While it seemed like most of the restaurant industry was paralysed for weeks, it's fair to say they've now come out fighting, and every day somewhere else reopens for takeaway, 'at home' dining or part-prep meal kits. We're counting the days until June when we can actually set foot inside one again, but until then their weekly innovations are keeping us going. Here's 11 new food experiences to add to your to-do list.
In long-awaited news, Volpe Nera announced this week that they too are joining the takeaway game, and the opening menu looks lush with a capital L (if you don't live within collection distance avert your eyes now). It's a set menu at €52 for two to share (which is pretty exceptional value in comparison to most other restaurants doing takeaway food at the same level), and the first week includes guinness and treacle bread with cep butter, pancetta coppata, mushroom dumplings, black olive fettucine with lamb ragu, basil pannacotta with smoked strawberry consommé, and shepherd's store cheese to finish. Just take all of our money. They sold out for this weekend in minutes but more go on sale next Wednesday. Order for collection via their site.
Sona Box From Sprezzatura
Sprezzatura was quickly becoming a go-to for us before 'The Event' happened, and we thought we’d have to live without their freshly-made and hugely affordable food for a long time. Luckily we can now get a weekly cacio e pepe injection, along with four other meals, for the ridiculously great price of €30 per person. Won’t lie, we were slightly sceptical (realistically, how good can a steak with chips and pepper sauce be for €6?) but have been very pleasantly surprised. The box is described as “part-prepped” and depending on what dishes you choose, can involve nothing more than opening a prepared sauce and adding to cooked pasta (the cacio e pepe), while chopping celery, onion, carrot, and simmering with passata was needed for the sausage ragu. We also had the spicy chicken ramen (which has a serious chili kick), and the frying-pan pizza. All were lovely, and just the right mix between cooking and take-out to make us feel semi-virtuous. Check them out here. (HC)
Mamó's Picnic Hamper
Now that we can see a whole three other people outdoors, what better time to go for a socially-distant picnic? In answer to our prayers Mamó have just launched one, and they gave us a preview last week before they went on sale. It was undoubtedly the food highlight of the week (and one of the highlights of lockdown so far) and had everything we could have possibly wanted to eat while sitting along the Howth cliff walk trying to hide our lunch from seagulls. From the gordal olives and smoked almonds to the culatella and coppa, the shepherd's store cheese and green bean salad to the duck leg pitivier, and perfect Irish strawberries with a white chocolate and tonka bean mousse for dessert, they've nailed everything. You can order each weekend for collection or delivery within North Dublin the following weekend, and it's a bargainous €22 a head - litre swing top bottles of rosé are an extra €27. The next ones go on sale at 11am this Saturday and you can check them out here. (LC)
One benefit of lockdown is, with a little careful planning, you can always be within 10m of a really great burger. Not ones to take a pandemic lying down, Featherblade have returned with the burger of all burgers - the bacon double cheese with Applewood smoked house bacon, aged cheddar, pickled red onions, black garlic mayo and dijon mayo. It's €39.99 and you get the ingredients for six burgers. We were sent a kit to try and can confirm that they’re very, very tasty. While we really liked the overall burger and all the component parts, the real MVP here is that bacon which can only be described as “chonky”. Get it delivered via www.stuffuneed.ie. (HC)
The French restaurant on Fade St. launched their home delivery box recently and sent us one to try. 90% of the work is done so you’ll just have to reheat or assemble. We tried the chicken liver parfait and french onion soup (with the cheesiest crostini we’ve ever seen), and mains of gnocchi with sun dried tomato, artichoke, mozzarella and basil, and short rib bourguignon with wholegrain mustard mash, carrot puree, and baby veg. All were really good and almost eclipsed by the tangy, fluffy, strawberry cheesecake of our dreams. There are a few cheffy tricks here that do really make it feel like you’re not eating at home; the carrot puree and mash for the short rib were freshly made then arrived in boil-in-the-bag type pack to heat and pipe onto your plate, but we found it difficult to hold because it was so hot. We settled for just dolloping it on in a less than artistic manner, which we considered pretty good going after two glasses of wine. The box feeds two but portions are very generous and would definitely stretch to a couple of younger children. The dinner box for two is priced at €60 and available to pre-order and collect, or for delivery (€5 charge).There are also brunch and steak options. Order via their website. (HC)
Longtime ATF favourite Ananda have started a dine at home menu featuring popular dishes like their Old Delhi chaat platter, Goan seafood curry and gulab jamun (warm, caramelised milk dumplings). There's also a tasting menu for €65 for two which will change each week. See the full menu here.
If you've got something to celebrate, you'll be delighted to hear that upmarket Dax is now available to have at home. It's one of the pricier options in the city right now at €43 per person for three courses, but yellowfin tuna, smoked Challans duck and Dublin Bay prawn ravioli don't come cheap. See the menu here.
Vegan burger slingers V-face are finally opening their first permanent site in Stoneybatter, almost two years after bring their "Hot Chick" and "Classic John" burgers to the capital. Rarely has a dedicated vegan opening gained so many non-vegan fans, so we expect a lot of people to be hyped for this one. They start this Friday 22nd May, and will be open Fridays and Saturdays to start from 17:00 - 21:00. You can order for collection via their Whatsapp on 0838011001, or for delivery via Just Eat and Deliveroo, and their new address is 30 North Brunswick Street, Stoneybatter. Menu available soon via their social channels.
In exciting BBQ related news, Andy Noonan (founder of The Big Grill and Fowl Play) has launched 'Baste BBQ To Go' boxes, for collection from a yard on Clanbrassil Street. They've parked up their food truck and smokers and will do all the hard work for you - you just show up and take a fully cooked BBQ home. Good deal. The meat provenance is predictably impeccable, including Shorthorn beef from Peter Hannan, Tamworth pork belly from Higgins Butchers, and free range pork shoulder from FX Buckley, and they're also selling BBQ products like charcoal, smoking wood, sauces, rubs and pre-smoked chilled meats. The boxes work out at around €20-€22.50 a head, including meats, sides and sauces, and look like they'll be worth every penny. Check out the options here.
Breakfast And 'Afternoon Sea' From The Cliff Townhouse
Two new options from The Cliff Townhouse this week, the first of which is a breakfast meal kit for €30, including juice, fresh fruit salad, eggs Benedict, Royale, or Florentine (for you to finish at home) and other goodies like granola or breakfast buns. Also on the menu is their 'Afternoon Sea' (€27.50 a head), their seafood spin on Afternoon Tea, featuring a brown shrimp cocktail, lobster bisque with brandy cream, green asparagus with an egg vinaigrette, scallops with yoghurt, mint and lime, potted crab, Kelly’s oysters and a selection of breads including a sea vegetable brioche, brown bread and farmhouse butter. Both options are available to pre-order for collection or delivery within 10km. See more info here.
Port House At Home From The Port House
If, like us, you miss the atmosphere of a busy restaurant at the weekend (or literally any night of the week), the 'At Home' kit from The Port House includes a few extras that will help you recreate the buzz in your own dining room/home office/home-school classroom/gym. For €60 you get nibbles, plenty of tapas, dessert, and a bottle of wine for two people, but they’ve cleverly added a few extras such as candles, a playlist which includes restaurant noises, and a background photo of the restaurant to load onto your TV so you can get full sensory immersion. One caveat though: If you’re planning on getting one for a friend, a voucher purchased for The Port House isn’t allowed to be used for the tapas kit, as one of the ATF team discovered this week to their surprise and disappointment. Order and delivery details are on www.porthouseathome.com.