Mercedes CLK 200 K

Mercedes CLK 200 K

Hello and welcome to another exciting instalment of Motorbanter. Many things have happened since I last updated the blog. The Mercedes E Class is gone. The Mercedes S Class is gone. I have been assured that my Honda Accord Coupé is alive and well, but I actually haven’t seen it in three months. There was a conspicuous absence of brake horse power at my disposal for a while.

And so, the hunt began for a new car. Must have; leather, a diesel engine, four doors, an armrest, and cannot be a horrendous bastard to pay road tax for. A Volkswagen Passat? Nearly. A Volvo V70? Maybe. A Saab 93? Definitely. After many hours of scouring the classified ads and several phone calls – I decided I had found the Saab for me.

Now at this point, I feel I should inform the reader that; I am the guy in the restaurant who agrees that yes ‘the panko crumbed St. Tola goat’s cheese does sound nice and I probably will get that‘. Then I will order the steak. So, let me tell you about the Mercedes CLK I bought.

The CLK 200 Kompressor. Silver, black leather, 2003, 1.8 litre supercharged engine, automatic gear box. It is heavy on petrol, it hasn’t half enough doors and it’s strictly a 4 seater. Also, considering it produces over 160bhp it doesn’t feel very speedy. Sure, it won’t leave you on the wrong side of the road for a perilous amount of time during an overtake, but it doesn’t really throw me back into the seat with as much passion as I’d like. So; it’s not fast, economical, or practical. However, if you think of it as a little grand tourer it is A1.

It excelled on a weekend spin down to Kerry – it is just so competent. The CLK hoovers up the road without any fuss. The cabin is a nice place to sit, with its analog clock, soft touch everything and dual zone climate control. It has a seat belt butler – an extending arm that hands you your seat belt upon closing the door. Noise is minimal. It is super comfortable. It looks well. When compared with other 14-year-old coupés, like the Audi TT or Toyota Celica – it has aged gracefully.

According to owner’s reviews and various online buying guides, these cars suffer from electrical gremlins and rust. My particular example has neither thus far but I’ll keep you posted.

Mercedes CLK 200 Kompessor W209

1796cc petrol engine

163bhp

177ft/lb torque

143mph top speed

rwd

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Motorbanter Does Food

Motorbanter Does Food

And what would you like, Sir?

Well, I would like to road test shiny new cars and then loosely cobble some words together in exchange for some sort of monetary consideration. But alas, I do not have a suitable podium from which to crow about the cavernous luggage area of a Skoda Superb Combi or the immense disappointment that encompassed me on my first drive in the Renault Twingo. I suspect that to acquire such a podium, I will need high readership figures. And seeing as one of the more popular Motorbanter pieces was Convenience Food – this instalment of Motorbanter is in fact, a restaurant review.

In my defence, if you think about that memorable spin when you and one or two others jumped in the car and headed for Roundstone, Enniscrone, Dingle, or where ever your happy place is, that drive is likely to have involved a visit to some restaurant or another. It might have been fish and chips. It might have been three courses. Either way, the best road trips have a nice meal to accompany the scenery and tarmac.

Thursday after Christmas. Galway City. Wandering around turning gift vouchers into clothes. Decided we would get a bite to eat while we are in the city. Tried Caprice. It was busy but after a few minutes we were guided to a table for two. The table was a nice bit of furniture but to win my custom I will also require acknowledgment, a menu, some glimmer of hope that the wheels have been set in motion so as to produce a meal to place on this beautiful table. We gave it ten minutes and left.

There are a few things that I simply despise; public transport, drivers who are looking at their phone instead of the traffic light when it goes green, crocs, and queuing to name a handful. Tried the Cellar. It tends to be reliably good. It was either a queue or we just happened to enter before they started the music for the conga line. Either way, I was getting hangry so it wasn’t for me.

Access to Papa Rich Street Food Kitchen is via a narrow stairway. You emerge into a square room, service counter along one wall, the rest of the walls decorated with bright murals. It was busy but they had a table for us, where we were issued with menus, iced water and informed that they would require the table back for five o’ clock and that it was now 3.40pm. Polite, professional, precise.

According the blurb on their Facebook page: “Papa Rich uses only the freshest ingredients to create Asian street food inspired dishes from ancient family recipes at affordable prices”.

Indeed, they do.

And what would you like, Sir? Spring rolls were crispy and nicely complemented by the homemade chilli sauce. Cantonese style duck with a side of hoi sin sauce and chunky real chips. My main course was Thit Ga Chien Tôm. This was lightly battered chicken, veg, cherry tomatoes and pineapple. The sauce tasted like satay sauce’s more authentic, spicy, peanutty cousin. It was a good combination of flavours.

The menu has plenty on it. There were some tempting soups listed that I would go back again to investigate. Starters are €5. Mains are €10. It is a nice place to sit. They have wine. Service was very good. They do takeaway orders but unlike so many others it is a restaurant first and foremost.

Worth integrating into your next Sunday drive.