When I am writing these blog entries, especially given the length of time since the events to which they refer, I rely heavily upon my images which I store on a daily basis and then piece the day together from the various writings a have scattered about all over the wasteland that calls itself my computer “filing system”. On Saturday, 16th February my supply of images runs to precisely one so I have given it pride of place here. It is homemade pie and chips and I can tell you it was gorgeous as I ate it many times and it always was. What this indicates to me was that I spent the entire day in Dick’s Bar in San Giljan (St. Julians) which was not an uncommon experience in the month I was on the island.
This is where my WMD comes in, in this case Weapon of Mass Deception although I may be doing myself a slight disservice there. Usually I write about places when I first encounter them as it is the only way I can keep on top of it and not omit anything but in this series I have been holding a few things back for just such a “slow news day” as this so I shall tell you about Dick’s Bar albeit I had visited several times before. The text, as always is an edited version of my original Virtual Tourist tip and the images are from various days.
” I found eating out in Malta to be a not inexpensive pastime and prices are certainly comparable with UK which is regarded as being expensive. I know Malta, some years ago, was regarded as a good value holiday destination but their accession into the Federal States of E and adoption of the € has seen to that as it has in so many places. With this in mind, Dick’s offers a good selection of local and British dishes but in truth, much of the Maltese cuisine is British orientated because of the long period when the British administered the islands. Does roast chicken and chips count as local or British? I have no idea.
I ate there many times and have always been very pleased with the food and the service. There is the usual tourist fare like burgers, sausage, egg and chips, “full English breakfast” etc. but there are also local dishes like roz al forno (a baked rice dish), timpana (a baked pasta dish) and various filled local rolls (ftira) which are similar to foccacia bread. These you can have as they are or toasted and tuna capers and olives is a favourite local combination.
First, a note about the image attached here. You will see a monstrous sign boasting about the best pizza in the world (it isn’t even the best pizza in St. Julian apparently) but this refers to Margo’s then newly opened restaurant on the upper floors. Dick’s Bar is the downstairs portion of the building, run by Richard (junior) and Marco, the sons of the original and eponymous owner Richard (Dick) senior.
The decor is just that of a typical Maltese bar / restaurant and is usually full of a good mix of locals and travellers / expats. The atmosphere can get a bit lively, especially when the football is on, which seems to be most nights. Probably not the place to to take your loved one for a romantic meal. The food, however, is excellent with many of the dishes being home-made by Richard on the premises. His speciality, of which he is justifiably proud, are his savoury pies (steak and onion, steak and kidney and chicken and mushroom) which really are amongst the best I have tasted. The steak and kidney is particularly good. He also makes a deep dish apple pie which is pretty special as well even though I am not usually one for desserts.
Sometimes, there will be something sitting in the chiller which is not on the menu. For example, one night I feasted on beautifully slow-cooked Maltese beef which was literally falling to pieces and absolutely so tasty. The guys here do not stick slavishly to the menu, you just basically ask for anything you fancy and they’ll knock it up for you. Actually, half times you would not even need to order food as the generous free bar snacks they provide like chips (fries), toasted Maltese anchovy and olive oil bread, Maltese sausage etc. would nearly fill you up, especially if you have a bird-like appetite like mine.
There is a good selection of both local and imported drinks and bottles of local wine from €6 (2013 price). If you don’t want alcohol, the coffee is excellent.
Dick’s is certainly it is not haute cuisine, nor is it meant to be but I do recommend you try at least one meal here, you won’t be disappointed.
Favourite Dish: A difficult choice as the beef was so good but I think I would have to plump for the homemade steak and kidney pie with chips. Proper pub grub.”
That was the review I wrote at the time and quite early in my stay but I certainly did not change my opinion later on, I really did like this place. If your wondering about the “Favourite Dish” sentence at the end of the piece this was a section in the old VT tips and I did not miss it in the edit but decided to leave it in as a piece of nostalgia.
I did manage one more thing before the day was done and that was to capture a night image of San Giljan harbour. The fact that I said I only had one image for the day earlier is that this was well after midnight and I only discovered it whilst researching the next day’s activities!. Although my files indicate that this took a few attempts I am quite pleased with the result as it was taken with a cheap compact camera (a Canon Ixus which I love) hand-held and I had been drinking beer all day so no shaky hands there then!
There you are then, WMD successfully deployed and hopefully nobody got hurt!
In the next instalment I go for a more in depth exploration of Sliema so stay tuned and spread the word.