The good gourmet: The Gourmet Bank
Talk about feeling inadequate -- when your kids start requesting to go to granny's house instead of playing at home, it makes you wonder what on earth is so bad about being at home.
I'd like to think that it's because granny always gives them presents, or they can ride on the train with their bikes -- or it just might be the fact that granny now has an ice-cream parlour with a cold stone near her house.
The Gourmet Bank is like a little Balamory, all in one shop. I kid you not, under one roof there is a post office, flower shop, bookshop, newsagent, gourmet food shop, coffee shop and ice-cream parlour.
The ice cream is Mauds -- delicious, creamy, rich and homemade. They have a variety of flavours: vanilla, mango, blackberry, strawberry and bubble gum -- a bright, electric-blue ripple ice cream.
Anyone who has been to the States might have seen the cold stone. You choose your flavour, then they mix in other ingredients on the cold stone.
Míla and Síofra both went for the bubble-gum flavour and mixed in little marshmallows and coloured sprinkles. To me it looked yuck, a sugar high I was going to let granny deal with, but they loved it and licked every last sugary bit.
A scoop is €1.60 and the price varies depending on what you mix in. You can also get a tub to take home for €4.95.
While the kids were having their sugar fix, I had a really nice decaf latte with an excellent Danish pastry. It was nice to be able to get both in the same place and we sat and dripped ice cream everywhere at the small section in the front. The seating is limited but really ideal for a quick bite or just a coffee and ice cream.
The deli is the main focus of the shop and wraps around the centre, with an entrance on either side. Starting on the left, they have a wide selection of nice breads and pastries. Then there's a small section dedicated to pizza making. I bought a nine-inch freshly made pizza with olives (€5.95). Next are the cooked meats, where I got some delicious ham sliced off the bone. The ham is by Brady and cooked upstairs in their kitchen, as is most of the other stuff.
They have a wide selection of quiches, pastries, sausage rolls (70c) and salads. They also do whole cooked organic chickens (€7.95), and have a hot-food section that includes a variety of soups (€3.95, including rolls) and either a chicken or beef stir-fry cooked in front of you with mixed vegetables, noodles and whichever sauce you like (€4.95).
The fridge section serves a variety of dishes from Donnybrook Fair, including fish pie (€9.99), grilled salmon fillets in a basil cream sauce (€8.99), spinach lasagna (€8.99) and a potato dauphinois (€5.99).
You'll also find a wide variety of artisan Irish products among the stock. My new favourite soup is Laragh Stuart beetroot dill and crème fraîche (€3.99). There's also Gubeen Smokehouse chorizo (€3.51), which we love, and The Scullery beetroot relish (€3.89), which is delicious on potatoes with a fillet steak on the side.
And if it's foreign food that you crave, there's an ample range of sauces and foodstuffs from other countries. I did find some of the products a little pricey, such as a box of Lucky Charms cereal for €8.45. However, I will put a box of this delicious cereal in my suitcase when returning from the States.