The week that was featuring Ugly Duckling Dublin and Bison Bar

Something i’ve always thought, the days that are totally unplanned, are usually by and large the best days. I hope i’m not the only person to think this.

It was a long week, but a work mate of mine and I decided to call into the lads @Uglyducklingdub Cafe in the Epicurean Food Hall on Abbey St for lunch on Thursday – now we’d both been fortunate enough to win a free lunch from the lads. Day before pay day it was only natural to use this up.

Darragh, Derek and John are the team behind it, a lot of you would know Darragh from his days up running against the grain. 

For those that don’t know the Epicurean Food Hall, its one of those gems in the city where you can choose from many national cuisines, even Leo Burdocks, and eat in a communal environment. Its great. And the Ugly Duckling is the latest addition to this culinary mecca. They’ve only just celebrated their four week anniversary.

Now, the first thing that I see on the menu, is its good food done well. Having gotten to know one another we decided what we wanted, me being a stickler for wings went for the wings and chips, which would have cost me €7.95, and Andy went for the Homemade Beef Burger. While chatting away Derek said he was going to give us a taster of a few things. 

First up, Roasted Tomato Soup, it was served in a cappuccino cup with a sprinkling of cheese, and slice of granary bread. The flavours were really vibrant and the cheese topped it off nicely. A nice sampler to get the juices flowing. But they weren’t stopped there. Next up was a half a hot meal roll each, this with turkey breast, honey glazed bacon, cranberry relish and salad, but the crowning piece for me was the addition of gravy to the roll. Good lord. Fantastic. At only €6.45 this item represents to me fantastic value. The meat changes on a daily basis also.

From Top Left: Hot Meat Roll, Wings, Wings and Burgers, and Soup – Credit to Andy @Bakingbatchelor for the photo.

Then our food came. My wings were refreshingly not made with the Franks Hot Sauce style sauce, but a sweet chilli sauce based one, the wings were lovely and crispy, and smothered in a vibrant sauce, woken up by the addition of fresh coriander, with nice chunky chips and a dip. Andy’s homemade burgers looked great too. Just like Mammy used to make, two nice patty’s smothered in gravy with mushrooms and onion. The lads promised we’d leave full, I couldn’t finish my portion of wings but Derek gladly wrapped em up for me to go and that was Mrs IBS’ supper sorted. The guys are offering some really nice food for a really keen price. Definitely check them out.

I was texting a buddy of mine who mentioned that he was up in Dublin for the day on Saturday and would we be round for a scoop and catch up. Looked at the calendar and said sure why not. Having grabbed a delicious Two Spots Coffee we met up in the Grand Central Pub on O’Connell St, no point asking for craft beer here, they’d give you a Caledonian Smooth and you’d be lucky. Usually I revert to Guinness in these places and it didn’t disappoint.

Soon bellies started to rumble, and decided to use the opportunity to grab some food at Bison Bar (Wellington Quay next to the clarence, next to the Millenium Walkway). Our group was all confirmed carnivores so what better place to go. A bit of a walk down the quays avoiding the pondlife that plagues our streets at times, we got there. Instantly as you walk in the waft of charcoal smoke mixed with cooking meat hits you. We grabbed some menus and had a look. 

They have a lunch special which runs from 12-5pm for 7.95 (5 quid if you take away) you get a Brisket or Pull Pork Sandwich with one side. I opted for Brisket, and Mrs IBS for the Pork. The lads then went for chicken, ribs, and brisket as mains with 2 sides for 13.95. There is a sampler option available for 14.95 also. You order at the bar and sit down.

Loads of crazy americana on the walls, kind of reminded me of Uncle Moes in the simpsons but in a good way, but most importantly the food was of fantastic quality. Washed down with a pint and a whiskey sour I can’t believe I waited so long to visit. Make no mistake this is genuine Texas BBQ – mouthwatering Texas BBQ, oh and I would swim in the Mustard BBQ Sauce!

My only quibble was the poor selection of craft beers, they had some Williams Brothers from Scotland, but lads would it be too much to ask for one or two local choices. Something like Blacks Kinsale Pale Ale would go really well here. 

With that we moved on to have another few drinks. Later that evening we went to Probus, but that is deserving of a post of its own. Stay tuned for that. 

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