Oysters and Guinness: Ireland’s strawberries and champagne?

Strawberries and champagne: an infamous food and drink pairing enjoyed by lovers the world over. And with the international holiday for couples, Valentine’s Day, earlier this week, I’m sure there was plenty of champagne sipping and strawberry-in-chocolate dipping going on all around the globe.

Though individually renowned for their aphrodisiac properties, when strawberries and champagne are combined they’re believed to make a very powerful love potion. So, of course, when the boyfriend and I headed over to Ireland for a Valentine’s getaway last weekend, we thought we’d get all romantic and try…

Oysters and Guinness.

Yep, the lesser-known food and drink pairing of slimy molluscs and strong Irish stout is a “thing”. In fact, it’s so much of a thing in Dublin that most of the bars and restaurants have it on their menus. There are even special bars selling only oysters and stout. So when in Ireland with your partner for Valentine’s Day, it’s the obvious choice really. We headed to The Temple Bar for our romantic “treat”…

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Sure, on first glance the bogey-looking things pictured above don’t look very appetising, let alone something that’s going to increase sexual desire. But if you read up on the science of oysters, they’re high in zinc and have a reputation for being great for boosting libido, as they contain amino acids that trigger production of sex hormones. And Guinness, well that just tastes good.

I know what you’re thinking though: Guinness and oysters is just a “poor man’s strawberries and champagne”. However, at 27€ for two pints of Guinness and six oysters, it’s hardly cheap. But that’s Temple Bar for you.

Oyster love.

Though I’ve had oysters plenty of times before, it wasn’t my suggestion to try them with Guinness… After spending the afternoon doing the Guinness Experience at the famous Storehouse, the boyfriend (who was possibly a bit drunk…) said he’d try an oyster for me.

“For me”, because he loves me that much. He’d try one of those slippery, slimy shellfish for me. I felt honoured. I felt like Rachel from Friends when Ross is about to prove his love for her by drinking the fat. It was one of those moments.

So we ordered a plate of six Dublin Bay oysters and two pints. He tried one, I ate the other five. We then proceeded to make friends in the bar and downed another couple of pints. It was a very enjoyable afternoon, but I don’t think the oysters really did much for our libidos, sorry scientists.

What (and where) else to eat in Dublin.

As well as oysters and Guinness, there are a few other things you should try when visiting the Dublin. First off, have a hearty Irish breakfast at The Merchant’s Arch:

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An Irish breakfast isn’t much different to an English fry-up, with the exception of white pudding, which is similar to black pudding, but doesn’t contain any blood. Instead the sausage is filled with pork meat and fat, suet, bread and oatmeal – it’s filling and quite salty, so I’d recommend lashings of brown sauce and Guinness to wash it down.

After breakfast and a bit of sightseeing, why no head to The Boxty House for a bowl of traditional Dublin “Coddle”?

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Coddle was described to me by the waiter as “an Irish stew with ham and sausage served with rye bread”, though when it arrived it was more akin to a watery broth. It was really tasty nevertheless, the perfect lunch for a cold winter’s day.

The boyfriend also had a stew: beef and Guinness, of course. This was complemented with a tasting platter of Irish stouts: Beamish, Murphy’s and guest ale Jack Smyth. See we’re not all about the Guinness.

My favourite meal of our trip to Dublin though, was from The Woolen Mills:

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We opted for the Early Bird menu (served from 5-6.45pm), which gave us a starter and main course each for 24€. For starter the boyfriend went for ham hock and cheese croquettes served with a celeriac slaw, while I opted for Ortiz anchovies with potato sourdough toast.

Then came the mains, and boy were they beautiful:

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I chose poached smoked haddock with crushed baby spuds and scallions, a lemon and tempura poached egg, kale and mustard sauce. It was amazing, but the portion size was huge and I couldn’t clean my plate.

The boyfriend went for a slightly less rich dish of Irish beef burger and hand-cut chips, but even that portion size was huge and he didn’t finish it all. The food was lovely though, and very reasonably priced. The service was also faultless, really friendly but not too intruding. We had a lovely Valentine’s meal at the restaurant.

*****

I’ll definitely head back to Dublin (when it’s a bit warmer), so if you’ve been to Ireland’s capital, or you live there, where would you recommend to eat next time I visit? Drop me a comment below.

82 thoughts on “Oysters and Guinness: Ireland’s strawberries and champagne?

  1. We eat in loads of different places in Dublin. We do love a trip to Hard Rock as we don’t have one up North. There is another fab restaurant called The Elephant in Temple Bar, is very sought after so go easy or book. Im so glad you enjoyed your trip, its stunning on warmer days x

  2. I love this! Your bf looks like he’s in heaven in front of all that Guinness 😀 I’ll definitely check this place out when I’m in Dublin. White pudding sounds interesting! Black pudding is one of those foods that I wish I didn’t like. It’s so wrong but tastes so right!

