Watch out next month for Taste of Dublin 2006, running from 22 June to 25 June in the gardens at Dublin Castle and described in the press release as Dublin’s “first outdoor gourmet food and drink festival”. Ha! There’s a reason why there aren’t more outdoor events in Ireland – talk to the shivering, drenched stallholders at any of the markets around the country and see why. Anyway, festival visitors can expect signature dishes from a selection of the city’s restaurants, including a few of my favourites – the lovely Silk Road Café in the Chester Beatty Library and the more sophisticated Cellar Restaurant at The Merrion.
Other restaurants participating are Bang Café, Chapter One, Diep Le Shaker, Jaipur, King Sitric, La Stampa, L’Ecrivain, Peploes, Town Bar & Grill, Unicorn, Yo Thai and Chai Yo. I’ve eaten a few times, years ago, in Bang Café and always enjoyed the experience while Town Bar & Grill was the setting for our work Christmas dinner (never a good time to assess a restaurant – I will draw a veil over the rather inebriated proceedings!) so I look forward to browsing and tasting.
The big draw for me will be the Chef’s Theatre with demonstrations from the ever-interesting Richard Corrigan of London’s Lindsay House and Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill along with Irish kitchen heroine Darina Allen. And, for those of you who are fans of her daughter-in-law, Rachel Allen is also one of the chefs lined up to demonstrate. Of course, as the event is ticketed according to time (two sessions daily, 12pm to 4pm and 5.30pm to 9.30pm), getting to see Richard and Darina in the same session is going to prove a challenge. Think I’ll pass on Rachel!
The tickets, priced from €25 to €75, depending on how many florins – the currency to be used in paying for your Taste(s) of Dublin – you want to buy in advance. Apparently the exchange rate is one florin to one euro and dishes will be priced from €5 to €8. Fair enough, but the Ticketmaster booking fee is pricy at best (€2.95 on the €25 tickets), rising fairly sharply to something nasty (€5.95 for the €75 tickets). For my money, the best deal looks like the €35 option which works out at €15 entrance fee plus €20-worth of florins. Now, I just wonder what’s the best way around around that €4.38 booking fee?