Sunday, August 13, 2006

Pub Grub is alive and well

Over the holiday, Herself and I had the pleasure of dining out more than once. We're not foodies and we don't do the posh restaurant thing. Our local, The Old Mill, is quite good for carvery at dinner hour, but our travels usually meant that we missed this and had to rely on the "waitress service" alternative. This doesn't differ much from the carvery, and in fact has some advantages. No queuing. Also, while the Mill's grub is good and comes in generous amounts, I've always found the veggies to be on the chilly side. It's difficult to keep food hot when it's been pre-cooked.

The waitress service comes with a set daytime/evening menu but there's plenty on it. The 8 oz sirloin appears still sizzling on a small platter of its own on a bed of sweated onions and mushrooms. Chips make up the rest on a side-plate. Although it looks smallish, there's enough in the whole to make a decent meal. And it's been made on the spot, so everything is piping.

We did the Burger King visit this holiday too. The drive thru on the Belgard Road produced a semi-defrosted bun between whose halves over-chilled salad bits sucked the heat out of a wafer-thin piece of beef. This was called a "Whopper". The fries, so thin they could do nothing but go cold and hard, scratched about in their cardboard.

Somewhere in between, we found two pubs serving sandwiches in a way that doesn't seem to have changed much in the past thirty years. Delaneys, in Firhouse, displays the sambos in wrap, then performs surgery on them with little plastic skewers in the shapes of sabres. This took me back to my childhood, as my father used to bring these home. He obviously drank in Delaneys too.

The other pub, The Coach House, in Roundwood, Co. Wicklow, served up our sandwich orders on huge white porcelain platters and provided a good sized teapot.

Both Delaneys and The Coach House had one extra ingredient served on the side of the plate which caused me some small surprise. The contents of a bag of cheese and onion crisps.

I'm not a foody but I've obviously been watching the wrong food programmes on the telly. I haven't seen the freshly made sandwiches being arranged nicely; the few leaves of exotic lettuce, the sliced greens, the onions being arranged as an optional salad or garnish. The chef, I know, went to some trouble to stir up a light vinegrette and drizzle it over this. But at what point does the waiter say:

"Open another bag of crisps. A customer wants a chicken salad sandwich"?

Are they being served as "Traditional Fare"? Any thoughts?


Anonymous said...

When I worked as a cook in a pub kitchen, a regular two-some would come in every Saturday. He would have a burger and bun with chips, garnished with side salad. She would always order "just a salad," I tried every week to make the plate of salad look different ! Instead of slicing my cucumber half way down the middle and giving it a twist and then plonking it onto a piece of lettuce,I'd arrange a tomato some strange way on the plate and disguise the fact somehow that the woman was having the exact same salad as the last time.
Salads make the plate look full that's why there is a salad put there. Five times out of ten the people did'nt eat it anyhow.
The Mill is a grand place to go to for a meal when on a visit to Tallaght. I'm sure if you were to go there every week the novelty would wear a bit thin. Wonderful food in my opinion. Mind you, I have never had a bad meal in Dublin, no matter where I ate.

Tea & Margaritas in My Garden said...

mmmmmmmmmmmm...those crisps do look good though.......


Willie_W said...

Crisps are those objects I associate with "good ideas" late at night. You know the time when 12 pints have been drunk and a bag of crisps seems just the thing to finish them off? The next day's illness is invariably accompanied by moans of "I shouldn't have had the bag of crisps."