G&T oysters and cocktails - a true taste of the capital

Shucking and slurping a dozen G&T oysters has to be one of the classiest and messiest ways to get drunk.

"It's good stuff," a lady clutching a fistful of Florins said excitedly. "Gunpowder gin and Fevertree tonic."

Not surprisingly, a queue was already forming at the King Sitric oyster bar as owner Declan McManus prised the molluscs apart.

Celebrity chefs and hungry punters poured through the gates of Iveagh Gardens yesterday for the first day of food festival Taste of Dublin.

Charcoal wafer cones, sour sorrel ice cream and BBQ'd cabbage leaves were some of more unusual dishes on the menu.

And all the trendiest stalls came complete with a retro Airstream. "Isn't it beautiful," Jess Pointer of beach-themed restaurant Urchin cooed looking at the silver trailer.

"Be sure to try one of our signature cocktails," she added. "The 'Beaches be Crazy' is delicious".

Super suave multi Michelin-starred French chef Jean-Christophe Novelli darted about talking about the importance of shopping local.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin was enjoying a "break from the Leinster House bubble".

He stopped to enjoy a some green tea at the Barry's Tea tent before picking up a loaf of multi-seed rye bread from the Natural Bakery.

Irish chef Kevin Dundon spoke about current food fads; comparing the increased use of turmeric on restaurant menus to the meteoric rise of the dreaded fidget spinner.

"Turmeric is the fidget spinner of the food world," he said. "It is everywhere at the moment."

Kevin is currently getting ready to shoot a new TV series for RTÉ and US cable station PBS called 'Kevin's Food Heroes'.

"I find all the mad people making food in their back garden and talk to them," he said.

Eating on the go is key at Taste and some returning stalls had learned from the mistakes of previous years.

The Green Hen restaurant, for example, was serving tuna carpaccio in small savoury cones. "People don't want to be holding a plate and fork," manager Eamon McDermott said. "We've learnt that now. It's got to be easy to eat - people want something you can eat in one bite."

Due to popular demand, the Spice Bag cocktail has returned - but for those who want a less adventurous tipple the Roe & Co bar serve up booze that doesn't taste like a bag of chips.

Now in its 12th year, the theme this year is 'Flavours of the World'.

Over the course of the festival, 32,000 people will visit the gardens and over 170,000 pieces of disposable cutlery will be used.

Taste runs until this Sunday.

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