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Review – Aroi Asian Street Food, Kilkenny

Review – Aroi Asian Street Food, Kilkenny

The first time I ever tried Aroi Kilkenny was having walked from Bennettsbridge to Kilkenny along the Nore path. We were looking for something hearty and tasty to eat. I had been to Aroi with a work function and decided to go there.

Aroi Asian Street Food

Aroi Asian Street Food is located on Friary Street Kilkenny and has plenty of space inside while being bright, airy and a tad funky in decor. The service is very good and on a Sunday there is an option to enjoy a main course and Gelato for only 10 euros which is wonderful value.

The service on the day we arrived was friendly yet unusually curt, perhaps they were rushed off their feet but the girl who served us never once smiled, everything was very formal and overly efficient. However, we are here for the food and were not disappointed.

I chose to push the boat out and have a starter, main and ice cream. The fish cakes were the starter, one of the nicer Thai fish cakes I have tried, with a little kick of chilli present. For the main course, I had the Yellow Fish Curry served with brown rice. This curry was full of flavour and full of fish – salmon, cod, smoked cod, mussels, crab, and calamari – as well as being jam-packed with veg.

The meal was thoroughly enjoyable and was rounded off with some very refreshing ice cream. The whole meal for 2 came to under 35 euros and its a spot I will be returning to. If you are looking for a nice Asian meal then Aroi in Kilkenny is right up your street.

My Only Criticism WAS…

On most of my recent visits, was the music . In 2022 / 23 the music playing has been dreadful dance music, cover versions of actual songs. The worst offender is Careless Whisper by George Michael, covered by some dance instrumentalist who plays it at almost double speed and it just sounds all sorts of wrong. Also, we entered an almost empty restaurant early in the day, perhaps 12:30 / 1 pm and we were asked if we had a reservation; the waitress made a big deal, sighing and looking at the computer screen before seating us … it wasn’t even that busy while we were there. From a customer service perspective, this was unusual and a little offputting.

HOWEVER … in December 2023 we visited and we found that the music was now classic rock which was excellent. As a result, we will be now going back a lot more as the only thing which put us off was the music as their food is fantastic. I highly recommend it if you want a hearth Asian Fusion meal.

 

Location

Aroi Asian Street Food, Kilkenny

Aroi Asian Street Food, Kilkenny
Aroi Kilkenny

Update October 2021

I visited Ario in October 2021 and had a beautiful meal in the Yellow Fish Curry. It was really delicious and the staff were very attentive as usual. The only thing was that the music was comical. They were playing dance versions of classic songs, basically Now that’s what I can rubbish covers 2021 ; It’s a real pity because we left as soon as we cood because the music was so inane – the low-light being a crapphy version of Careless Whisper with the most rubbish brass section you could imagine. Perhaps some relaxing music might be better.

Cavan Crystal Hotel – Hotel Review

Cavan Crystal Hotel – Hotel Review

Cavan Crystal Hotel
A Modern and Impressive Hotel in Cavan with excellent service and a large restaurant

 

About the Cavan Crystal Hotel

Cavan Crystal Hotel is in the heart of the stunning Lake County in the Midlands of Ireland. The Hotel is nicely situated near many different tourist attractions and is the closest four-star hotel to Cavan Town. I walked it myself a few times with no issues and is only a few minutes from the town.  You can also relax in the award-winning Zest Health & Fitness Club which features an 18-metre Swimming Pool, Steam Room, Jacuzzi, Sauna, and a fully equipped Gym – this access is complimentary when you book a stay at the hotel. You can also enjoy a wide range of delicious food from the Bar Menu or a cocktail or other libation in the Atrium Bar! 

The Cavan Cavan Crystal Hotel is only 1 hour and 10 minutes from Dublin via the M3 Motorway and also includes beautiful Gardens & Children’s Playground, Complimentary Wi-Fi, and free on-site parking for all guests.

My Visit to the Hotel

Having won a trip to the Cavan Crystal Hotel on Pigsback, I was looking forward to visiting Cavan for the first time but I was dreading such a long trip. It took over 5 hours (including a stop off for lunch) to get to the Cavan hotel. When we arrived the girl on reception, Orlaith, actually remembered speaking to me on the phone earlier (very impressed with service at the hotel in general). The hotel foyer is bright and nicely decorated in modern clean designs.

