Mongolian Barbeque, Dublin, Ireland


date of visit: Monday 22 October 2012

Getting to Dublin had meant a very early start: up at 0330 to be ready to wake and feed the baby before jumping in a cab at 0430 for an early bargain basement flight.

This meant it was a long day and, by the time the toddler’s dinner time rolled around, we were all hungry, tired and ready to sit on the sofa in our apartment. Rock and roll.

And so we happened on Dublin’s Mongolian Barbeque, in the depths of Temple Bar. We were there so early we qualified for the early bird discount – all you can eat BBQ for €12 per person, rather than €16.

You may have realised, by now, that I normally eschew anything ‘all you can eat’, ‘buffet’ and such. However, I have done Mongolian BBQ once before (a long time ago) and enjoyed it and I knew that this was going to be the perfect way to feed a hungry toddler.


The premise of Mongolian BBQ is that the diner makes a selection of foods which is then cooked by a chef on a large grill plate. It’s quite an interactive way of dining as you are up out of your chair, picking your food and watching it being cooked. It’s great for picky eaters as they have ultimate control over what goes in their bowl.

At Dublin’s Mongolian BBQ we were greeted warmly, and pram and high chair were sorted out swiftly. Wine and bowls of rice arrived and we were ready to hit the food.

There were suggested combinations although we found that making up our own was both more fun and tastier!

The tandoori chicken was a big hit with all of us, but there was also pork, beef and plain chicken. In addition, there was tofu, meaning that vegetarians are well catered for. There were plenty of fresh vegetables and a huge pile of egg noodles. After making your selection you add sauces and sauces before handing over to the chef.


While it’s not an Irish night out by any stretch of the imagination, the Mongolian BBQ is a fun, flexible and cheap dinner. It is probably better suited to smaller groups – in a large group you could well find yourself doing a bit of waiting.

Early in the evening the restaurant was quiet but it was getting busier as we left, so consider an earlier start. The BBQ does also offer an extremely cheap lunch deal. However, I’d recommend the Mongolian BBQ for a fun meal even if you aren’t short of cash!

Mongolian Barbeque on Urbanspoon

Xinjiang Lamb Recipe


A super quick and easy recipe that I’ve had earmarked for ages. This lamb recipe is perfect for the BBQ – so definitely keep it in mind as the weather warms up.

The recipe comes from the New Zealand Herald, and I had no idea who/where/what Xinjiang is. It transpires that it’s a region in north west China that’s home to many ethnic groups, but the Uyghur make up roughly 45% of the mix. Given how much we enjoyed the food at Tangritah Uyghur back in 2010 (hmmm, really must go back there), it’s no surprise that we both thought this recipe was top notch.

You do need to start this a day ahead, to give the lamb time to marinate. But other than that, this is insanely easy and quick.

Begin with approximately 1kg of lamb shoulder, cut into bite sized cubes. In a bowl, mix 2 tbsp ground cumin, chilli flakes to taste (the recipe calls for 1 tbsp, but perhaps the chilli flakes in NZ aren’t quite as hot as they are here …), 1 tbsp of black pepper (freshly ground is always best), 2 tsp of ground ginger and, if you have it, 1 tsp of ground Sichuan pepper. We couldn’t track this down in a hurry (which means the supermarket didn’t stock it) so left it out and I don’t think we missed it at all. Perhaps with it dinner would have tasted even better!

Add 4 tbsp of peanut oil, 4 tbsp of soy sauce, 4 cloves of garlic, minced, and salt to taste. Toss the lamb through the marinade, ensuring every piece is well covered and then refrigerate overnight.

The recipe is a bit more exacting about what to do and the order in which to do it. I had already cut up the meat and dumped it in a bowl, and Andy just mixed all the marinade ingredients through the meat – so assemble it whatever way suits.

If you’re going for the kebab look, soak bamboo skewers in water for at least an hour and then thread on the lamb and grill. We couldn’t be bothered and were going to just BBQ it until we discovered we were out of gas! So we ended up pan frying the lamb – which worked a treat except you do need an industrial strength extractor fan, otherwise your house will end up smelling like a lamb frying factory.

We served the lamb with spicy fried potatoes and some steamed vegetables. It would work just as well in a wrap with a yoghurt sauce, or served with a couscous salad.

We had a ton of leftovers (although not as much as you might expect!) and it turns out that the meat is almost as delicious, the next day, straight from the fridge!

Lemon Chilli Chicken with Couscous Salad

lemon chilli chicken with couscous salad

Well, the lemon chilli chicken part of this is really pretty straightforward. What is interesting is the couscous salad. At the risk of sounding like a broken record – I’m quite into salads and during summer we eat quite a lot of couscous. But mixing through the same lot of vegetables can get a little uninspiring.

This recipe comes from Gordon Ramsay’s Makes It Easy. It’s actually the first thing I’ve cooked from this book. Some of the recipes seem somewhat uninspired (roast pork sandwich? really?) but this recipe proves that there’s at least one gem.

The lemon and chilli chicken part is facile. The recipe is for chicken wings on the BBQ. I opted for chicken thighs, pan fried (and boy, did that end up with chicken and fat spitting all over the kitchen …). Simply take your favourite cut of chicken and marinate in olive oil, lemon juice and finely sliced chilli for a couple of hours. Cook in your favourite way.

For enough couscous for two, with a little left over, you need to start by roasting a red and a green capsicum and a few cloves of garlic. Heat the oven to 200°C fan and toss the capsicums and unpeeled garlic cloves with a little olive oil. Place the vegetables on baking tray and cook, turning the capsicums every now and then, for about 20 minutes. The skin will start to blister and you want it blistered all over the capsicums so you can peel them easily.

While the capsicums are cooking, measure out 100g of couscous into your serving bowl and add 100mL of boiling water. Stir the water through with a fork and then cover the couscous for about 15 minutes, fluffing up the couscous every now and then.

When the capsicums are done, allow them to cool then peel, remove the seeds and chop coarsely. Add to the couscous. Squeeze the roasted garlic in too: cut the blunt end off the cloves and just squeeze out the centre. Mix through ½ tsp of ground cumin and a good squeeze of lemon juice and a generous glug or two of extra virgin olive oil (use the cheaper light olive oil for the marinade, but don’t skimp here!). Finish with a roughly chopped a tomato (or use cherry tomatoes, for a prettier look) and a big handful of chopped coriander.

Absolutely delicious!