Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Rendezvous in Dublin

Tuesday was a day of get-togethers. Two months after our accidental meeting in Heathrow, I met up with my cousin, Janet, for lunch. Janet is an actress and things are currently looking up for her, with a radio series due for broadcast and several plays in the pipeline. We went to Dunne and Crescendi for an Italian style lunch. Although the risotto part of my Risotto with Mushrooms and Mussels was piping hot, the mussels weren't and they came back to haunt me later that afternoon. Nevertheless we had a great chat, some nice wine and a lot of coffee. Later her flatmate, Peter, joined us for an abortive trip to the RHA and a brief visit to the National Gallery. Then more coffee and a failed attempt to avoid the rain.
Zoe, one of my fellow travellers in Indochina, was in Dublin treating her mother to a birthday trip. I was to meet them for dinner later, so I took the time to go to the cinema. The only movie that fitted my time frame was 'Captivity', more of which above. Anyhow eventually we met up.
Three times in the past week I had heard The Winding Stair mentioned as a good place to eat. Certainly it was difficult getting a reservation, but after some drinks in nearby Pravda, we took our table at 9.30. It was crowded and the ambience was good. The service too was friendly and good, so I had high expectations, only encouraged by the wonderful chicken pate I had to start. Unfortunately I chose the ribeye steak, not the best cut for a steak, I understand (I had had an unexceptional one in Newcastle over the weekend, so I should have known better). I had asked for it blue, but got it rare, but this didn't bother me too much as rare is probably wiser. The meat though was very stringy and eating any of it was very difficult. I was very disappointed. The girls seemed happy enough with their choices though, and Zoe's mother, Jane, particularly enjoyed the champ served with her collar of bacon (it was a little too dry for my tastes). Anyhow disappointed though I was, I suppose it says something that I would be prepared to give the place another go.
After the formalities of eating were behind us, we got down to the serious matter of drinking. With most of Templebar seeming to close down (and just what has happened to Zanzibar?), we ended up in a section of Iosolde's Tower called 'The Czech Inn'. It is a measure of Dublin's current population that there is such an explosion of Eastern European bars, but it was welcome. I suspect it was more Polish than Czech though with Polish language cash registers, bar girls, and drinks, but then I couldn't distinguish one from the other, so what do I know. In the event, I probably had as much alcohol over that night - gin and tonics, B52s, Baby Guinnesses, Sambuccas, Apple Sours, red wine, and beer - as over the Newcastle weekend, or so it seemed. Jane was probably left out in the cold too much (literally sometimes in that she smoked and had to go outside) as Zoe and I caught up on old times, and for that I apologise. All in all though a good night.


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