The rooms are large with bigger than standard bathrooms, fruit baskets and robes were in the room (not sure if these were standard) but overall the room was very nice. Newspapers were left outside your door the next morning and a turndown service was provided around 7 pm which was not availed of. (it was a nice touch though). Overall I’m not a fan of turndown service, it just seems a bit like “servant turn down my bed for me” and I’m sure the housekeeping staff has better things to be doing than opening people’s beds.

The Opus One restaurant has a wide selection of quality dishes, from duck and venison to seabass and vegetarian options. The starter and main courses were excellent with 2 small complementary intermediate offerings between starter and main and also main and dessert. One criticism of the restaurant, however, the menu does not change, so if you are staying here for more than one night you may run out of options. I personally think that a restaurant needs a selection of daily specials, especially for those staying at the hotel for repeated days. We only ate here once as a result.

The leisure center and gym are good, with a large pool, sauna, jacuzzi, and steam room – however, it can get crowded at times (especially if there are lots of children). However there is very little privacy from the gent’s dressing area and when the pool door opens, make sure you are not getting changed nearby otherwise … oops!

There is a Spa at the hotel but strangely this is not open on Sundays, probably the main day people will be relaxing and will avail of such a service. Note, this visit was a few years ago and perhaps a revisit might be warranted to see if things had changed.

Pros: Great service, great food, attentive staff and nice rooms, comfortable sleep.

Cons: The Evening Menu in the Restaurant does not change, the spa is not open on Sundays, Bar area can lack a bit of atmosphere.

Overall: 7.5/10

Related Links :

Cavan Crystal Hotel

Pigsback

Christopher Robin & Pooh Bear Movie Review

Christopher Robin & Pooh Bear Movie Review

I think everyone grew up with the cuddly character of Pooh Bear. This Pudgy looking bear loved honey, hated Heffalumps and had spelling as good as lolcats. Over the past few years, there have been a few movies about Pooh Bear, the most recent being Goodbye Christopher Robin.  This new movie is the only one which I have actually gone to see at the cinema. I can tell you that at the 8 pm showing at the Odeon, Christopher Robin had 100% of the audience over the age of 18. 

Christopher Robin the Movie

The basic storyline is that Christopher Robin has grown up, been to the war and is now working in a briefcase company. He has forgotten all about his time in the Hundred Acre Wood with Pooh Bear and his friends. The start of the film brings you on a whistle-stop tour of the memories he and Pooh Bear have. This shows everything from his tea parties in the woods to him leaving for school and later the war, finally ending up in a high profile yet soul-crushing job.

He promises his family that he would go to the countryside this weekend but Christopher’s manager insists he works. His family are not pleased and go alone, Christopher Robin is left to contemplate the conflict between family and work. During a moment of stress in the local park, he utters the words ‘what to do, what to do’ and then hears ‘what to do indeed’ from Pooh Bear, voiced by the excellent Jim Cummings. Christopher cannot believe this is real and from here he has to accept that Pooh has come back, ultimately to save him.

Christopher Robin, played by Ewan McGregor and his wife Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) are not seeing eye to eye over his time spent at work. His daughter Madeline (Bronte Carmichael) is not seeing her father much these days and both of these relationships are in the balance. His wife has said she cannot remember the last time he smiled and his dealings with his daughter are very matter-a-fact.

Pooh Bear causes a bit of havoc in Christopher house as he tries climbing shelves and steps in lots of honey. The comedic values in the film are very well balanced with the sombre and serious discussions of work-life balance, a topic valid in today’s society.

There are some fantastic scenes in this movie, I’m not going to spoil them, but they are very nicely done indeed. It really is a feel-good movie, probably one of the best I have seen. The Movie Reviewer Mark Kermode says, if you laugh 6 times during a movie, it is a comedy. I can tell you I laughed 6 times in the first 15 minutes of this movie and a lot more after that.

If you have not seen Christopher Robin then please do – you will feel great when leaving the cinema. The trailer is below if you have not seen it.

Christopher Robin is Feel Good Movie Excellence at its Best!

