'Durty' fried chicken, upmarket sandwiches, and a bigger space for a popular dim sum spot. Here’s what’s new in Dublin, and what's coming soon...
Free-range fried chicken from the folks who gave us Sprezzatura? We’re sold. Rathmines’ latest addition Spatched blew through its soft-launch stock in just an hour on Saturday, and given so many 'durty' (their word) items on the menu we’re sure no shortage of sore-headed souls were set right.
Expect lots of oozing and excess here with slow-cooked chicken slathered in heavy sauce, offering add-ons like eggs, cheese fondue, and - this is just getting a bit much - a French toast bun. Oh, and there’s also been talk of carbonara fries, which we can see playing better in Rathmines than Rome. A weekend brunch menu adds pancakes, waffles, and hash browns to the mix, and our money says this will be popular.
Food @ Frank's, Dublin 2
Full food service has finally returned to Frank’s communal table and it’s David Bradshaw at the helm, fresh from stints at Clanbrassil House and Potager, after three years in Michelin-starred Lyle’s in London. Bradshaw’s personal flourishes can be clearly seen from the menu, his fondness for foraging in the seasonal Hegarty’s cheddar crumpet with cabbage and wild garlic, while buttermilk ricotta ice-cream with rhubarb granita looks like an evolution of his past desserts.
What stands out just as much on the opening menu is the value: aside from three larger plates of pasta, charcuterie and cheese (€12), there are croquettes and crudités for €8-9, with the crumpet and an elderflower crème brûlée coming in at a reasonable €4.50. It all looks like ideal accompaniments to a good glass of wine. Food is served from 16:00 Wednesday to Saturday, and it’s walk-in only.
Lucky Tortoise, Temple Bar
We’re reliably informed it’s only hermit crabs that trade in their shells for bigger models, but here’s a tortoise doing much the same. The popular if pokey Aungier Street spot Lucky Tortoise has clearly been bringing in enough business to justify a second space, and we’re sure the Temple Bar tourist traffic will lap up the communal dim sum-style sharing experience.
It’s a much bigger, brighter, airier interior here, all green glass and grey walls, and though there’s some slight (intriguing) variations on the all-in menus, it’s pretty much business as usual with the €28 per-person feast of miso, tofu, dumplings and pancakes available in meat, veggie, or vegan options. You’ll still have to head elsewhere for dessert though.
Three Storey, St. Stephen's Green
Slowly scaling up to tell its three stories (geddit?) since its early-March soft launch, Three Storey has been serving small plates in its café and cocktail bar for a few weeks, but now rounds out the trifecta with the opening of its basement-level restaurant. Leading the kitchen is Richard Borne, formerly of McGettigan's and Chapter One, whose opening menu is classical to the point of seeming safe - though we wouldn’t bet against it being the kind of place that shows how cutting-edge classical cooking can be. The 45-seater will be serving up an 'Irish-themed menu' that runs the gamut from cured trout and spiced pork terrine to sirloin steak and comté custard ravioli.
Double Happy, Rathfarnham
There was some disappointment when Stoneybatter’s Hakkahan opened without takeaway options, but the balance has been flipped for the team's new Rathfarnham opening Double Happy, whose countertop along the window looks less an invitation to dine in than a concession to 'while-you-wait' leaners. Pitching itself as “not an ordinary Irish style Chinese takeaway”, the new opening shares Hakkahan’s quality provenance ethos as much as its branding, with McLoughlin’s craft butchers and Niall Sabongi’s Sustainable Seafood Ireland touted as suppliers.
Double Happy has been decidedly hush on its offering to date, with no sign of a menu online or in the window, but what few sights we’ve seen are pretty teasing, from whole steamed sea bass to Yu Xiang aubergine with minced pork, and what could be a signature - duck fat chips with crispy chicken skin salt.
Carved, Grand Canal Dock
We can think of a few great cafés that might take exception to Carved’s “sandwiches by chefs” concept, slathered all over the place as though it were a novelty in itself, but there’s no doubting the limited selection here has been through the test kitchen ringer. It’s bad news for vegetarians with only a Caprese sandwich and the sides to choose from, but carnivores can fill up on feather blade beef, buffalo chicken, or the Instagram-assured crispy crackling porchetta. The chic white brick and copper pendant décor and an exterior plaza that wouldn’t look out of place on Dawson Street add to the high-end aims here - they've clearly got their eyes on the Silicon Docks clientele.
La Gordita, Montague Street
Las Tapas de Lola on Camden Street dropped the pretty huge news yesterday that they're opening a bodega-style little sister La Gordita, on Montague Street around the corner. We've got everything crossed for an epic sherry list, gildas by the bowlful, and plenty of barrels to stand around.
Cluck Chicken, Tallaght
Pun-obsessed food truck Cluck Chicken, long parked near the Walkinstown roundabout, has found a permanent home in Tallaght, and they’re only clucking delighted about it. It might be a battle between here and Spatched to see who's serving the most decadent chicken in town, between the truffle mac and cheese topping and the current spice bag burger special collaboration with Mark Moriarty. We're now taking bets on what the bricks-and-mortar equivalent of their “cluckin’ and truckin’” mantra is going to be.
Shouk's New Bakery
You hear it here first. Our favourite Middle Eastern restaurant is opening a Middle Eastern shop and bakery in Drumcondra this summer. We can barely contain ourselves.
The New Café From Two Boys Brew, Drumcondra
Rumour has it that the second café from Two Boys Brew in Drumcondra is just weeks away from opening its doors. This one will have a smaller food offering and be more of a coffee shop with undoubtedly great cakes, and you know it's going to look slick. More news when we have it.
Bread 41, Greystones
Greystones (not Dublin, we know) is getting a new “community bakery” in the form of Bread 41’s second spot. Eoin Cluskey’s Pearse Street original has come roaring out of lockdown, with the public appetite for sourdough at an all-time high after maxing out all our patience for at-home kneading, so the time is clearly ripe for expansion. The new venue will follow fast on the heels of a particularly well-received segue into brunch and lunch menus in the Pearse Street premises’ upper floor, and we hear there are more ambitious plays to come once this one gets up and running.