Dakoi Oriental Café: Hand-pulled noodles above the Italian Quarter
Lisa Cope -24th May 2018
What’s the story?
Dakoi Oriental Café quietly popped up on Millennium walkway two months ago, in Dublin’s somewhat under-utilised Italian Quarter. They specialise in Chinese hand-pulled noodles (which are exactly what they sound like), which the chef makes behind a glass window looking onto the street. They also serve Filipino and Korean dishes and sushi, and while the amalgamation of so many cuisines would usually be a turn off, the lure of hand-pulled as opposed to machine made noodles was too hard to resist.
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Where’s good for a drink beforehand?
For wine, Enoteca della Langhe and Wallace’s Taverna (both owned by TD Mick Wallace but thankfully not run by him) are just up the walkway towards the liffey. Their wine lists are solely Italian and great value thanks to the fact that they import all of their wines directly without going through a wholesaler. This is the place to go when you want to splash out on a bottle of Barolo.
Asian restaurant Koh, next door to Dakoi, has an award-winning cocktail bar, and for a pint we’d recommend TP Smiths around the corner. We'd probably eat first as you'll be done quite quickly, then get on the booze after.
What’s the room like?
You order and pay downstairs, then go up a floor to the seating area where they bring your food once it’s ready. The floor to ceiling glass walls provide great views of the streets below, and it feels like being in a very mini skyscraper in some cool Asian city. Until you see the sign for the Jervis Centre.
What's good to eat?
The hand-pulled noodles obviously, which come in a broth infused with 15 Chinese herbs, beef, spring onions, coriander and what looked like radish. The noodles are the wonderfully chewy kind that no machine can master, the thinly sliced beef was meltingly soft and the broth had layers of flavour.
We also tried the Filipino Bulabo beef stew on the recommendation of the owner, which again came in a really flavoursome broth, with bone marrow (and chunks of bone), sweetcorn, pak choi, raw onion and spring onion, with a side of rice and fresh chillis. Both dishes came in small and large but we thought the small was more than sufficient.
Sides of fried pork gyoza and edamame were also good, and the gyoza comes with a side of pickled carrot and cabbage - like a Chinese version of coleslaw. Go easy with the chilli oil on the table, unless you enjoy losing your taste buds every now and then.
What about the drinks?
Better than the average casual Asian eatery. Three white wines, three red and two proseccos, all commercial but drinkable, and five different Chinese beers – Asahi, Chang, Tsingtao, Tiger and Cobra. They also do tea and coffee.
And the service?
Owner Fang was manning the till when we were there, helping people navigate the menu and making recommendations. Our food and drinks came quickly and all were delivered by smiley staff.
Undiluted Asian food (like the type they eat in Asia) is notoriously hard to find in Dublin, and while we’d prefer a place to focus on one thing and do it brilliantly, having somewhere that does genuine hand-pulled noodles really well is a great addition to the city. We’ve got our eye on the oil spilled noodles for next time, and they told us they’re hoping to start trialling an Asian breakfast soon, with dishes like Thai omelette, wonton soup and steamed buns. We'd take that over a full Irish any day.