If we were to survey Dublin’s chefs on their favourite time of year, there’s a very good chance it’s right now that would come out on top. Even without much of a summer to transition from this year, there’s a special magic in watching the shortening nights usher in recipes of root veg and gourds, in the satisfying scent of pies packed with tree fruits and ripe berries. Leaves are falling all around, autumn is on our plate, and these are the best seasonal dishes the city has to offer right now...
Autumn salad, Margadh RHA
Of course it’s not just fruit and veg chefs love this season for - meat is especially good as hunting season comes around, and duck is chief among its favourites. Cooked confit, it’s been paired by Margadh in the RHA with peak-season crisp red cabbage, roast cashews and a palm sugar vinaigrette for a lunchtime feast.
Spiced meringue carrot cake, Orani
New Blanchardstown arrival Orani has come about as close as you can to capturing a season in a snapshot here. Carrots might rarely be out of season in Ireland, but their sweet earthiness is never more welcome than on windy and wet autumn days, especially in the wholesome spice of a carrot cake. A torched meringue topping and smores hot chocolate to wash it down are the double icing on the cake.
Pumpkin and cinnamon bundt cake, Triangle Coffee Co
You can’t move for all the pumpkin flavour making its way into hot drinks this time of year in Dublin, but it’s the arrival in cakes we await every September. Donabate’s Triangle Coffee Co are leading the pack so far with these pretty, petite bundt cakes, loaded with thick frosting and dusted with cinnamon for a lightly spiced kick.
Squash orecchiette, Brookwood
The pitch-perfect pairing of squash and sage is among the very best things about autumn, and Baggott Street’s Brookwood have taken it to a whole new level by pairing it with orecchiette and – get this – a parmesan custard. Look at the sear on that squash, the crispness of that sage, the gloss of that custard. There’s little about town we’re this eager to eat.
Rabbit casoncelli, Grano
The word “autumn” derives from the Latin “to enrich”, and we think this new pasta plate from Stoneybatter’s Grano is the ideal illustration. They’ve stuffed casoncelli with rabbit and loaded the lot with toasted hazelnuts, taggiache olives and a chard sauce for a seasonal feast that’ll make you feel like you’re whiling away an autumn evening in the heart of Calabria.
Connemara oysters, Row Wines
It may only be a mercifully short stint through late spring and summer when native oysters are busy breeding and unsuitable to eat, but it always feels like an eternity to us. Row Wines are among the Dublin restaurants bringing them back with a bang, with a green aguachile granita adding a punch to their prized Connemara classics.
Autumn brioche bun, Fable Bakery
Fast becoming one of the city's go-to spots for seasonal baking is Dawson Street's Fable Bakery, and this beautiful brioche bun looks like one of their most impressive yet. Spiced apple and blackberry jam brings a one-two punch of sour-sweet seasonality, while a pink peppercorn infused mascarpone cream and ginger crumble have us trying to fit this into next week's eating schedule.
Seasonal French toast, Milo’s
The good folks at Milo’s can always be relied on to capitalise on the season, and their latest seasonal French toast is a fully-fledged Autumnal indulgence, with a cinnamon apple compote and fresh blackberries spicing up their brunch menu. They’ve also got a brilliant-looking spiced plum and pistachio babka on the go, if you fancy seconds.
Cube choux, Luna
We can see why Luna felt the need to put this one in all caps - their showstopper seasonal dessert’s pastry is pretty enough on its own, and that’s before you get to the goodies piled on top. Fresh apricots, apricot compote, dark cherries, a lemongrass ganache - it's a paean to what the season can be.
Poached pear financier, Pichet
Pichet have leaned into the classic combination of autumn fruits and almonds for the latest dessert to hit their menu. An icing sugar-dusted warm financier sits beside slices of poached pear and a quenelle of brown butter ice cream, before the lot is anointed with a generous squirt of bay leaf crème anglaise. Just try to say all that without licking your lips.
Salt-baked venison, Library Street
It’s relatively early days for venison season yet, but that hasn’t held Library Street back from setting the bar high. The leanness of deer meat makes it easy to overcook – much less so in the spiced salt crust it’s been baked in here. Beetroot and pear on the side make this plate all the more autumnal – we're very jealous of anyone who gets to eat this over the next few weeks.
Squash tortelli, Clanbrassil House
There’s a bit of a dearth of interesting autumn mushrooms so far among the menus we’ve surveyed, so we’re happy to see Clanbrassil House heroing trompettes alongside their Hokkaido squash tortelli and little slivers of Cáis na Tíre. That standout element just about inches this one over the line ahead of their peanut butter semifreddo with poached apricots and miso caramel – but you might as well have both if you're in there.
Calamansi tartlet, Chapter One
We usually hone in on local seasonal produce in these menu run-downs, but who could deny Chapter One's stunning calamansi tartlet a place. The Filipino fruit is currently enjoying its short peak season, and true to form Mickael Viljanen has seized the opportunity, leaning on a crisp tart shell and black sesame to bring out its very best.