Tapenade Bistro on N7/N8

This newish place is in the Midway FoodCourt, Portlaoise and is nearly successful in its attempt to do something a bit different.

I had to drive up to Dublin recently (having become over-used to the train) and stopped at Midway on the N7/N8 interchange to grab something to eat. I had spotted a newish place in there the last time I’d stopped for coffee and I thought I’d give it a try. They call it a “healthy bistro” which may actually put a lot of people off since there is plenty of “normal” stuff to eat.

Tapenade Bistro Midway

The main things that they serve are three hot dishes, lots of salads and a variety of drinks including smoothies. Unfortunately the hot dishes did not look appetizing at all. They had meatballs in tomato sauce, sausages in gravy and burgers in gravy sitting in standard catering kitchen bain-marie trays. But they also had rice and mashed potatoes in the same setup. All looked untouched for hours. Having said that, the meatballs sounded nice so I went with that. No pasta, so I picked rice.

With that you get two salads and I went for a carrot one and a potato one. I also ordered a raspberry and mint smoothie and a latte. €18.50 all in.

Meatballs and Salads

The meatball and sauce was very nice (not as good as my own obviously :-) ) but as expected the rice was a dried up horror. The salads were extremely good and the smoothie was genuinely the best I have ever had. The background taste of mint was just perfect. Decent machine-based latte.

They could easily fix the carb problem by doing what I do at home. Cook up the rice (or pasta), drain and then run under an ice cold tap for several minutes until all heat is removed. Then when person orders (or kids arrive in), you pour boiling water over a portion in a sieve. No more claggy, shrivelled up, dried up carbs. I know there is a danger if you don’t do it properly with rice but it’s never been a problem for us.

This place really is a good idea. I still query the “healthy” marketing given the target audience and they have to fix the way they do carbs. I hope it succeeds because I’d happily make it my default stop on the Cork-Dublin route.

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Conor O'Neill

Tech guy who likes running slowly

Bandon, Cork, Ireland http://conoroneill.com