Ever despair at how your dinner bill goes through the roof once you order a half decent bottle of wine? There is a way to save yourself the nasty aftertaste of a mark up on a bottle you wouldn’t particularly relish drinking at home, without compromising on the food front.
A handful of restaurants offer a tempting Bring Your Own option, and your choices are by no means confined to sub standard establishments or a certain type of cuisine, as the stereotype of BYO has long been. Have a gander at the menu online before heading to pick up your vino of choice if you want to play food-pairing sommelier and happily unearth a brown papered bottle from your bag.
Go forth, free from the anxiety of wine list navigation and the confinement of the second cheapest option on the menu with these BYO beauties.
We’ve all heard of the bottomless brunch, but why not ensure that you have your favourite bubbles on tap by bringing your own for brunch at The Little Kitchen Corkage is waived when you order two courses, or €5 if you stick with one course. With amazingly tempting dishes like Slow roasted Pork Belly with Baked eggs, Organic Black Pudding and Apple Chutney and crave-worthy Half Baked Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream, you’ll never be able to pass up two! This offer is available at brunch, lunch and dinner, meaning you can always enjoy fantastic food here with your favourite bottle on the side.
Picture this – the best of wild Atlantic seafood, straight from the boat to your plate alongside a bottle of chilled Picpoul de Pinet – without having to have a wallet like a treasure trove. You can live this delicious day dream at Hooked on Henry Street in Galway, bringing along your own bottle to compliment the freshest seafood you’re likely to find. Tell me you’re not tempted to hop in the car to Galway and I’ll know you’re lying.
I have never met anyone who came away from an evening in The Vintage Kitchen a)hungry or b) anything less than enamoured with the place. It is somewhat of a rarity to find such a gem of a restaurant which knocks your socks off with amazing food without leaving a hole in your wallet and there is a reason its so hard to get a booking. Just don’t get too excited about the lack of corkage fee, accidentally bring a bottle of Port and proceed to finish it between two. I speak from experience.
With the particularly harsh weather lovely Galway can often be victim to, its good to know there is a delicious port in the storm in the form of Pearla na Mara in Oranmore. Serving Mediterranean inspired cuisine, a trip to Pearla na Mara with a tasty Tempranillo in tow will allow you to park the memory of a dreary downpour at the door and sail away to warmer climes over a relaxing dinner.
We all know Middle Eastern cuisine is having a bit of a moment, but before we were lusting over Ottolenghi and Sabrina Ghayour’s Eastern eats Dada on South William Street was serving up hearty Moroccan fayre, filled with similarly heady and bold flavours. In souk-like surroundings you can take your time over a traditional tagine or melting Ras el Hanout lamb shoulder, classics from a culture where food is designed to be shared. Why not bring along another Eastern treasure – a Lebanese red from the valleys of Bekka, worth scouring your favourite off-licence for.
If you love Italian food but want to save your carbs for wine, Forno in Donnybrook is the answer. Here you can have spiralized courgette instead of pasta meaning tucking into that bottle of wine you brought with you is almost guilt free! I don’t know about you but courgetti and meatballs with a sexy Sicilian vino. What’s more, there is no corkage to pay when you order a starter and main from the a la carte menu – a perfect Italian night without a Dolmio packet in sight!
Kick off the week with a little treat at Kitch on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights when BYO is the order of the day. Located on Dublin Road, you can pick at small plates while yapping with friends over a bottle of Ripasso or tuck into a flame-grilled steak with a glass or two of Malbec – you’re the boss.
Make your Meat-Free Monday infinitely more enjoyable with a trip to Portobello’s Sova Vegan Butcher with a bottle of wine in tow. This vegan haven is a treat for carnivores and plant-based eaters alike, serving seriously hearty food with no dairy, eggs or meat in sight. Who knew you could have vegan king scallops? Enjoy them with a bottle of your favourite Albarino and pat yourself on the back for cutting back on your meat consumption.
Make wine the real star of the show with an evening at Cavern Baggot Street, which is underneath Baggot Wines, a cave of wonderous wall to wall wine. If it is grazing bites of the finest cheese and charcuterie in between sips of your favourite vino you’re after, Cavern is the place to be, cosy and intimate with couches and brick features. If there is a better way to while away an evening with good company I have yet to find it!
Local produce, keenly priced is the tagline of Belmont Road’s Canteen, with artisan producers like Mike’s Fancy Cheese dotted throughout the menu proving their commitment to provenance. A wonderful thing to see on any menu, it reads even better when you discover you can bring your own bottle of wine for just £3 corkage. Their sharing board with Young Buck and Givan’s Ham is just begging you to uncork a beautiful bottle and settle in for the night.
Let’s face it – Monday’s are hard and Tuesday is the slightly less objectionable ugly sister, both immeasurably improved by a glass or two of fine wine and something tasty to go with it. Ease yourself into the week in the Fallon and Byrne Cellar, somewhere I would happily be locked in for the rest of my days. With menus comprising of compilations of the drool-worthy delights from the food hall upstairs and an unrivalled choice of wine from all over the world, corkage is just €1 on the two worst days of the week. You’re welcome.
Known for beef dripping fries, venison burgers and flame-kissed steaks, The Smoke House is quirky and mismatched in decor but always a good option for a chilled out dinner and a bottle or two of vino in the heart of Killarney town. Pop across the road to Jack C’s, a front room bottle shop, to pick up your chosen one. Be warned, it is so cosy you may end up rambling on there for the night instead of sampling Killarney’s night life.
Growing up with the name Darina, I was constantly asked if I could cook like my namesake. With that (and greed) as the ultimate motivators, I quickly realised that home-baked goods make excellent bribes and an obsession was born! With bachelor’s and master’s degrees in law I undertook a PhD, but a preference for cookbooks to textbooks persisted. As a (self-confessed!) demon in the kitchen, I am the only person to have contested both Masterchef and the Great Irish Bake off, which fuelled my desire to set my focus on food in a serious way. Working with The Taste allows me to satiate this craving and marries my food fascination with my love of writing and ranting. Follow me as I share my food adventures and hopefully inspire others to indulge their passion for cooking and food in the process!