Beacon of good taste – coffee and chirashi sushi in Sandyford

Restaurants on The PlazaThe walkways of the Beacon South Quarter might look fairly quiet on RTE’s much-heralded drama Amber but that’s maybe because the miniseries was shot back in 2011.

Fast forward to 2014 and, thankfully, this corner of Sandyford,is becoming, whisper it,a busy hub for business and shopping.

That’s not all. One of the world’s weirdest and largest vinyl coverings is no more.Within a few months real, and not virtual, people will be living in 4new apartments and enjoying the view of the Dublin mountains.

On the Courtyard ground level, one of the best stocked Dunnes Stores around is a hive of activity, the ever reliable O’Brien’s Food and Wine store has a healthy flow of customers even in one of the most alcohol-free months of the year and the Ben Dunne gym is buzzing.

It’s not immediately obvious on this level where you’d go to have a bite to eat.The answer is up one floor to The Plaza but even then when you take the moving stairway, it’s still hard to spot where to head for a meal. But once you walk around Imaginosity’s moat, suddenly you can see, not one, but five food places in a row.

The Starbucks here is a friendlier place than most outposts of the ubiquitous US coffee giant and it’s a comfortable place to spend a half an hour or so.

Next door there’s Munchies, the long established Irish chain.It’s a store equally at home serving its walk-in customers an impressive choice of sandwiches and salads as it is offering local business a range of Munchies Platters for hungry office workers.

This is the place for those who love chicken, bacon and tuna but also for those who prefer a meat free option.Vegetarian sandwich choices include the wonderfully named Puck Fair Special, melted goats cheese, Ballymaloe relish, tomato and mixed greens, and the unusual delights of GoBananas – a  mix of cream cheese, bananas and toasted almonds.

Pizza Hut, often hard to find in Ireland, is also here for those who fancy a Mexican Hot or Texan BBQ feast.

Then’s there is Michie Sushi. A wonderful food success story in the midst of a savage recession, Michie has expanded from its modest beginnings, down a laneway in Ranelagh to a four branch chain. There’s the original D6 branch, one in Dun Laoghaire, another in Avoca/ Rathcoole and this Sandyford restaurant.

If you’ve not been in Michie Sushi, you are missing a treat. The food is fantastic as you might expect from the 2013 Ethnic Restaurant of the Year.

michie sushiYet it’s not snooty. No one will judge you here if you don’t know one end of a Futo Maki from another.The Michie team are warm and welcoming and if you don’t really fancy sushi, amazing as it is, there is a choice of hot dishes on the menu as well. Try a Tori Karage, chicken pieces marinated in soy and ginger, served with lime and sesame chilli soy sauce or maybe a Katsu Curry.

They do takeaway,too for collection and delivery at both lunchtimes and in the evenings. So it’s perfectly possible to enjoy a Fire Dragon Roll, (that’s seven spice, eel, avocado and teriyaki sauce)in the office for lunch. Or maybe tuck into Chirashi Sushi, made of salmon, tuna, seabass, octopus, prawn, eel, mackerel, flying fish roe, salmon roe and seaweed, in front of the TV at home.

Next door is another relatively new business to the Beacon. Only open since October, The Coffee Shot offers an ever growing selection of freshly made sandwiches on great breads, quiches, cakes – and, of course, coffee.

Their version of Irish coffee has nothing to do with whiskey and cream but everything to do with sourcing the best beans roasted in the Republic – and then using the right machines with real skill to make some of the best cups around. Once again, the service is very friendly – there must be something in the air around Sandyford.

So if you’ve never been to the Beacon before for a bite to eat, now’s a good time to drop in. And don’t think it’s a weekday office workers destination only.

All the restaurants are open on Saturdays and some on Sundays too which makes a nice treat when the kids are ready for a rest after the children’s museum or you need a break from shopping.

What do you think of eating in the Beacon or in Sandyford? Where’s your favourite place to go.Let us know in the comments section below
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