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Hailan Korean Restaurant, 65 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland

What: Inexpensive (for Dublin) Korean restaurant. Enough for two with 1 litre of sparkling water was €33. Vegan friendly, meat also served.

Prices: Starters around €6, mains around €10.

Vegan menu: cucumber, avocado and asparagus makki. Default is without mayonnaise (take note Yo! Sushi). Vegetabale tempura role — ask them to make it vegan. Vegetable spring rolls — ask them to make them vegan. Kimchi vegetable pancake — ask them to make it vegan. Vegetable and rice dishes can also be vegan. Other items may also be made vegan, but we didn’t get that far.

Drinks: Sparkling water, soft drinks, at least.

Service: Earnest, friendly and competent. You may have to apply a little pressure to give wait staff the idea that the chef should be asked if she can make something vegan, otherwise you may be told that your preferred item isn’t vegan when the chef is actually likely to cheerily volunteer to make it vegan.

Comfortable? I wouldn’t want to eat here when it’s very busy. Tables are very close together. However, when it’s quiet it is comfortable. Tables are solid, chairs are comfortable. Music is not too loud. If you are planning to assemble a few side dishes take a bigger table, a table for two is a bit awkward for such a meal. The only complaint for this section is the stainless steel chopsticks — a bit slippery.

Was the food good? Yes. We enjoyed vegan kimchi pancake, vegan tempura, and vegan sushi. Neither the pancake nor the tempura were overly greasy. The vegetables in the tempura were courgette, red pepper and sweet potato. We would order all of it again.

Toilets: Downstairs. Adequate. Clean. Paper towels to dry hands.

My advice to the chef: Keep up the food work.

My advice to the manager: Mark vegan items as such on the menu.

Overall: We’ll be back and would recommend it outside of peak times. We didn’t have our camera with us but some photos are here, together with another vegan review. Menu below.

hailanmenuhailanmenu2

hailanmenu3 hailanmenu4

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Staple Foods, Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Ireland

What: Something that looks like a meeting space with a limited menu. Vegan options professed and meat.

Prices: 500ml fresh juice €5, salads €7.50, sandwiches €7.

Vegetarian/vegan menu: vegan buckwheat pancakes with strawberries and cashew butter €5.50, vegan falafel sandwich with filling €7, vegan quinoa salad, vegan Mexican salad.

Drinks: coffees, teas, fresh juices.

Service: Not applicable as we didn’t manage to eat here despite two attempts over two days. It can be said that the serving staff are not able to give compelling explanations as to why advertised food is not on offer.

Comfortable? On entering the smell reminded this reviewer of a gaming arcade from the 1980s. The seating arrangements look less than comfortable. If you want to sit at a table that is at a comfortable height for eating you have to sit in the middle of the room, usually the least good seats in any eatery. If you want to sit at the edge of the room to eat you’ll have to sit at the edge of a couch and hunch over a very low coffee table or balance your meal on your knees. There are stools at the bar, but the clutter on the counter does not welcome diners. The music was just on the edge of being too loud.

Was the food good? No idea. We tried to get the vegan breakfast on a Saturday and were told we were too late, even though they don’t advertise a time at which breakfast ends. We asked what time they would be serving breakfast the next day, but the employee was unsure at what time they would even open. Eventually he decided that they would certainly have breakfast from noon the next day for the duration of the day. We turned up at half past noon and were told that there was no breakfast to be had at all that day. The best explanation that the staff member was able to produce for this fiasco was that they had been open only six days. One would imaginet that six days in one would know what the menu is and what the opening hours are, even if reality forces a change at the end of the first month. It really did seem like amateur hour here.

Toilets: Not seen.

My advice to the chef: Perhaps you need to get together with the manager to define a menu for which the ingredients will be available and a chef on hand to assemble those ingredients.

My advice to the manager: Being newly open is not a reasonable excuse for not having regular opening hours. Not having the advertised food available on two consecutive days is bewildering. Hardly any of the seats look comfortable.

Overall: This reviewer will give them time to overcome their many teething problems. Certainly, have a plan B in mind if you are going to try eating here. This could be a good addition to the Dublin vegan scene, ultimately.

Click here for menu.

