I’m not the most prolific shopper in our family. That honour goes to my husband, who delights in the entire shopping ritual. He loves the frisson of excitement when entering the store, the delight in finding some ...
I’m not the most prolific shopper in our family. That honour goes to my husband, who delights in the entire shopping ritual. He loves the frisson of excitement when entering the store, the delight in finding some sartorial treasure, even the transformative promise of the changing room. And so it was we found ourselves taking advantage of the January sale in Arnotts (who’ve kindly sponsored this post).
We have a straightforward agreement for such days: I will happily lumber after him as he peruses the rails all day, as long as there will be food involved. Usually this means a limp sandwich in a grim in-store café, but not so in Arnotts: the edible jewel in the crown of Dublin’s oldest department store is Clodagh’s Kitchen, spread across the top two floors.
The lower section is casual and on that day bustling with lunchtime shoppers. The top tier is a comparative oasis of calm, with table-service, banquet seating and a bright, open kitchen.
The menu is very Clodagh McKenna-ish: light dishes, using simple, seasonal ingredients, with an emphasis on local provenance. My dedicated follower of fashion was starving, so we ordered a side of smoked paprika hummus and sourdough bread to start (€4). This proved a hearty – and good value – introduction to the meal, boasting a deep, smoky flavour, sharpened by a nice kick of garlic.
We chose balcony seats – offering a wide view over the furniture department – and watched as customers sat on sofas, bounced on beds, measured tables, squeezed cushions and argued over lamps, while we rested our tired feet and sipped a refreshing Australian Riesling (Butterfly Ridge, €28).
Our mains came quickly: a beef burger for himself, and a grilled chicken salad for me (€15.50 for each). The burger entailed a nicely chargrilled patty with aged Dubliner cheddar, tomato and pickles, sandwiched between voluminous brioche bread. It was quite dry, but the solution was a vibrant purple slaw served on the side, along with a colourful salad.
An unpretentious but satisfying portion of roast potatoes tossed in rosemary, sea salt and black pepper proved an instant hit.
My grilled chicken was doused in a heady concoction of rich spices, cooled by a drizzle of yoghurt with chopped dill. The accompanying salad also offered no airs and graces – a somewhat plain collection of lettuce, feta and scallion – but the crunch of the lettuce contrasted well with the creamy cheese, while the spring onions lent a subtly tart note.
The dessert choices were especially appealing and after some table-top negotiation, we settled on a slice of gluten-free orange cake (€4.50). The fluffy, moist cake – dusted with Kerry-green pistachios – offered a delicately sweet citrus flavour.
We left after an hour, suitably revived and refreshed for a return to the business at hand – shopping in the men’s department.
What did I have to show for this day of consumerism? Six coasters and a very full tummy.
Disclosure: this post is part of a paid partnership with Arnotts. However, they were unaware that I would be visiting Clodagh’s Kitchen and had no control over the content of the review. I paid for my meal myself, as always. The coasters, too 😉