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Taste of America

Grub Spy: Alan Kelly dishes the goods on Ireland’s tastiest dining destinations

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The fluffy pancakes at Mackenzie’s.

The fluffy pancakes at Mackenzie’s.

The fluffy pancakes at Mackenzie’s.

I never understand how, or why, American food can, on occasion, bring out such deep-rooted snobbery. It's not with every diner and it's not all of the time - but it is there.

MACKENZIE'S

Opus Building, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 2

Four Stars

Food €23.45; Soft drinks €6.60

 

For instance, I was slightly taken aback when a pal of mine said he usually avoids so-called American junk food: though he expressed his opinion in far more in-your-face terms. While no doubt he is sincere, and like most sane people he is fully engaged in the debate about saturated fat and sugar, fructose and all the other food nasties that can damage our health, this same guy happily devours pizza and burgers and every summer BBQ in between.

It does seem that whenever Americana-nosh arrives in a big flashy dining space, latent food snobbery is most likely to emerge. Of course we all have our pet foodie peeves. Mine includes wobbly dining tables, people eating with their mouths open, food served on roof slates - actually the list goes on and on - but I have to say, American food hardly makes the list.

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The impressive pizza oven.

The impressive pizza oven.

The impressive pizza oven.

OK, it might never be the gastronomic promised land, but when it's done properly it can be delicious. Done badly (like pretty much any other cuisine) it can be dismal.

I have eaten good and bad food all over the US, and to say large portions are involved is putting it mildly.

Mackenzie's, located in the Opus Building in the heart of Dublin's Grand Canal Docks, has taken that principle fully on board.

We are sitting in a large open-plan kitchen and dining room dominated by a shiny brass pizza oven, a bevy of busy grill chefs and a babble of happy diners. Buzz and atmos is the vibe we all know and love and the vibe we missed the most.

The brunch menu is a model of a good old-fashioned American brunch. French toast with bourbon vanilla ice cream, lemon crab salad on a toasted muffin, classic eggs Benedict, deep fried buttermilk chicken with avocado and chili sauce.

We go for fried mushrooms on a doorstep slice of toasted sourdough with freshly wilted spinach, two nicely poached eggs and a splodge of creamy eggy Hollandaise - and a stack of buttermilk pancakes with toasted pecans, caramel sauce and mascarpone. Although overly tossed in maple syrup, a side of roasted baby spuds completes the picture.

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Both dishes are scrumptious, edging towards absolutely scrumptious, especially the light, almost fluffy pancakes, and most especially those two bang-on correctly poached eggs.

You will probably also want to know about the portion sizes and flavour. Well now, since we're not at the swankier end of the business and we are talking Americana, imagine two hilariously big plates of grub with go-faster stripes and turbo-charged flavours, and you will understand why we don't bother with desserts.

This is all about a particular culinary style (that not everyone will like) and a menu full of cosy satisfying dishes.

In the wrong hands, 'simple' often means disaster. Not here. In fact, if it's a big messy cacophony of delicious American diner food you're after, you'd be hard pushed to find better than Mackenzie's.

 

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The fluffy pancakes at Mackenzie’s.

The fluffy pancakes at Mackenzie’s.

The fluffy pancakes at Mackenzie’s.

Grape Spy: Jean Smullen

SuperValu’s French wine sale runs until September 22. This sale has been the source of many great offers for over 20 years so my advice is to check it out.

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wine

wine

wine

 

Kylie Minogue Rosé €15

This debut Rosé has become so popular now that Rosé is drunk all year round. It’s on offer during the French wine sale for €10, which is a terrific bargain.

   Kylie’s Rosé is made from Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon grown in the south of France. The wine has a pale pink colour and is dry with tons of strawberry flavours and a lovely fresh acidity. Enjoy as an apéritif or with a goat’s cheese salad.

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2019 Gustave Lorentz Pinot Blanc Réserve €18.99

SuperValu’s Special Guest Star Wines have a few big names that are worth looking out for such as Louis Latour and Georges du Boeuf. This star wine is on offer at €12. It comes from Alsace, a small region in northern France known for top-quality white wines. Pinot Blanc is a stunning grape, and though not very well known, this one is definitely worth a try.

With stone fruit aromas and lots of pear flavours, it is very elegant and delicate. It will go beautifully with grilled tuna steak and green beans.

  • For wine events, see jeansmullen.com

 

Quick Bites

OMEGA DRIVE

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It's not called a ‘school of fish’ for nothing, y’know.

Back-to-school time is here — and Donegal Catch is going straight to the top of the bass, sorry, class, after launching two new brain-boosting dinner offerings for hungry students.

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QUICK BITES SUNDAY 5 SEPTEMBER

QUICK BITES SUNDAY 5 SEPTEMBER

QUICK BITES SUNDAY 5 SEPTEMBER

 

Packed with protein, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fats, dieticians recommend eating fish at least twice a week to keep everything from your bones to your brain healthy. 

And getting school-goers to scale up their intake has never been easier thanks to the handy frozen fish range available in supermarkets nationwide.

Just pop the new Donegal Catch Wholegrain Fish Fillets (€5.50 for four) in the oven for a nutritious dinner in minutes. Or how about fish finger sandwiches with Omega Fish Fingers (€2.50 for 10) for a supper super this semester?

  • See donegalcatch.ie/recipes or follow @donegalcatchireland on Instagram for more delicious back-to-school dinner ideas.

 

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