The Powerscourt centre always reminds me of Ross O'Carroll-Kelly books.
In them his wife Sorcha buys a boutique in there that tries to sell horrendously overpriced couture at the tail end of the boom – and while those boutiques are still there, their pricing has become a little more realistic.
It's an oddity, really. Beautifully elegant. Gorgeous natural light. Ample parking next door. City centre location. It has it all but yet it lacks a purpose. If I had my way I'd kick all of the non-food tenants out and make it one of the world's most iconic city centre food halls. Sushi bars, food demos, craft beer bars, whiskey tastings and the likes. Sort of like a permanent Taste of Dublin living under the one roof; a place that would open until 11pm and would fit our new young trendy city vibe without the problem of the Irish weather. Outdoors but indoors at the same time.
But maybe you don't need to wait until I'm your Divine Ruler for that to happen – it's happening organically anyway, as evidenced by the latest food spot to open here.
Counter Culture is aimed very much at the new trend of clean eating and healthy living, and it fits in perfectly in the centre.
Now I normally look forward to doing reviews because they involve eating good food and trying everything on the menu in the name of work. But I was dreading this spot because I fucking hate salads – I mean, I'd probably do a week in Alcatraz rather than eat salads for a week straight.
So I started off easily with an apple juice. It was delish, with the focus clearly on leaving the pulp (all the fibre and good shit) in there. Slightly chunky to drink and watered it down with my sparkling water, but I could feel the goodness oozing through my veins like a healthy version of heroin.
The menu has huge variety and although it all ties back to clean eating you can still get roast pork, seared swordish and lots of other things that mean you could bring a date or partner here and not have them feeling like you're giving them a hint.
I went for the seared tuna because I simply can never resist it – and it was seared perfectly. The lovely young waiter who was doing a super job on his first day asked me if "medium rare was okay or if I'd prefer well done". One day in the gig, and he understood that when it comes to cooking things a percentage of the population still has an aversion to seeing anything raw.
Next up was my dreaded salad. The Seafood Olympia Salad to be exact. I drew my breath and said "FML" to myself as it was sat in front of me – but then I started eating it and it was delicious.
Flaky salmon, lovely leaves, feta, grapes and a bunch of other crunchy stuff to make it interesting.
As I sat up on the very top of Powerscourt Centre looking down I suddenly really enjoyed life. I mean I'd rather be getting my crunch from a chip than a bit of red cabbage but things could be worse than this.
This place will be rammed full of gym bunnies, models, healthy eaters and the lunch crowd – and my only reservation would be the top floor location which is up three flights of stairs, but maybe that's just because I'm a bit of a fat bastard and won't matter to the rest of the clientele.
The whole clean eating, Paleo, raw, vegan crowd give me a bit of a pain in my hole trying to spread their message with the same verve as scientologists but Counter Culture strikes a lovely balance in the middle.
A top spot for all and I felt good leaving it to go around the corner and get three scoops of Murphy's ice cream and a double espresso. I mean I'm a growing boy and not a rabbit at the end of the day.