.

Steak with Connemara whiskey butter, spinach, and twice-cooked chips.

On our first visit, we finished our meal with a delectable apple crumble. The last time, because we were going out to a party afterward, we opted for an after-dinner Irish coffee. We got the Runcible Spoon (named in honor of this Irish foodie blog), with fresh-pressed coffee and sea salted liquer. Yum.

The bill comes in an old tin, and tucked inside is a paper bag filled with jelly candies. They are sweet touches to this vibrant, warm place, but even without them the outstanding fare and price-point make this our top Dublin restaurant so far (with the tapas place Port House coming in at a close second.) If you are visiting and interested in sampling the re-imagining of Irish fare, make sure to visit Mulligan’s.

L Mulligans, 18 Stoneybatter, Dublin 7. Reservations recommended.

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For fun: Ian Frazier on the feeding of children

My mother-in-law found Laws Concerning Food and Drink; Household Principles; Lamentations of the Father, an old humor piece Ian Frazier originally published in The Atlantic and sent it to me. For all parents of young children who must suffer the demoralizing experience of children’s mealtime, this is for you. Here’s a sample, but click on the link to read the whole piece.

Drink your milk as it is given you, neither use on it any utensils, nor fork, nor knife, nor spoon, for that is not what they are for; if you will dip your blocks in the milk, and lick it off, you will be sent away. When you have drunk, let the empty cup then remain upon the table, and do not bite it upon its edge and by your teeth hold it to your face in order to make noises in it sounding like a duck; for you will be sent away.

Donnybrook tree lighting

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This gallery contains 11 photos.

We missed the tree lighting in Ranelagh–almost every village in Dublin has their own–but on Saturday Sascha noticed the signs for the one in Donnybrook.  So last night, we bundled up the boys and went first to eat at Eddie … Continue reading

Dining in Dublin with kids: The Odeon

I’ve decided to get all service-y, and add a new section to the blog for those of you who may be visiting Dublin, or those who may happen upon my blog and be less interested in my nostalgia and more interested in information.  Sascha and I eat out a fair bit, at least once a week for a date night and with the kids frequently on the weekends during our explorations. The wave of immigration to the country during the boom years means there is a lot more to dining here than stew and potatoes and veg soup, but almost all of it is extremely expensive, so hopefully this will help you decide what’s worth your euros and what isn’t. For those brave souls who may be traveling with young children, this may guide you where to eat with them without getting dirty looks for daring to reproduce and take a night off from the kitchen, which some city-dwellers seem to treat as a crime against humanity.

There will be two versions: DiD (Dining in Dublin) with kids and just plain DiD (Dining in Dublin). If you have suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

Housed in an old railway station, The Odeon is a grand building with Art Deco flourishes. If you are traveling with kids, you probably don’t care about that, but what you will care about is the fact that the LUAS stops right outside its door. The LUAS is the Dublin tram and perhaps the easiest method of public transportation for strollers/buggies. It’s easy wheel on/wheel off, unlike the DART, with its treacherous gap between train and platform.

The Odeon

On Sundays, The Odeon features a family brunch club from 12-6. Children under 3 eat free (we didn’t know this ahead of time and were quite happily surprised.) The kids menu features goujons, chicken nuggets, and sausage–all with chips (fries), as well as penne pasta with chicken, char-grilled vegetables, and tomatoes that run from €5-5.95 if your child is 3+.  At 2pm, a big screen plays a kids’ film (this Sunday, 4 December, The Odeon will screen “Muppet Christmas Carol”).

I got this off The Odeon's website. I did not take this photo.

The good: There are comfy chairs and roomy banquettes and a full bar. I had a goat cheese spinach frittata, which was yummy, though my margarita was weak and not salted. The service was a bit  s – l – o – w, but considering there were kids everywhere, rolling around on the floor, shrieking and running through the cavernous space, climbing up on the banquettes to watch the trains coming and going, you might imagine it’s the waitstaff’s least favorite shift. Crayons and paper are provided, and for parents, there’s free wi-fi and a full bar.

The boys and Gramby check out the rugby match

As the afternoons get darker and the wind lashes out, this is a great weekend option because you can spend a few hours there and children certainly aren’t restrained from moving around the space, which as any parent knows, can drastically shorten one’s eating out time. The Odeon has a range of other events outside its family-friendly Sunday brunch.  A Spanish woman who had arrived early for the salsa night directly following the family brunch noticed C dancing and came over to chat him up. Though normally a flirt, he ran for his life.

Tram-watching

The Odeon Sunday Times Brunch Club, 12-6, with screenings at 2pm. 57 Harcourt Street, Dublin 2. LUAS stop: Harcourt