An upmarket chipper, a new place for tacos, and a futuristic coffee shop - here's what's just opened in Dublin, and some more coming soon...
Taco Libre, Dublin 1
Taco Libre is a new opening on the corner of Capel Street and Bolton Street, from Galway Bay Brewery, who seem to be expanding across the city at neck-breaking speeds. They say that everything is made from scratch by their chef Bruna (who's from Mexico), and they're sourcing a lot from Mexican supplier Picado, including avocado leaves, masa harina (used to make tortillas and tamales) and a variety of chillies. The menu features housemade tortilla chips, elote croquettes, papas fritas with queso fresco, and four different tacos which can be ordered individually. The beer menu is a lot more interesting than the average restaurant, and cocktails are from Craft Cocktails. See the menu here.
Salt & Vinegar, Rathfarnham
Salt & Vinegar is the latest upmarket chipper to hit the city, opening in Rathfarnham but no doubt having designs on multiple sites. The guys behind it are Conor Kavanagh (ex-Bresson) and Nicky Higgins (ex-Allta/Fish Shop), and everything is fresh and made in house, from the fish finger sandwiches to the chips, the tartare sauce to the pickled onion rings. It's new and it's buzzy, so order online if you don't want to be a) disappointed or b) waiting an age.
Lee Sun, Dun Laoghaire
We have tried and failed to get any certifiable information on this one, so other than showing up and banging on the door we're going off what's online - which isn't much. Lee Sun is a new sushi restaurant in Dun Laoghaire opened by a guy called Eric who's described as "the alchemist of Dun Laoghaire", and has apparently devoted 20 years to the craft. They say all of their fish comes from Irish suppliers, and there's bubble tea and Japanese cakes too. Initial reports are positive and we're cautiously optimistic.
Griolladh, Dublin 8
Toastie trucks Griolladh have gone permanent with their first site without wheels on Thomas Street in Dublin 8. This one makes four, with food trucks still operating in Malahide, Dundrum and Grand Canal Street, and the toastie is still the centre of the menu. They're open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week, with new additions including a bacon and brown sauce scroll and a mini apple tarte tatin, and a vegan toastie is coming soon.
Zakura Sushi, Lower Baggot Street
Zakura have opened their third Japanese restaurant at 17a Lower Baggot Street close to St Stephen's Green, in the building which formerly housed Sanai Indian. The menu is similar to the other two on Upper Baggot Street and Wexford Street, with sushi, ramen, rice dishes and noodles, and they're open seven days a week for dine in, takeaway and delivery. Check them out here.
There's a futuristic new coffee shop on Liffey Street near the Ha'penny bridge that's "bringing a brand new aesthetic" to coffee. H&T Coffee describe themselves as "barista led", and it's the first café from entrepreneur Liam Wei. There are H&T hair and beauty salons upstairs and downstairs too, so they're covering all the female bases. Coffee is from Irish roaster Bell Lane and Swedish roaster Koppy, and on the food front they've got cakes and pastries.
Nomo Ramen, due to open near Camden Street in March/April, is from former IT worker and trained chef Kevin Hughes - a self-confessed ramen obsessive. He trained and worked in China before moving here and getting sucked into the tech world, and says he's spent the last five years travelling and perfecting his ramen, and now he's ready to unleash it on Dublin. He's bringing the noodles in from the US (from the same supplier as Momofuku and Ivan Ramen), and meat will be Irish and free-range. We'll bring you more when they're closer to opening.
Those Sprezzatura guys have been promising us their free-range chicken concept Spatched for months now, so we're excited to finally get our hands on a working copy of the menu - check out that brunch! There's going to be brining, marinating, sous-viding and confiting, all leading up the the final fry. They're calling it "slow slow slow fast food" - we like.
Chef Adrian Martin's Wildflower restaurant has opened for bookings. The Irish Times did a preview of it yesterday, and we're very unsure about those gold-backed chairs. The pricing is punchy - €70 for a three-course meal (the tasting menu at Variety Jones is €75) - so here's hoping the food lives up to it.
The Saucy Cow
Your favourite vegan fast food stall is going permanent, bringing their burgers and loaded fries to Dublin 2. The Saucy Cow's first bricks and mortar site should be open for dine in by the end of February, serving brunch straight through to dinner. We'll have more info for you soon.