Archive for February, 2010

Carluccio’s is reopening

There are plenty of places to eat in Dublin, but with restaurants closing down here and there, and more noticeably among some of the good/popular ones, one can’t help but wonder what is going on. Is the recession really hitting that much harder than we’ve expected, or are there troubles in managing expectations and balancing the books at the same time.


Early in the week, Carluccio’s shut its door at the wake of failure to meet its rent commitment after unsuccessful renegotiation of rent with its landlord. However, last evening, a new deal was struck and they will reopen again next week. What a week, eh?

I remember reading, when they first opened on Dawson Street, the extraordinary amount of rent that they’ve agreed to per annum. But of course, that was at the height of waves just before everything came crashing down. The old agreement saw Carluccio’s paying a rent of €680,000 per year, which works out to just under €1,900 per day. Yup, you read that right, per day! I don’t know if this kind of rate is the norm for properties on Dawson Street, but by goodness, that’s more than my monthly housing rent. And to think, given the economic downturn and the landlords were initially resisting a reduction in rent payable, that’s simply absurd. I can’t imagine they’ll be able to find a new tenant that would pay that amount should Carluccio’s vacate the premises. No one in their right mind should! Premium properties at city centre location, sure. Unrealistic rent overhead, nooooo.


On other eateries coming and going in the city (while I was cocooned with work craziness), the Bang Cafe on Merrion Row has shut down last month – this most probably explains the removal of Michelin’s Bib Gourmand recognition – with some major mismanagement hanging over the head of the owners, the Stokes brothers. And the bad news is, it’s not just mismanagement of the cafe but also of their private members’ club on St Stephen’s Green. It is such a shame, since they formerly also ran Clarendon Inn and between that and Bang Cafe, they have served some really delicious grubs over the years.


Latest news on the news today – Patrick Guilbaud is stepping down as director of his namesake restaurant that currently holds two Michelin stars. Now, this is one restaurant that still posted profits in 2008 (not sure about 2009 yet), but I do wonder what’s the implication now that he’s stepping down from his directorship.

Frivolous laws?

There have a lot of grumbles of late, of laws and regulations that many deem frivilous and a waste of resources, whereas there are other more important issues which should be tackled but seem to have been sidelined to goodness know when. (Since I haven’t personally look into the matters discussed, I won’t cast an opinion over them just yet.)

One of the latest introduction is that of speed limit of 30 kilometres per hour in city centre area. Really? The whole city is going to be crawling. Not to mention, there are already plenty of stretches where it’s unlikely for vehicles to be going over 30km/h, and in general, road safety in the city centre has been good. Road accidents are more likely at places where there are long stretches of empty road ahead, which tempt some drivers into speeding and being careless. But in city centre? Additionally, the Garda resources are already limited and now they have to be stretched further to monitor really small speed discrepancies? And the government in general will also have to spend more money to put up the speed limit signs everywhere? Many opined that this brings on board more cons than pro argument. For now, I’m inclined to agree.

Recently, a blasphemy law was also passed, and I’m afraid I still haven’t quite get the point as to why this is necessary despite the changes in the faces of the society. How much time was spent debating the points of this legislation which can be better used to sort out other problems, such as harmonising public transport ticketing system, or improving health care, or fight against anti-social behaviour? PZ Myers, on invitation by Atheist Ireland, will be speaking at Buswells Hotel tonight, at 7.30pm, on this issue. The public is welcome and the entry is free.

Do you think these laws are unnecessary and wasting tax payers’ money? What’s next that’s going to be on the list of more frivilous laws?

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