The days are finally getting longer and there's a definite air of optimism in Dublin as restrictions start to wind down - but the recent drop in temperature is sharply reminding us that we're still in the depths of winter. Where better to seek respite from the cold and moderately scary, reopened world out there, than with the foods that fill us with comfort and nostalgia at any time of the year, but particularly now...
Ciaran's Coddle, The Gravediggers
Chicken soup might be good for the soul, but Dublin coddle, and in this case, Ciaran’s coddle, is the perfect recipe for warming your bones after a stroll around the historic mecca that is Glasnevin Cemetery. Ciaran Kavanagh, head chef at The Gravediggers, tried and tested iterations of this distinctive Dublin stew before settling on a mix of cocktail sausages, roast ham, bacon ribs and potatoes, served with a side of buttered bread. Add a pint of the black stuff to up the comfort ante.
Seafood Chowder, The Winding Stair
Traditional Irish seafood chowder is another dish we reach for when in need of nourishment - on several levels. Since taking over The Winding Stair in 2006, Elaine Murphy has continued to champion their much-loved chowder made with seafood and Fingal Ferguson’s chorizo, served with a slice of treacle bread.
Pork Sausage Roll, Love Supreme
The Love Supreme sausage rolls have garnered attention from pork and pastry aficionados throughout Dublin, for good reason. Their ingredients are primarily sourced from local, sustainable producers, including free-range pork from Pigs on the Green in Offaly and organic milk from the Village Dairy in Meath. The pork and cabbage sausage roll is elevated with honey and mustard and encased in the flakiest pastry, all freshly baked in their shop in Stoneybatter.
Creole Style Jambalaya, Krewe
Inspired by the “Dirty South” cuisines, Krewe serves various Creole and Cajun dishes with comfort at its core, from their sticky Cajun pork belly to their signature Creole-style jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, chicken, andouille sausage, and red rice smothered in a tomato-based sauce. Pair it with a classic Sazerac cocktail and dive in.
Chicken Ramen, Musashi
Chicken noodle soup is one of those cure-all dishes that acts as a saviour to many of life’s maladies, from a breakup to the common cold. It can't hand you a tissue in times of need (it would if it could), but steamy, spicy broth works its magic on blocked airways while the tender chicken is packed full of protein to give you strength during challenging times. Yes, mum’s chicken soup is the best, but we recommend Musashi’s chicken ramen with pak choi, ajitama egg, shitake mushrooms and bamboo shoots, as a trusty backup.
The Quadrifoglio, Cirillo's
There is something exceptionally comforting about a four cheese pizza, and Cirillo’s rendition is composed of a Naples-style base topped with San Marzano tomato sauce and layers of Gubbeen, Hegarty’s cheddar, blue cheese, mozzarella and a sprinkle of oregano.
Pop Tarts, Bread 41
Eoin Cluskey has fulfilled our childhood dreams with Bread 41's freshly baked pop-tarts. A couple of mouthfuls of their ice-white frosting and multicoloured hundreds and thousands and all we're missing is 'Wannabe' on the Walkman.
Cacio e Pepe, Sprezzatura
Mac and cheese is inarguably one of the best comfort foods on the planet, but lately, its more modest and humble cousin has caused a stir by pairing pasta with two simple ingredients. Sprezzatura is one of our favourite spots for this effortless dish with freshly made spaghetti and plenty of pecorino and pepper.
Sunday Roast, Hen's Teeth
A Sunday roast is the ultimate comfort food, but they've remained strangely absent from menus across Dublin for far too long - good ones anyway. Hen’s Teeth to the rescue with their bi-monthly 'Killer Sunday Roast' with a choice of a meat or vegetarian main, and shared sides like Hasselback potatoes with rosemary and horseradish, sticky spiced heritage carrots and braised red cabbage with a brioche crumb. Check their Instagram for upcoming dates.
Classic Toastie, Loose Canon
A list of comfort foods would be incomplete without mentioning the classic cheese toastie. Loose Canon on Drury Street has created a contemporary spin on the old classic by assembling Hegarty’s cheddar from Co. Cork, 18-month aged Coolea, homemade bechamel, and scallions on two slices of Le Levain sourdough. And if that doesn’t whet your appetite, try the pesto or Broughgammon salami toastie instead.