Lunch at The Bay Tree Bistro, Waterford – Restaurant Review

Lunch at The Bay Tree Bistro, Waterford – Restaurant Review

The Bay Tree Bistro

The Bay Tree Bistro opened in Waterford in 2015. Within a few months I was hearing about this amazing restaurant above a pub in Ballybricken. The restaurant later moved to the quays in Waterford and it has established itself as ‘the’ place in Waterford for fantastic food. In fact the Bay Tree Bistro was voted the Best Restaurant in Waterford 2018 by the Restaurant Association of Ireland.

I have eaten in the main restaurant upstairs and I can guarantee that it is a full-on dining experience. The tastes and combinations of ingredients are sublime. I will review this very soon when I return…

Earlier this year the Bay Tree Bistro started doing a lunch menu. The menu is served downstairs and is very different from the usual lunch menus. I spotted a few dishes I wanted to try and on one particular day I found myself being nearby and I just had to try it.

Lunch – Croque Madame

One of my favourite snacks / comfort foods is the croquet madame. You have bread, cheese, ham and a soft fried egg. What’s not to like? To my surprise and delight the croquet madame at the Bay Tree had 2 fried eggs. I was hoping to have the duck eggs, which are a small bit extra, but there were none on the day. The 2 eggs which were there were indeed delicious and perfectly cooked.

The red cabbage slaw which accompanies the dish is a perfect contrast to the croque – I also found that the raisins in the slaw were an unexpected taste sensation. There was also a delicious fresh side salad. The salad had cucumber, tomato, onion, spring onion, and leaves have a dressing which is fresh and contrasts with the heartiness of the egg, cheese and bread.

The relaxed atmosphere and nice music was a relaxing setting to enjoy a lunch at leisure. There was a lot on the menu which I would like to try on a repeat visit.  The specials of the day were very nice also, one was an asian pork noodle dish. I later saw photos on twitter and that might be one for a return lunch.

If you are in Waterford and you don’t want the usual boring ham sandwich for lunch, then try the Bay Tree Bistro.

Croque Madame - Lunch at The Bay Tree Bistro, Waterford - Restaurant Review

The Lunch Menu

The Lunch Menu on the day I visited the Bay Tree Bistro was as follows;

SALADS

Warm Thai Chicken
Waldorf Salad 
Tuna or Chicken Nicoise
Mediterranean Vegetable and Feta Cheese
Add Homemade Chips

SANDWICHES

Croque Monsieur
Croque Madame
With Hen Egg or Duck Egg
Tuna Melt           Ploughman’s          Vegetarian Ploughman’s
Chicken, Sundried Tomato and Smoked Cheese
Roasted Vegetable, Tomato and Mozzarella

SAVOURIES

Pork and Caramelized Onion Sausage Roll         Quiche of The Day

Soups, chowders and cheese boards were also available and are very reasonably priced. 

There are a few options on the menu I would love to try, including the sausage roll, the ploughmans, and the warm thai chicken. There is something for everyone on the menu and you won’t be disappointed – portion size is just right!


 

Bay Tree Bistro – Map Location (Permanently Closed)

Bay Tree Bistro, Waterford, Ireland

Bay Tree Bistro

16 Merchants Quay, Waterford, Ireland

Website : http://www.thebaytreebistro.com

Restaurant Detail Update – November 22nd 2018

I have just seen on TripAdvisor that the Bay Tree Bistro is now closed. I passed the establishment a few nights ago and just thought they were closed on that evening. I hope that the Bay Tree Bistro will reopen soon as I truly enjoyed the food at this great restaurant.

Lady Bird (2017) – Movie Review of Lady Bird starring Saoirse Ronan

Lady Bird (2017) – Movie Review of Lady Bird starring Saoirse Ronan

Lady Bird – Movie Review

Released: 2017
Director: Greta Gerwig
Writer: Greta Gerwig
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts

I had been anticipating the release of Lady Bird for some time now. The trailer looked funny, it seemed to be an interesting film. The last Saoirse Ronan movie I saw was Brooklyn, which was good, but just good. I went to Lady Bird expecting something, wow but I have outlined my thoughts on Lady Bird with the review.

