Dublin map.jpg

All the Food, Guides, Features & News

This Week's Critic Reviews

Restaurant reviews can be like waiting for a bus. We wait and wait and then two come at once, which is what's happened this week with new taco spot Masa on Drury Street (you can read our Masa once over here). Katy McGuinness left happy, giving the food 8/10, while Catherine Cleary thought they could do better, giving it 6/10. Interesting to note that Cleary was recently on holidays in Mexico, while McGuinness admits to not knowing enough about Mexican food to vouch for its authenticity. No doubt being up close and personal with the definite article in its natural habitat will raise expectations.

We were also amused by the fact that both critics attended a taco making workshop at Picado, after which they invested in a tortilla press and a bag of masa harina (the flour made from nixtamalized corn that's used to make tacos). Cleary's been putting hers to use, McGuinness' is still loitering in the pantry.

Cleary's favourite was the fish taco with pickled red cabbage and chipotle mayonnaise (above), and the chicken "also rocks our boat", but she vows to not eat it again unless the words "free range" appear on the menu - she's generally unimpressed at the lack of provenance. The beef and mushroom tacos were less successful, but the biggest disappointment was the taco al pastor. After a detailed, hunger-inducing explanation of what al pastor should consist of (pork lovingly spit-roasted with pineapple), she says that "Masa’s chewy cubes of pork in their al pastor have some ways to go..."

She ends by saying, "If Masa perfects its craft as well as its concept it’ll be a great new spot for a noisy, messy, nearly Mexican experience," which is the same conclusion we came to. Read her review here.

In the Irish Independent, Katy McGuinness is much more positive, calling the tacos "excellent", the elotes "delicious" and the quesadillas "thin and tasty". She gives some background on Masa, which is from the same guys behind Bunsen, and the impressive pedigree of "culinary lead" Shane (Wahaca and Breddos in London, as well as extensive travel in Mexico).

Her only disappointment was the Mexican bravas, which should have been hotter and more crisp, and the fact that the only dessert on the menu (churros with goat's milk caramel) wasn't available. They told her something had gone wrong with the batter that day, whereas Cleary was told it wasn't available yet as they were still working on the savoury items - we were told the latter on two different occasions. This wasn't a bad start for for Masa, especially as they're still working on things, and Katy gives them 10/10 for value. Review not currently online but when it is it will be here.

Over in Dundrum we could hear the sound of Bolly popping after Lucinda O'Sullivan in the Sunday Independent visited newly opened Cooke's above Harvey Nichols, and calls it "ab fab". She seems enamoured from the getgo, calling Johnnie Cooke's previous city centre restaurant 'Cooke's Café' which he ran in the 90's and noughties, "the coolest place in town", and praising his "great, casual, sophisticated food with a Mediterranean bent".