Velvety cream, hot coffee, whiskey and brown sugar – you’re always bound for a good place with these ingredients. The only “trick” there is for Irish coffee (if it can be called a trick), is to use full fat cream. Spray cream should not come near it, although that is how it’s often served in bars. If you follow the instructions below, you’ll find a dozen excuses to go out into the forest or on long rainy cycling treks just to come home and reward yourself with this autumnal comfort blanket. You need:
1 cup of hot, freshly brewed coffee
1 measure Irish whiskey
2 tbsp velvety cream
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
Sprinkle of nutmeg
Heat the glass by pouring hot water into it. Empty it and add a tablespoon of dark sugar. Pour the coffee in, and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the whiskey and stir. Carefully pour about 2 tablespoons of softly whipped full cream into the glass to create a lid over the coffee. Finish off with a sprinkle of nutmeg. Enjoy immediately with some chocolate or purple plums.
Bia Mara is a neat little fish and chips place near the sleezier streets around Boulevard Anspach. They have a simple concept: doing cheap, sustainable fish and chips, and doing it really well. Having visited a couple of times, I’ve found the weekly special at 12€ to be innovative and tasty, even though one would think fish and chips is a rather basic, and perhaps limited, concept. Recent combinations have included Korean Style Ling with hot red pepper crust and kinchee sauce, Rogan Josh crusted special with lime, mint and coriander sauce, and Malaysian Special Sea Bream with sambal and tamarind sauce.
Last time I visited, we tried sea bass with truffle mayo, and it was just the perfect thing for a slightly hungover sunny stroll on town. Their penchant for curry feels like a true reflection of modern cuisine from the British Isles (although this in my opinion is true for England – I can’t speak for the quality or popoularity of Irish curry houses).
The owner is incredibly friendly in that nice, Irish way, and makes me wish I had that special skill of making effortless small talk. The menu changes weekly depending on what fish is available, and great care seems to be taken to ensure that the fish is sourced by sustainable methods. In addition to this, they serve lemon Pellegrino and a beer of the week from a local Belgian brewery. On Sundays, they serve Brunch from 12-16 which consists of their weekly special and a bloody mary. So many good things!
Bia Mara can be found here on the map: