While we’ve definitely noticed a slowdown in pace throughout the summer where new openings are concerned, slimming margins haven’t totally stopped the arrival of new options in the city’s restaurant scene. From Turkish delight to Japanese omakase, longsilog to tostadotas, our latest new arrivals have a little something for everyone...
The former Woke Cup Café space in Smithfield has been catching our eye of late, between an ongoing refitting and a couple of what looked like late night menu tests. It was all in service of new Japanese restaurant Matsukawa, which quietly opened last week to largely positive early word. The €90, 18-dish omakase menu – a non-choice tradition that’s all about trusting the chef, who Matsukawa have termed a “sushi artist” – includes starters, sashimi, a hot dish, soup, and dessert as well as 12 pieces of edomae-style cured or marinated fish sushi. Could this be the Japanese restaurant Dublin has been waiting for? We’ll have the a verdict for you very soon.
Rumi, Francis Street
We’ve been keeping an interested eye on the long-idle 28 Francis Street as it started to get spruced up in recent weeks, and the end result is even more exciting than we’d hoped for. Family-run Turkish café Rumi joins the rapidly-diversifying Liberties streetscape with a breakfast, lunch, and light bite menu from 08:00 - 20:00, seven days a week. Expect a host of Turkish pastries, paninis, salads and Imbibe coffee on offer, as well as a square of the genuine-article Turkish delight free with every purchase. Early word from the immigrant community in Dublin is glowing, not least with the news that gözleme, a stuffed Turkish flatbread beloved by many, will be joining the menu soon.
Brighton Road, Foxrock
After a two year stint as Pala Pizza & Trattoria, the site in Foxrock that played host to Bistro One for over 20 years returns to the hands of ex-chef Alan Wang and his partner Elaine Long, whose new Brighton Road is promising a blend of old favourites and new directions - even if the debut menu’s raviolo and roast beef looks to be playing it a little more safe. Seasonal Irish ingredients and quality suppliers are top priorities here across the evening and Sunday lunch menus – at €39 for three courses, we can see that latter option doing well with old and new customers alike. A wine specials board of €40 bottles is a nice touch.
First Craic, Cabra
A new coffee spot for Cabra in the form of First Craic, which has taken over the café space below the local Lidl and opens Monday through Saturday from 08:00 - 17:00 – an ideal stop-off before the stress of the weekly shop. Their six sandwich options come courtesy of the ever-excellent Greenville Deli, while coffee is supplied by Latitude. It’s a bright and airy industrial chic space bedecked with hanging greens, so likely to be a lively escape as those darker days close in. They’re also very vocally dog-friendly with puppacinos on hand for your furry friends to lap up.
Little Lemon, Duke Lane
A smaller sibling to Lemon & Duke across the way, Little Lemon comes to us from the consortium of retired rugby players behind that bar and The Bridge 1859, keen to fill the “gap in the market” that exists for the Mediterranean dining experience in Dublin – apparently. The all day menu’s mix of small plates including antipasti, chorizo, croquettes and calamari is definitely not something we’ve never seen around before, but why let that stand in the way of a bold pitch. The drinks menu leans heavily on the spritzes while promising a bespoke cocktail offering that delivers “tantalizing elixirs”. Right you are.
Describing its fare as modern European cuisine with an Asian touch, Orani first turned heads with its pandemic-era takeaway sushi bake, a dish it’s carried through to its new bricks-and-mortar space in Blanchardstown. That’s one among many plates that have grabbed our attention, from the breakfast longsilog (the owners are Filipino) and miso hollandaise eggs benedict, through the lunch and dinner offerings including katsu curry and chicken karaage - an early favourite if customer reviews are anything to go by. Cakes and pastries seriously look the part too, with the matcha red bean cheesecake one that’ll draw us out D15 way before long.
El Grito, Rathmines
Returning south of the Liffey after its original Temple Bar location shut up shop a few years back, the ever-popular El Grito has opened a second outlet in Rathmines, taking over the site that was previously home to sandwich shop Hush. The Mexican taqueria has kitted out the space in similarly bold, colourful style to their Mountjoy Square site and are serving up the same street food mix of al pastor tacos, tostadotas, chimichangas and more alongside their unique cocktail menu. It’s a long way they’ve come from that tiny five seater that first put their name on the map back in 2015.
You read that right – Stoneybatter’s beloved Chinese restaurant Hakkahan, operated by the same people as the equally good Nan Chinese, are opening a new venture in UCD. Campus food was never so good in our day, but don’t worry, regular punters will be welcome to pop in too.
Firebyrd, Dun Laoghaire
Good news for lovers of Ranelagh’s Nashville-style fried chicken joint Firebyrd as they announce a second opening down south in Dun Laoghaire. No word yet on when, but it’s tipped to open before the end of the year.
Is Greystones set to become the bakery capital of the country? Following Bread 41 out thataway is Scéal, previously operating on Thursday and Saturday mornings out of the Fumbally Stables. We can only hope the new space gives them the capacity to cope with the queues upon queues their exceptional baking always produces.
Surge, Grand Canal Dock
Going from strength to strength after opening a weekend wine bar in its Clontarf location last summer, specialty coffee shop Surge is expanding to a second site in Grand Canal Dock. Whether their regular stock of Greenville Deli sandwiches and Old Street charcuterie will follow remains to be seen.
Oakberry, Anne Street South
Already pitching itself as the only authentic Brazilian açai in Ireland – we can think of a few places that might take issue with that – Oakberry arrives soon to Anne Street South on a promise of healthy fast food. With north of 600 outlets already open worldwide, plenty of people out there must be buying it.
Cluck Chicken, Tallaght
Moving across the M50 from Walkinstown to The Square Shopping Centre in Tallaght, Cluck Chicken Truck finally has a permanent home, opening this Thursday at 12pm, with their Mother Clucker hun bun just €2.40 from 12:00 - 16:00. Their free-range fried chicken burgers are up there with the best in the city, and owner Ian Ussher has a good track record of keeping price points affordable in Ian's Kitchen.