Christine McPherson likes to be called “Lady Bird”, it is her given name, given to her by herself.

Lady Bird is the story of Christine’s senior year of high school. The Story portrays the relationship she has with her mother, her friends, the friends she wants to be best friends with, male friends, her siblings and her dad. It also deals with the fact that she is going to school in a strict Catholic educational system, which she seems not to believe in. Overall, it is a multi-faceted film as it seems to try and deal with all these relationships at the same time and for me, I think the movie somewhat loses itself in trying to cater for all the people in her life.

Some of the funniest and interesting scenes are those she has with her mother, played by the fantastic Laurie Metcalf (who you may know as being Sheldon Cooper’s mum in The Big Bang Theory). There is a love-hate relationship there, with her mum being overly critical while ensuring the family needs are looked after. Lady Bird wants to go to an expensive and sophisticated college on the East Coast such as Yale or Harvard. Her mum thinks she is not good enough and that the expense would be wasted. Perhaps her route might be community college, prison and then back to college, he mum suggests. (At which point Lady Bird decides to leave the moving car…). I would have loved to have seen more of the relationship with the mother.

All during the film Lady Bird is all about trying to achieve greatness as she grows up, but at every attempt, you see her mistakes. She chooses the wrong friends, tries the wrong drinks and tells the wrong lies.

“Overly Bitty as a Movie – Not Coherent”

The film seems more like a load of scenes put together than a flowing movie with a beginning, middle and end. The story itself does not make for a fantastic movie – it is good, but by no means, a Best Picture candidate. However, I think it will appeal to an audience who can identify with it.  Saoirse Ronan is very good as Lady Bird but I walked away thinking, what was all the hype about the movie – not 5 stars but a strong 4 star.

In conclusion, Lady Bird is a very enjoyable movie to go and see. I thought it would not be one which I would watch again – however, having watched the trailer again and having seen the movie, there is something charming about the movie. There are elements to it which are really nice, it is very emotional in parts … so, not all bad!

Lady Bird, Overall Movie Rating: 81% (4/5 stars)

 

Lady Bird – Official Trailer

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Movie Review

Released: 2017
Directed by: Martin McDonagh.
Starring: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Lucas Hedges, Peter Dinklage, Caleb Landry Jones

The first thing you will probably have heard is that this film is based on true events. Is Three Billboards a true story? Well, the inspiration is true. The director saw a poster calling on police to act on a crime. The story of Three Billboards stemmed from this event.

This is a very powerful movie and the first thing I will say is that if you don’t like swearing in movies, then this is the wrong f*$king movie for you. It is gritty, emotional, uncompromising and all driven by an amazing performance by Frances McDormand.

“A Powerful Performance by Frances McDormand”

As the movie starts you see Mildred Hayes (played by Frances McDormand), driving and passing three old unused billboards. The town has been bypassed so the three billboards are decrepit and showing old torn defunct adverts. Mildred’s daughter was killed and the police still have no leads. Mildred thinks that there is no action being taken by the police so she buys the three spots and places her own unique adverts. She erects three adverts on the billboards stating that her daughter was killed and there are still no leads, what will Chief Willoughby do about it? The billboards upset those in the local town especially since everyone knows that the chief of police is suffering from cancer, but Mildred has no sympathy for that. As far as she is concerned, all those who did not take any part in finding her daughters killer are equally culpable for the crime. (…one scene regarding the culpability with Mildred and the local priest is shocking and hilarious at the same time).

There are many sub-plots which bring in emotions of hatred and bigotry in the patrolman played by Sam Rockwell, and comedy in Mildred’s ex-husbands’ new girlfriend who brings some comic relief at the right times. There is plenty to keep you interested through-out and there were no lulls in the action.

You will find that Three Billboards will give you every emotion from fear and anger to honour and sadness. The characters are amazing in this movie, each bringing something different to this sure to be Oscar-winning movie. Frances McDormand has to be up for the best actress award as the strength of the character was amazing. The only thing I did not like about the film was the lack of a conclusive ending. For me, I thought I was going to see a film which would have some closure for Mildred. Some people don’t mind this sort of ending but for me, it was not what I wanted at the end.

Overall Review Score: 90%

 

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Official Trailer