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Even the taxi driver was impressed when we explained that we – myself, Cooksister and Ailbhe – were to be eating in the Winding Stair restaurant, Dublin. You do indeed have to climb a narrow staircase up to the three floored restaurant so it lives up to its quirky name (one wonders about those stairs though and ‘heath ‘n safety’…).

The food, from what my aging memory recalls (help immensely by the photographs) also lived up to the taxi-drivers imparted reputation. Can’t say their wine stocks were that good though. They have a short list – preferable over printed acres of choice – but the initial bottle (Pojer e Sandri 2006 Nosiola Dolomiti Italy €38), and the second (Gavi di Gavi, Giustiniana 2009 Cortese Piedmont Italy €36), were unavailable. Perhaps selecting slightly obscure white Italian grapes was a bad move? Or I’m following a trend and picking wines hugely popular with trendy Dublinites?

Still a white Italian did eventually appear (Terre di Tufi Bianco di Toscana, Teruzzi & Puthod 2006 Vernaccia/Chardonnay/Malvasia Tuscany Italy €51), offered at a reduced price, along with an Albarino from Spain (Dona Rosa 2009 Albariño Rías Baixas Spain 38). A red too (Firesteed 2008 Pinot Noir Oregon USA €40) that seemed to go down well with everyone (which is always worry when elected the evenings ‘wine selector’!

The place has an eclectic charm – book cases, pictures of famous Irish literay types (the building was a bookshop), and a real Irish focus on the food; plenty of fish, cheeses, black pudding, potatoes and so on. Haven’t a clue what everyone ate apart from my starter of O’Doherty’s black pudding, fried with Gubeen chorizo, and Wexford baby potatoes with sourdough toast and salad (€11.95) and a dessert of Sticky pear and ginger cake (€6.95) with a glass of 2005 Cauhape Jurancon (€8.50). I am sure Jeanne and Ailbhe will report fully…

The evening went swimmingly, helped along by a rambling story of campervan travel through Spain or Portugal via Newcastle but rather flattened by myself being accused of looking like Michael Sheen of all bloody people! What was this an embarrassing episode of Come Dine With Me? Put it this way – I don’t think the delicious Janine, sub-editor of Olive (who joined us at the restaurant) will be banging on my door bearing commissions…

By the way ladies I am still awaiting payment for the other ‘back of the taxi’ photos not to be released to an expectant readership…
Huge thanks to Maeve and Bord Bia and Tess from Food Matters for organising the trip to Bloom 2011 and the meal at Winding Stair; huge fun.

The Winding Stair Bookshop & Café became a famous Dublin landmark in the 70′s and a popular meeting place for writers, musicians and artists. In an era of few venues it played host to dozens of readings & book launches and for many an unofficial office where long afternoons were spent meeting people. When its closure was announced in 2005 there were muttering about the end of an era – but, in 2006 the Thomas Read Group brought this much-loved Bookshop & Restaurant back and it’s better than ever.

The upstairs Restaurant has maintained the nostalgic ambiance of the famous building and specialises in a simple, high quality Irish cooking with an organic direction and extensive wine list.”

6 Comments »

  1. Ailbhe says:

    Some people find Michael Sheen rather dashing! Almost forgot about the wine ‘no shows’ but the end choices (as I remember) were excellent. The starters we all raved over – the mains were not as fab : ( but lovely place. What do you mean ‘rambling’, I think you mean ‘engaging’ : )
    Lovely pics as always

  2. Certainly engaging and highly amusing too! Fun day. Glad you like the photos.

  3. Oh that was one of the most fun dinners I can remember! We just laughed from start to finish and the food was fab (as Ailbhe said, the starters more so than the mains!!). The campervan tale will stay with me forever and I can no longer look at yo without seeing the shadow of Michael Sheen dancing just below your lovely features…! The only qyestion is… did Ailbhe EVER GET TO NEWCASTLE?! LOL. And BTW that’s the last time I let you point a camera at me – first the “hand signals” snap at the show, now the back of the taxi shots!! Rule of thumb – that camera has to be SHOULDER HEIGHT OR HIGHER!! Got it?! ;o)

  4. Andrew says:

    Got it…
    … and instantly forgotton ;-)

  5. [...] black shirt to last year. (The shirt has no relevance to anything I should add). Like the Winding Stair a narrow climb leads you to the dining rooms on upper floors. The décor is similar, less of a book [...]

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