The Secret of 61 – Dublin’s Stop on the Subway

Foodswings Reviews

Platform 61 – South William Street

 unnamed-5

Barely a subway stop away from St. Stephen’s Green, your ticket to Platform 61 is finally here as the newly-opened underground kitchen cooks up some of the tastiest grub South of the city, providing a service worthy of the VIPs catered for at the elusive ‘Platform 61’ on the New York subway for which it is named. They don’t take Leap Cards, but you’re sure to be warmly welcomed on arrival!

Reserved for presidents and art-enthusiasts lucky enough to be on the guestlist for one of Andy Warhol’s famous ‘underground parties’, the story of the secret platform beneath New York’s  Waldorf Astoria Hotel is a treat in itself to listen to, the various Warhol quotes around the walls and abstract banana signposts in the bathroom reminding you at regular intervals that there is more to this restaurant than meets the eye.

 As you enter through golden doors reminiscent of 1960s New York elevators and decor Don Draper (Mad Men) would be proud of, you can’t help but feel slightly disorientated as the black marble walls mirror one another, making great use of a small space yet still succeeding in coming across extremely classy.

unnamed-4
Only in it’s third week of business here in Dublin, there was no sign of any maintenance work or staff ‘only learning’ the ropes, and the service ran smooth and punctual from one course to the next. A mixture of options on the menu caught my eye as we debated over what direction to take, eventually settling on the ‘Italian Mozzarella and Tomato’ dish and the ‘Shrimp Gambas’ to start. I’m a fan of small menus as it minimalises decisions, but to be fair everything looked very good and we weren’t disappointed, each dish being served promptly and proving realistic portion-sizes, unlike many of the new food-stops that have sprung up recently around Dublin.

 unnamed-1

 The steak was sampled, as was the Superfood Salad with added chicken, and although prices slightly outreached that of the average commuter dinner it was made up for in taste and quality, the sweet potato fries on the side adding a delicious kick and nice reminder that eating out doesn’t always have to mean greasy, unhealthy & unnecessary indulgence.

 Our munching on the shrimp and subsequent pomegranate seeds in my Superfood Salad was accompanied by an absolutely killer playlist in the background, the likes of Alt-J and Foals providing the icing on top of the dessert that we were too full to order, though in hindsight I would have liked to try the Flourless Nut Brownie.

The lunch and brunch menus also looked incredible, the ‘Stun Bun’ in particular catching my eye, a ‘grilled chicken fillet on a brioche bun with guacamole, tomato, onion, baby gem and homemade tomato relish served with spicy potato wedges’. Due to it being still in the early stages of the restaurant opening, however, the waiter informed me that they had yet to start serving this menu, instead focusing for now on the dinner options. I will definitely be back to sample a Stun Bun when they do!!

unnamed-2

A glass or two of Chilean White wine and a house speciality beer cocktail later (a delicious concoction of Luxembourg-brewed beer, lime and apple juice) the whole experience was over too soon as we had to leave to catch the next train home.

Navigating our way out to the world back above ground it was easy to see how Platform 61 would go unnotticed, a haven glowing golden down below one of the busiest streets for bars and restaurants in the city.

Overall we were extremely pleased with the experience, and will definitely be recommending the service for anyone wishing to be transported back in time as they chow down on great food, the journey from starters right through to a final farewell complimentary glass of wine proving comfortable and enjoyable, in a stimulating and artistic environment.

 ‘Mind the Gap’ and be wary of the steep steps on the way out of the platform – especially if you’ve sampled some of the beer cocktails!!

 unnamed-3

Useful links:

Platform 61 on Facebook
Platform 61 on Twitter (@Platform61)
Platform 61 website

Cakes on the Corner of Camden

Leagan Gaeilge(Irish Version)
Foodswings Reviews – Cakes on the Corner of Camden 
I have a new favourite café in Dublin!
I’m not going to lie – I haven’t much of a notion how to go about this whole ‘food critic/restaurant review’ craic, but I sure as hell felt I had to say something about this place!
I get the impression that The Cake Café, just off Pleasant’s Place (even the name of the STREET is inviting) and also accessible through Daintree’s craft shop on Camden Street, is probably not such a well-kept secret as it would have been a short while ago before it’s inclusion on Dublin’s ‘Fab Food Trail’, and generally widespread word-of-mouth praise it’s gotten from everyone I know who recognises it.

