PENNY McCORMICK rounds up the best new restaurants and other foodie spots to book into now …
Having opened just before Christmas Isabelle’s Restaurant & Bar, 13-14 South Anne Street, Dublin 2, has definitely impressed with its sleek interiors – a combination of oak walls, natural floors, large mirrors and banquette seating. Focal points include an open show kitchen, pizza counter and a bespoke wine display. Meanwhile the menu (for lunch and dinner), created by head chef Barra Hurley and chef Stephen Ryan, prioritises seasonality and seafood. The pizzas are decadent affairs (how about black fig and gorgonzola?) as are the Valrhona chocolate desserts. An ideal place for a girls’ night out, it provides a great backdrop for dressing up too. www.isabelles.ie.
Fitness fanatic Jessica Nolan, spotted a gap in the market for functional, nutritional food, which was the impetus to open Flax & Beets. On the top floor of the Powerscourt Centre, the Flax & Beets menu designed by medicinal chefs, caters for vegan, keto and gluten-free diets. That translates as healthy salads, nutritional soups, cold-press juices and smoothies to name a few. For more information on its menu and fun events visit their Instagram: @flax_and_beets.
Some days a juicy burger is the only thing that will hit the spot. And what started as a street food stall by Rory McCormack and Cathal O’Connor has now become a new casual eatery – The Handsome Burger, 49 Dominick Street Lower, Galway. Their Brady’s beef pattys, fresh sides, signature Handsome sauces and home-roasted fries have earned them the title of “best burger in the west”. In addition, their veggie burger – the Bhaji – is also a best-seller, and comprises a spinach and chickpea bhaji, tandoori onions, feta cheese, cucumber and mint raita, chillies and Handsome chutney served in a brioche bun. www.handsomeburger.com.
Wagamama now offers a fully vegan menu option which features pan Asian flavours reflecting the chain’s core belief of positive change. “When developing the menu, we wanted to eradicate the myth that meat free means taste free,” explains Rob Neilan, development head chef. There are four tasty starter dishes and seven delicious mains on the new menu. Top picks include Kare Burosu ramen – vitamin-rich vegetables in a curried broth, accompanied by shichimi-coated tofu with chilli and coriander garnish. The spicy Yasai Samla curry is also a highlight, though there are all sorts of delicious rice and noodle dishes, with fresh salads and shareable sides. The new vegan menu is available across all three venues: South King Street, Dundrum Town Centre and Blanchardstown Shopping Centre. www.wagamama.ie.
Sostrene Grene has launched its first food collection in stores including South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2, Dun Laoghaire, Limerick and Cork. The collection consists of vinaigrettes, syrups, pickled vegetables and organic baking mixes. We’ve heard the lemon mayonnaise with salted lemons from Morocco is particularly recommended – and is sunshine in a jar such is its intense flavour and scent. www.sostrenegrene.com.
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