Reviews by others:

Lovin’ Dublin give Staple Food the top spot for in their Top Ten Salads in Dublin.

http://lovindublin.com/best-of/10-best-salads-dublin/

 

Bobos, 22 Wexford Street, Dublin 2, Ireland

Warning to vegetarians and vegans: do not eat here despite the offer of vegetarian burgers…

Bobos, 22 Wexford Street, Dublin 2, in no sense caters to vegetarians, even though burgers falsely characterised as vegetarian burgers are on the menu. The vegetarian burgers are cooked on the same grill as the meat burgers, a grill which is a sea of greasy meat juice. The falafel burger is cooked in oil in which meat is not officially cooked, however, the chef can be seen to place the tongs used to dip items in this oil onto the grill in a puddle of meat grease and back into the allegedly vegetarian falafel oil. This is disgusting and cannot be recommended to anybody. For any restaurant to knowingly mislead vegetarians into believing that they are eating meat free food is unethical, immoral and downright gross.  This restaurant should clarify what they know and what  they do not know about how to prepare and serve food safely and properly.  Then all potential diners may conclude for themselves what follows  either from Bobo’s knowing what they have been doing or from Bobo’s not knowing what they have been doing, whichever is the explanation.

Consider this burger and fries place instead, also in Dublin 2, if it’s a vegan/veggie burger you want:

https://dublinreviewer.wordpress.com/2011/01/16/the-counter-20-suffolk-street-dublin-2/

Lovin’ Dublin has their top ten burger places listed here, but we don’t know how many offer genuinely vegan/vegetarian burgers and don’t fully agree with their rating. However, we do agree with Lovin’ Dublin that a burger should fit in your hands and in your mouth, and that it shouldn’t be a mini skyscraper that requires knocking over before you can eat it using a knife and fork, as is the case in almost all Dublin burger restaurants, including the one we recommend above.

 

Umi, 13 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland

New vegetarian and vegan falafel (and more) eatery. We had the “Palestinian” falafel sandwich for €6. It was very, very good and filling. Staff were friendly and knowledgeable regarding ingredients and the needs of vegans. Knives used on vegetarian food are not used on the vegan food, etc. We’ll be trying out some more soon. Eat in and take-away available. So far it seems like a very welcome addition to the Dublin vegetarian/vegan scene. Full review to follow.

Bear, 35 South William Street, Dublin 2, Ireland

This new grill restaurant specializes in rare cuts of meat. Although the menu suggests that vegetarians could assemble a meal out of sides, a staff member in the restaurant told us that they do not have anything suitable for vegetarians. This vegetarian reviewer won’t be spending money here.

Nando’s, 12 St. Andrew’s Street, Dublin 2, Ireland

A competitor for the custom burger and fries joint just down the street, The Counter,  Nando’s is famous for its chicken. We were attracted in by the veggie burger and the beanie burger, thinking we could have that with fries, perhaps with the hummus starter. The burgers cost around €10 each. Staff were helpful in trying to find us a quiet table in a busy, cramped and noisy restaurant. Confusion started early on when we announced that we were vegetarian with a vegan friend. The wait staff did disappear to retrieve the Nando’s ingredients guide, which lists everything included in each item and whether it is suitable for vegetarians and vegans — this was a welcome aid to us in deciding on our order. The veggie burger and the beanie both contain egg, but the staff suggested (in a genuine, but misguided, spirit of helpfulness) that our vegan friend could have the chicken and a salad…so we did not end up staying. Vegetarians who enjoy burgers and fries might want to give it a try, but vegans would do better to pop to the Lebanese restaurant next door, The Cedar Tree.

San Lorenzo, 73 South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2, Ireland

New note 11.02.2012: Passing here today we noticed that this restaurant is once again offering a “veggie option”. It seems like they can’t decide whether they can or can’t cook one meal without meat.

Note 04.01.2012: Dublin Reviewer passed by the window here yesterday and spotted that indications of vegetarian possibilities have disappeared from the displayed menu altogether. So have the warnings about shotgun shrapnel being left in the wild game.

Juice, which claimed to be Dublin’s only sit down vegetarian restaurant, has closed their (unfriendly) doors for good. In its place is San Lorenzo, a restaurant which may disappoint, many, if not all vegans and vegetarians. The menu displayed in the window does not include any vegetarian or vegan meals. In fact, a note at the bottom of the menu states “Vegetarian options available — please ask server”. This reviewer can only suppose that the chef does not take enough, if any, pride/interest in the vegetarian options — why else would he/she hide them from public view? Another note on the menu says that that wild game “may contain shot”. One can only imagine that they do not welcome the vegetarian or vegan euro here. Perhaps they should learn from the mistake of the short-lived Le Cafe des Irlandais which was located directly opposite — they did not cater to vegetarians at all when they opened. Perhaps they also could learn from the longer-lived Juice, whose principle mistake was having a surly and dismissive attitude towards potential customers. This reviewer sees no reason to cross the threshold of San Lorenzo.