images-1

I arrived shortly before lunchtime and even then its’ cosy interior was bursting with life and the aroma of fresh Irish produce, homemade goods and an exciting freshly blended coffee that was leaving home in takeaway cups with the delightfully punny message ‘Cupán Will Ya??’ printed on them (I’d be lying if I said I’m not a fan of ‘The ol’ bitta’ Gwaeilga’”). Brian Dobson was sat in one corner sipping a coffee and looking slightly out of place while a few other well-to-do looking clientele in suits and blazers clustered around some of the rickety seats outdoors, & I noticed some wine glasses and attractive looking craft beers nestled amongst the freshly squeezed glasses of juice and mugs of tea.
My kinda’ place, I thought.
I trudged in with my yoga mat slung over one shoulder and a laptop in my bag, navigating my way through the tightly packed and populated little tables, looking for somewhere new to do a bit of work and hoping against hope I’d fit in with some of the other ‘foodies’ and lunchtime coffee-lovers who began arriving as the dainty little china-clock on the wall ticked closer to 1pm.
 When I say this place does everything, and does it well, I mean it. Divided into a ‘Breakfast’ and ‘Savoury’ section, with options of sides and of course the all-important ‘Cakes’ at the end, the menu itself as a whole is not extensive. As I sat and downed my coffee however, I couldn’t help but notice how mouth-wateringly tasty and also most importantly healthy everything that was being served to many clearly very regular customers looked.
The staff bustled around cheerfully, acknowledging some by name and others simply with a warm smile and gesture of the hand to an empty table. I gave in and asked for a menu, eventually deciding on the ‘Chorizo and Goats’ Cheese Salad with Homemade Brown Bread’, substituting the chorizo for chicken, and biting my tongue hoping I wouldn’t end up with food envy as the little girl beside me was served granola with natural yoghurt topped with peanut butter and banana. (The staff get bonus points for being so sound about this minor adjustment to my order).
While the child’s bowl of yoghurt and peanut-buttery goodness had me already pre-planning my breakfast for the following morning, the arrival of my meal sufficiently distracted me from thinking ahead so much, and I was forced back to the moment to devour this fantastic concoction of flavours, nourishment and colour which also scores triple bonus points for being super super healthy and satisfying.
I usually despise dates, but these ones were warm and gooey and complimented the rest of the ingredients incredibly well – I thought I was hilarious messaging a friend a picture of it and organising a ‘date’ there again next week.
unnamed-2Chicken, goats’ cheese, dates & beetroot salad with homemade brown bread’
Before I get too excited about the (fabulously yummy) Lunch and Breakfast menus, I must mention the cakes. It is, afterall, in the nature of a ‘Cake Café’ to serve cake. ‘The Cake Shop’ people (because what else would we call them) pride themselves on ‘making and delivering cakes to order within 24 hours’, and surely enough I witnessed a steady flow of orders and cake-for-money transactions over the counter taking place while I munched on my beautifully served lunch. Not only pre-ordered and entire cakes, of course, but slices, buns and tarts too. While the variety looked fabulous, and certainly everyone around me seemed extremely satisfied with their choice of tartlets, I actually didn’t taste any of the cakes that first day. I couldn’t decide, and after my decadent (and very satisfying) lunch, I simply didn’t feel the need to indulge. If the other food is anything to go by though, I thought, it’s definitely something I need to try soon.
Price was something I had been concerned about, given the seeming exclusivity of this oasis of nourishment, yet the quality of the food and the atmosphere of the place in general really sent any qualms I’d had flying with the iced butterflies which decorated some of the cupcakes. I lingered awhile after finishing my meal, observing mostly, but also succeeding in getting some work done – one thing I noted was that the eggs and also the roasted vegetables seemed to be very popular choices.
The fact that they serve wine, prosecco, and a selection of beers and cocktails really just put the icing on the cake (wouldn’t be a cake shop review without that sentence!) for this place, and I made a mental note to come back some evening for a tipple and some cake before heading out on Camden Street.

Returning the following day to grab a coffee and takeaway piece of lemon yoghurt cake (devine in it’s own right), I may have emitted a momentary ‘fangirl’ squeal of delight as I spotted Bressie on the opposite side of the café. Yep. Bressie. Fairly sure he caught me looking, too. Bressie likes cake. Therefore, I like cake. Don’t we all?!

If that’s not enough to persuade you to come to The Cake Café soon, I don’t know what is.
Yum!
images
Useful Links:
 Dublin’s Fab Food Trails
@The Cake Café on Twitter
The Cake Café on Facebook
The Cake Café Online

LEAGAN GAEILGE