‘Frugal Feast’ at the Hole In The Wall pub

4.24pm, Friday 22nd February, Drury Street, Dublin, Ireland

Afternoon folks, and I’ve almost finished jam packing all the Butlers Irish fudge/chocolate caramels into the suitcase, ready for the flight through to London tomorrow morning. In another couple of hours we’ll be underway with our last event in Dublin on this trip – a dinner for The Corkscrew Wine Merchants in the fabulous vaults underneath the Ely Bar and Brasserie. But before we tackle that, I must tell you about last nights ‘Frugal Feast’ organised by Martin and Caroline over at the Hole In The Wall pub.

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The Martin I’m talking about is Martin McCaffrey, of the family that has owned the pub for the last 40 years – you’ll find it right next to the hole in the wall (you can see where the name came from!) surrounding Phoenix Park, on the north side of Dublin. Now this is not your average wall around your average park. We’re talking about a serious 3 metre high stone wall 11 km long, that encloses 1700 acres, established in 1662 as Phoenix Park on behalf of King Charles II. Why? Because a Royal Deer Park was required in that part of the world. The actual hole in the wall is a turnstile, and legend has it that the original inn supplied sly grog to the troops billeted at times in the Park. The front section of the pub – in the photo – is a lovely small bar with a wood fired heater. As the row houses next to this original pub section came up for sale, they were bought by various pub owners and ‘added on’. So now, the Hole In The Wall pub bends along the wall line like a giant caterpillar for a couple hundred yards, making it the longest pub in Ireland.

The Caroline I’m tang about is the engine room of the place, and runs the dining room and the bars. So you walk into the pub – first section small bar, second section snug bar and dining and old antique pharmacy wall dividing it from….third section snug bar and dining. Fourth section is Martins wine shop – thanks very much for having us prominently displayed on the shelves all year round, fifth section is a double with more dining, sixth section much the same, seventh section is more dining and the kitchen. This is where you’ll find Brendan the chef and his crew. Eighth and last section is the bathrooms! So you get the caterpillar pub picture!

So Martin, Caroline, Brendan and our wine gal from Cassidys ( our Irish distributor) came up with the “lets bust out of the recession with a top but inexpensive night out” Frugal Feast idea, and made it happen. End result? Three course meal plus six wines to taste – 20 euros!! Bargain!! Here’s the menu:

Taste of 2011 Yalumba Y Series Vermentino on arrival

Spicy Potato and Cumin soup – definitely thickened with full cream! with big chunks of carrot, courgettes, turnip and potato at the bottom of the bowl – served with brown bread and salted butter and our 2012 Yalumba Y Series Viognier and 2012 Yalumba Y Series Shiraz Viognier. Just the solid start we were all looking for on a school night where ice was dropping out of the sky!

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Pork, chorizo and chickpea stew with our Organic double – 2011 Chardonnay and 2010 Shiraz. More good solid ‘we’re still doing serious winter here in Dublin’ food, and the middleweight soft velvety juicy fruit Shiraz really took the cake.

And here you go, for folks who are in a,cold spot at the moment – Brendon gave us his recipe:

Hole In The Wall PORK CHORIZO AND CHICKPEA STEW

Ingredients : diced pork, ginger, chilli, garlic, cumin, smoked bacon rashers, chorizo, red wine vinegar, sugar, tomato purée and chicken stock, chopped onions celery and carrots

Marinate the diced pork in garlic, chilli, ginger and cumin (at least for 3 hours)
Sautéed smoked bacon rashers and chorizo
Add onions, celery and carrots
Add a splash of red wine vinegar
Add sugar, tomato purée and chicken stock
Add pork to pot
Cook for 45 minutes

Then we chilled down some of our 2011 Yalumba FSW7B Botrytis Viognier, and poured a taste with Dessert – Rice Pudding and Honey Poached Pears. The honey, apricot and slippery sweetness of the Viognier was just the thing with that pot of rice pudding, and i just had mine with the pear pieces off the top of the pudding! Yes…I do have a sweet tooth, just like the other 60 people squeezed into the dining sections last night.

What a great idea! Martin put all the wines from the dinner on at 12.99 euros – for one night only – so even if you just bought one bottle – which most folks did – you had an excellent night out for 33 euros – you cannot go wrong.

So thanks yet again to the Hole In The Wall for having us to dinner…….and for the staunch support. See you all same time next year! Especially ‘The Hard Core’ crew……you know who you are!!

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