top of page


Forget the pints, get into Juno for brilliant bar food


13 Jun 2023


Neighborhood Name


Restaurant Address


Website Name

Restaurant Info

View the Listing >>

Written by:

Lisa Cope

What's the story with Juno?

Juno is from the same people behind Happy's Bar & Street Food (formerly Happy Endings) on Aston Quay, and Brian McCarthy from Bedlam Events, who also owns The Fourth Corner in Dublin 8.

While takeaway, casino and bookie-filled Dorset Street may not seem like the most obvious place to open a very of the moment bar and restaurant, the area has been the subject of urban renewal talks for years now, with a large flat complex due to be demolished to build new homes and community spaces and lots more regeneration plans - even if it's all moving a bit slowly - so getting in on the ground early could be a very smart move, and a sign of more good things to come.

Juno pitch themselves as a bar, restaurant and event space, but it's not often you see a bar menu this interesting - battered sausages, pepper sauce smash burgers, and cheese and onion chips all had our interest piqued - and the word on the street (i.e. from ATF readers who are great for the intel) was that the food was exceptionally tasty. It sounded like it needed a visit.

Where should we sit?

It wasn't clear from their website or social feeds but they have some quality outdoor seating here, with early evening prime time for sun-downers and dinner bathed in a warm (possibly sweaty) glow - we'll take all and any rays whenever we can get them.

There's plenty of seating inside too over a couple of rooms, with loads of space for whatever size group you're going with. Decor is a mix of "old man pub" with a new paint job and some eye-popping art. It's clear it was a fit out on a budget but we think they've done a decent job of updating the space.

What did you eat?

This is not your average pub menu, and like sister restaurant Happy's it's a mash up of "global flavours", with a nice injection of Irishness (see their crispy fried Gubbeen and bacon & cabbage arancini). The sourcing is also above and beyond for a bar, with fresh fish from Sustainable Seafood Ireland, free-range chicken from Rings Farm in Kilkenny, and breads from Oakesmoke Bakery.

We've had multiple messages from readers about their black pudding and thyme battered sausage, and this is some dirty delicious bar food. Where your local chipper's is greasy this is crisp, while theirs is a sad rubbery length of meat this is soft and fragrant, pork speckled with black pudding rather than it taking over. The black garlic mayo and crispy onions take it up another couple of levels on the flavour scale, and we can see what all the fuss is about. It's obviously heavy though so one of these followed by a main and your digestive system probably won't thank you. This, some (excellent) chips and a pint? Stick a fork in us, we're done.

Crispy fried Gubbeen is an upgrade on the 'fancy starter' deep-fried brie of yesteryear (it's actually still everywhere), and comes drizzled with hot honey and sesame seeds. We'd take this over the original any day, but the cheese needed a bit longer in the frier as it was still semi-solid inside.

We love a good Irishing up of a non-Irish dish (as a country we don't exactly have a repertoire of recipes that went global) so loved the idea of the bacon and cabbage arancini, and loved it on the plate too. It's more ham than bacon, and spring greens than cabbage, but it all works, and the Cashel Blue fondue it's served with deserves icon status. They do a really nice job in here of lifting fatty/carby food with high acid sauces and spice, and they're big on pickled onions, designed to pull your palate back from the cliff face. It's a balancing act and they're skilled at the fatty food tightrope.

The mains are more in line with standard pub grub - burgers; nachos; fish and chips; sausages and mash - except nothing is standard in here. The Hot Fish Sandwich came with a giant slab of spankingly fresh hake, jalapeño tartare, pink pickles, American cheese and iceberg lettuce on a sourdough bun. When the fish is this pristine and juicy, with a shatteringly light batter, it almost makes a burger feel like a health food - almost. There was debate in parts over whether it had enough flavour, but we think that was more to do with some slightly uneven spreading of the tartare. It's a great fish burger.

We tend to stay away from chicken when eating out in casual places as the provenance is almost always pants, but the sourcing from Rings Farm (as well as the fact we don't think we've ever seen the Italian/US dish on a menu here) made us order the Vodka Chicken Parm, with smoked provolone, basil mayo, Parmesan and lettuce on a sourdough bun. It's a hell of a hybrid, with a perfectly pankoed, flattened chicken patty, the perfect amount of rich vodka sauce bursting with sun-ripened tomatoes, bit of cheese, bit of herbs, bit of greens, lot of delicious.

The chips at Juno need a moment. On the menu as "twice-cooked rustic fries", they're clearly hand cut, clearly par-boiled, and are a chunky, crispy, fluffy sensation, drained properly and tossed in what looked like paprika.

The "cheese and onion chips" come with pickled onions, crispy onions, and that Cashel Blue crema again, and while we can't say they tasted like Tayto, they didn't last long. The crema was pretty scarce though - we could have asked for more but dipped them in the leftovers from the arancini.

We also tried the "smokey pep chip" with three peppercorn sauce, smoked provolone and those two types of onions again. We couldn't taste any provolone (and in retrospect don't think there was any on there), but the peppercorn sauce was clearly not from a packet, and had some serious heat alongside its pungency/sweetness/fruitiness. More than once we had to reach for the water to cool down, before sticking the fork back in. They also do this sauce on their beef burger - the "peppercorn smash".

For added veggies we tried the fennel and mint slaw which was mistakenly brought with the small plates, and by the time we got to it was limp and watery.

Dessert is a one choice affair, an "affogat-oh Jeaysus", billed as brown bread and Baileys ice-cream, brown bread crumble and an Irish coffee pourover (virgin version available). It's a very basic offering from a kitchen where dessert is clearly not high on the agenda, and came missing the brown bread crumble - the server tried to tell us it was in the ice-cream, hmmm... It was all fine, if a liquidy mess by the end.

What about drinks?

Cocktails and beers are where it's at here, with craft breweries like Kinnegar and White Hag alongside the more commercial operators.

The cocktail list is a good one, and there were no complaints about a blood orange and rosemary margarita, or a not-too-sweet strawberry lemonade as an N/A option. Wines are basic, but will satisy your average bar crowd.

How was the service?

Ropey to start with, but got better with the arrival of more staff. We'd gone back to the bar after ordering to ask that the small plates come out first, with the big plates and sides afterwards, after having a panic that everyone would come at once and we'd end up eating half of it cold - is there anything more irritating?

Despite this being noted and sent to the kitchen, the side of fennel slaw arrived in the middle of the small plates. We told the server about the error, she looked confused, then said okay and took it away, before returning with both portions of chips. We nearly had to lie down. After a detailed conversation about wanting the chips to arrive with the burgers, and not before them, they were taken away, but there wasn't anything resembling an apology and it was a tension point that shouldn't have happened.

As two dedicated floor servers arrived in addition to the staff behind the bar things improved a lot, with suddenly people there to take plates, ask questions to and check if we needed anything else.

And the damage?

Around €105 for three smalls, two bigs, three sides, one dessert and three drinks - easily enough to feed three. We thought the quality to price ratio was excellent.

What's the verdict?

Juno might be pitching themselves as a bar but to come here for drinks and overlook the food would be a big mistake. There's very little in this neck of the woods just outside town, and very little in this fast food genre that would make us want to go back and eat it all again. If more bars did food like this we might spend less time in restaurants.


58 Dorset Street Lower, Dublin 1

New Openings & Discoveries

bottom of page