There's something about Christmas that makes me turn into Beyonce and convince myself that yes, I do deserve to treat myself for dinner a gazillion times a week - although my bank account is screaming otherwise.
I'd planned to go for a quick cheat meal in Nando's the other week (plz, it's feel-good food, okay?) but their outlet in Santry was SO freezing I just couldn't face eating with my hat and scarf on.
Cue despair until I remembered that a Gourmet Food Parlour had recently opened nearby...
Hidden away in Santry, you'll come across this delightful restaurant that does one of the best early birds in Dublin
I had been to Gourmet Food Parlour in Swords for brunch before (there's also a GFP in Malahide, Dun Laoghaire, House, and 37 Dawson Street), but had never tried it for dinner before.
After the meal I had there, it's now one of my favourite places for honest, incredible food at amazing value.
The early bird menu runs SEVEN days a week and is just €23 for two courses or €28 for three courses
Oh, and that includes a glass of house red or white wine.
The food is beautifully cooked and menu options are way more exciting than the majority of other early birds
For starters we went with a mushroom and gruyere bruschetta, and sesame chickpea and ginger croquettes with a lemon aioli to dip the crispy little beauties into.
The main course was a mix of indulgently creamy pasta and healthier salmon fillet - that I'm still dreaming about
A spaghetti with chorizo, goat cheese, shallots, spinach, pine nuts and garlic butter was perfectly al dente and bursting with flavours, while a (semi) healthier choice of a maple and sesame salmon fillet came with juicy lentils, crispy kale and rosemary potatoes.
A 10oz Rib Eye stole the show; with sprouting broccoli, those drool worthy rosemary and garlic potatoes again and Béarnaise sauce it was well worth the €6 supplement.
Our pockets were only slightly emptier than if we had've gorged in Nando's but our bellies were WAY happier.
Lesson learned to seek out the places doing things right, and stick with them.
Header image: Conor McCabe/Gourmet Food Parlour