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A new Filipino-fusion pin in our Dublin 15 food map


11 Jun 2024


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Written by:

Lisa Cope

What should we know about Orani?

Orani opened in a grey Blanchardstown business park in summer of 2023, promising a glimmer of colour with their "modern European cuisine with an Asian touch". The woman behind it is Pauleen Orani, originally from the Phillipines but majorly influenced by her time working in Japan in 2018. She's the Executive Head Chef here, her husband Paul is the Head Chef, and the rest of the Orani family manage everything else - including presumably the restaurant's photography, which they're excelling at.

While they call the food "Modern European" and "Asian Fusion", their family Filipino dishes have been gaining as much social media traction as their ramen, poke bowls and sushi bakes. One of our most asked questions from ATF Insiders is "IS THERE ANYWHERE TO EAT IN DUBLIN 15", so we regularly find ourselves scouring Google Maps for anything new or being reviewed zealously, and Orani has been getting a lot of love.

Where should we sit?

It's a big, bright room with plenty of seating options and tables that can easily be reconfigured for any size group. There's outside seating too, which looks onto a road in the industrial estate - you can't have it all.

There's also some nice counter seating if you're on your own and don't want to take up a whole table, or would like to gaze out at many window-ed buildings while you eat.

What's on the menu?

Predominantly Asian dishes, like karaage, poke and ramen, with some Filipino flourishes - pork adobo and kare-kare were two of the specials when we visited (more on those shortly).

The saddest thing about the menu is the (clearly obligatory) soup and toastie combo, catering for local office workers who sat across from us, unable to cope with stepping out of their lunchtime comfort zone. They'll never know what they're missing.

"Signature chicken wings" come in two flavours - the salted egg and chilli we went for, or soy, garlic, ginger and chilli. The seasoned, salted egg powder is imported from the Philippines, and gives a crunchy coating to the chicken, like fine polenta. They could have done with a bit more draining before being served, but the fresh chilli and spring onions give it a zingy, spicy freshness. It's oddly only €1 extra to upgrade from a small (around eight wings) to a large (around 12 wings), so it's worth paying it, even if you bring some home.

A chicken karaage bowl (€13.50) comes with seasoned, crisp, deep-fried chicken thigh pieces on perfectly cooked sushi rice, with shredded white cabbage, and a tangy lemon miso mayo, with a sprinkling of chilli powder and chives. It's a very satisfying, flavour-forward combo. The chicken here is sadly not free-range, but it is Irish, halal and sourced from local butchers (as is their beef and pork).

While Asian-fusion is the schtick, we really wanted to try their family Filipino dishes (a gaping hole in the culinary market despite Bahay fighting the good fight). Pork adobo has braised pork belly cooked in soy, vinegar and garlic for a deep, umami flavour, once again served over perfectly fluffy rice, with freshness coming from chillis, spring onions and pickled onions, and a fried egg and crispy onions on top. It's a very flavoursome, very satisfying dish, and our only disclaimer is that the pork is very fatty (at times it felt like more fat than meat). If that's something that bothers you, you may want to choose an alternative.

Kare-kare is a Filipino stew with a thick peanut sauce, and it's often on as a special here. It's beautifully presented, like something you might get served in a beachside restaurant in Palawan, with cherry blossoms in your hair and a mestiza in your hand. The pork is thinly sliced, surrounded by very crunchy crackling (you wouldn't want a loose tooth), with rice, just cooked vegetables and Atchara (Filipino pickles) on top bringing the vinegar. We found the sauce a little under-seasoned, but otherwise thought it a well balanced, enjoyable dish.

Another Filipino special they're getting a name for is the Halo Halo (which translates as mix mix in Tagalog) - a kaleidoscope of colours, shapes and textures (€7.95). The unusual dessert is made of up various beans, vegetables, fruits, jellies and ice-cream, with shaved ice at its centre.

In Orani you'll find sweet potato cubes, sweetcorn, black-eyed beans, cornflakes, cubes of fruit flavoured jelly, ube ice-cream, evaporated milk, shaved ice, and a solo meringue on top. As desserts go, there's a lot of nutrition in this madcap flavour mix, but it's way too much for one person - a taste of each individual component and you'll most likely be happy to drop your spoon.

If that all sounds a bit much, the Ube cheesecake might be more to your simple tastes - soft, sweet and creamy, tasting of vanilla, and not at all like purple potatoes (even though they are in there). There's an ube brownie too.

What about drinks?

Smoothies, hot drinks, and softs from the fridge are your options here. A "mango momma" (€5.95) with oat milk, banana, mango, ginger and turmeric tasted a bit anaemic, and could have done with double the mango. It also disappointingly came in a plastic cup, with the server telling us that all of their sit-in glasses had been broken.

Coffee is from Dublin roasters J.J. Darboven, but the cheap IKEA mugs make it a challenge to drink without burning your hand. The small cup handle is impossible to grip without hitting off the thin, heat-conducting cup, ensuring a finger scalding in the process.

How was the service?

Very pleasant and friendly, but they seemed a bit stretched at times, with requests not dealt with as quickly as they could have been. You order and pay at the counter, so you'll have to get up for anything you need.

What was the damage?

We paid just over €80 for four mains, two desserts, a coffee and a smoothie. Budget €20 a head for lunch and a drink, or €35 a head for a three course feast.

And the verdict?

In a desert of food options, Orani is illuminating a monotone business park in Blanchardstown from breakfast through to early evening. Lucky those who work or live nearby, and the rest of us have a new Filipino/Asian Fusion pin in our Dublin 15 food map.

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