  3. I have never been to Dublin but have always wanted to go! Looks like you guys had a great time, especially your Mr with all that Guiness haha! If we ever go I shall definitely check out some of these places as the food looks amazing *drools* xx

  4. My mum was originally from Irlenad – those she claimed she British. Lovely food and it look like a relaxing bar. xx

  5. We were talking the other week about visiting Dublin, my husband loves Guiness but I am not a fan, although I would have to try it again while in Ireland. I am not sure if I could try oysters though, the food looks amazing though x

  6. I absolutely adore oysters, but I’ve never heard of them being paired with Guinness! I’m definitely going to try them together though.

  7. My boyfriend is half irish and with his Dad being from Ireland we get told of lots of places we need to go and visit and drink in. I will have to speak to him and see if he has been to this place x

  8. Ok, totally random pairing but does sound like something I would like to try, obviously it must complement both elements. I also have a confession I quite like oysters. But out of all the places you diner my fave has to be the Boxty House, I love stew, especially beef. Not a bad day out x

  9. Ahh Temple bar, brings back memories. Can’t say I know anyone brave enough to give the pairing a go though. Sorry to be blasphemous but I can’t stomach Guiness. He smoked haddock dish you had looks lovely though!

  10. Dublin is high up on my bucket list!
    I can’t wait to go and try some Guinness, will definitely go to the Temple Bar too 🙂

    Dani x

  11. I haven’t been to Dublin, love the Guinness, but think I’d avoid the Oysters – not a fan.

  12. I think that is an interesting pairing the Guinness and the Oysters. I am not a big fan of Guinness that you can buy here in the US, but when you are in Ireland it somehow tastes different. But I prefer some of the other local craft brands in Dublin.

  13. I can’t stand neither oysters nor Guinness! Maybe I’m just uncultured….
    That pub looks delightful and full of character though. Was it a real local haunt?

  14. I haven’t been to Dublin, it seems there are many nice places to see. I like the pubs, slightly different than the ones we enjoy in UK.

  15. I have only visited Dublin once and of course did the Guiness tour despite not liking it and getting a soft drink instead!! I never tried oysters there either, think I will give them a miss!! I did have a few drinks in the temple bar and a few other places. It is a great city to explore.

  16. You lost me at oysters…and got won me back at breakfast haha – Not the biggest oyster fan here but having gained an incredible amount of Irish friends and hearing non-stop about the food during my travels I would to hop over to Dublin just to have a Guinness and food tour (coma alert) I actually would love to sit in a pub and eat the ‘coddle’ especially on a winters night 😀

  17. Haha this is such a fun list, and informative at the same time. Absolutely loved the pictures here. Ireland is a dream destination for me, let’s see when I plan a trip. Your post is definitely making me want to buy my tickets right away. 🙂

  18. Ah that’s an interesting combination- oysters and Guiness, I would never have imagined the two coming together as a meal! Haha it’s sweet of your boyfriend to agree to try the slimy oysters ‘for you’ 😀 I’ve been trying for ages to get my husband to at least taste seafood and he just makes this disgusting face on smelling it that I never have the heart to push him to taste it. Lol. I’ve never been to Dublin but when I do, it’ll be an interesting thing to try! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Yeah, it’s not a pairing I would have put together either, but somehow it just works! It was very sweet of Steve to try oysters for me, but as we’re no longer together they can;t be that much of a “love potion” haha! x

  19. Although I haven’t tried Guinness, I think I’ll be giving the Oysters a miss and stick to strawberries & champagne. They just don’t seem very appetising to me. The Coddle sounds lovely though. Something I will have to try if we travel to Ireland in the future.

  20. This place looks amazing. It screams comfort food to me, and in this fall weather, looks like a must! Thank you!

  21. Oh I love Dublin so much, and have been in The Temple Bar. Guinness seems to go with everything in Dublin doesn’t it. I don’t think I could try it with oysters though, I really don’t like them.

    1. Guinness definitely goes with most thinks – Guinness and chocolate cake is a firm favourite of mine 😉 And don’t worry about the oysters, just means more for me 😉 x

  22. It looks and sounds like had a fantastic time! All of the food looks delicious, I would love the chance to visit and try some of it myself some day! I have to admit though I have never tried Guinness or an Oyster! xx

  23. That food all looks so delicious! I don’t mind a pint of Guinness but I’m not a fan of oysters unfortunately!

  24. Looks like you enjoyed a lovely meal – we ate in the Guiness Storehouse when we visited and the food was delicious there too

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