ABOUT five hundred years ago I started a ‘local restaurant reviews’ section on the blog, wrote two reviews and then promptly forgot about it.
I’m dedicated like that.
Anyway, it was Yer Man’s birthday this weekend and I brought him out to dinner so I thought I’d blow the dust off the reviews section here and include some details on our night.
Being the seasoned travellers that we are, we went all the way to the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre (about ten minutes from our house) to see a film and afterwards decided to drop into Prezzo right beside the cinema, which opened a couple of months ago.
Prezzo is an Italian style bistro and boasts an extensive menu, featuring among others pizza, pasta, fish, chicken and meat dishes as well as antipasto platters and the Liffey Valley branch is the chain’s first outlet in Ireland.
We arrived around 6pm to find the restaurant about three quarters full, but we were seated promptly at a table for two and had a look through the menu, deciding this time to only have a main course as we had eaten our body weight in popcorn in at the flicks.
I was tempted by the pizza but in the end went for the pork belly with a Marsala sauce, while Yer Man had the Fusilli alla Rusticana which was a chicken pasta dish in a tomato sauce.
Service was friendly and efficient – it took about 20/25 minutes for our food to arrive but personally I don’t mind that as it shows the food is being cooked fresh and also we didn’t have starters so the wait seemed longer.
My pork belly was soft and tender and melting, though the skin could have been a bit crisper. The Marsala sauce was subtly and nicely flavoured, if a little thin and the accompanying veggies of green beans,mushrooms and broccoli were crisp and fresh. I had a tasty side salad also which was a generous portion of mixed salad leaves with cherry tomatoes, peppers and red onion and I chose an oil and balsamic dressing.
Yer Man’s pasta was enormous, a truly huge portion, nicely cooked with a light, fresh tomato flavour that was zingy and satisfying.
We were only there for an hour, so this is only a first impressions review but overall we were impressed. It was a lovely meal and we’ll be back to sample other dishes and we’ll bring friends too. More info including menus are here.
Our two main courses, plus two soft drinks came to €38. Prezzo is a mid-priced restaurant, starters are expensive enough varying between €7 to €9 while pizza/pasta dishes are around €12-€15 and meat courses average about €18. It’s not quite cheap and cheerful, but it’s not overpriced either, considering the generous portions.
This seems to be a family friendly restaurant – we counted about six tables with children on our visit – and there was plenty of space as well as several high chairs available. There’s a nice buzzy, energetic atmosphere about the place.
The dining room itself is bright and beautifully decorated and there’s loads of space between the tables. I abhor going to restaurants that squeeze you in like sardines in a tin so it was nice to be able to have a conversation without feeling like the next table was listening in.
The main feature in the dining room is the kitchen area with open pizza oven in the centre of the room – it’s a great visual but it does make the room really warm and when we were there the air conditioning didn’t seem to be switched on, so dress lightly!
There’s an outside seating area looking out on the newly refurbished plaza outside the cinema which would be lovely for a summer’s evening meal, so if it’s a nice day, see if you can nab one of those tables.
For food quality, menu selection and ambience Prezzo gets a solid 4/5. Next time we go, we’ll order all three courses and I fully expect that rating to rise to a 5/5.
For value for money I give a decent 3.5/5.
THAT’S me there, in the photo above. With the face mask on me. That’s right. In the middle of Boots in Liffey Valley. Scarlet for me. But it was owney gorgeous so it was, so I didn’t care.
A couple of weeks ago I bought the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser in Boots and the sales assistant offered me a complimentary facial and make-over to try out some of the other products in the Liz Earle range. Never one to turn down a free, well, anything, I agreed and last Saturday headed in to get ready for my close up.
I sat down with my beauty adviser for the day, June, for a chat about my skin and my daily routine before she gathered up an armload of the products and got to work.
First she cleaned my face with the gorgeous hot cloth cleanser, before toning with the Instant Boost Skin Tonic (which smells divine, I wanted to dip my whole head in it) and then adding an Intensive Nourishing Treatment Mask to add some much needed moisture to my dehydrated skin.
This is a clever little product. You spread it all over your face and leave it to soak in for a few minutes and then take a look at yourself. It will have soaked in and disappeared from the areas of your skin that most needed moisture. In my case, my forehead. The very area where my make-up always cakes and where I have the most wrinkles and lines. Clever, no?
After removing the mask June added a beautiful Superskin Concentrate oil and then some Skin Repair Moisturiser, finishing up with a Smoothing Line Serum around the eyes. It was so relaxing being pampered and having gorgeous creams rubbed in that I almost fell asleep a few times. I could have stayed there all day. I WOULD have stayed there all day only for, you know, having a child. Bloody children, needing to be fed ‘n’ stuff.
Anyway, after the facial I then had my make-up done using the Liz Earle make-up products. The Signature Foundation in Porcelain was my shade and it was fabulous, really light and natural. I fell in love with the bronze eye shadow that was used on me and also loved the Sheer Lipgloss in ‘Mallow’. There was also a cream blush, smudge proof mascara, concealer, bronzer, highlighter, ah bags of stuff stroked on and delicately applied, it was Heaven. It was all delicious and perfect for a natural day-time look. June showed me a few tricks of the trade such as how to use bronzer and highlighter which I hadn’t been brave enough to try before.
What I liked most about my experience at Liz Earle however was that there was no hard sell. The sales assistants know their products and tell you about them, but they’re not on commission, so there’s no pressure to spend money on things you can’t afford. As well as talking about the products, we also chatted about my son, parenting, blogging and lipstick so it was all very relaxed. At the end of the session June asked me if I had enjoyed the facial and if I was happy with the make-up and only then asked if I would like to buy something from the range. There was no obligation to buy at all, genuinely, I was free to walk away if I wanted to. I did actually treat myself to a bottle of the Smoothing Line Serum but didn’t feel that I had to.
Liz Earle products comprise naturally active ingredients such as plant oils and plant extracts, vitamin E, Echinacea extract, cocoa butter, aloe vera, argan oil and witch hazel. The company sources its ingredients responsibly and products are not tested on animals.
I’ve been using the hot cloth cleanser for two weeks now and am in love with it. My face feels squeaky clean, and my skin is softer and smoother and even a little brighter so I’m definitely a fan of the brand. If you’re looking for a change to your skincare routine or to try out a new product then go and have a chat with them at Liz Earle. They’re more than willing to offer complimentary treatments and let you try the products and in my book that’s no bad thing.
I’m already booked in again next month for a complimentary hand and arm massage and this time I’m bring a pillow, so I can snooze in comfort!
For more information and prices visit the Liz Earle Irish website.