Spring has sprung (ish), it’s finally February, and we’ve all made it through another of those awful Irish winters - praise be. One of our favourite things about spring (apart from the grand stretch) is the bright burst of colour that comes from its first heralds: the brilliant pink of forced rhubarb and the deep crimson of blood orange, both of which have begun to appear on menus and specials boards across the city. Here’s our rundown of the best options on menus right now to usher in the new season...
Wild seabass crudo with blood orange, Volpe Nera
Volpe Nera are making the most of blood orange’s beautiful, bright colours with this techno-coloured plate. Ripe chunks of fruit straddle slices of juice-dressed wild seabass crudo, finished with radish and rosemary gel. It’s a sight to behold, but even better again, it’s available on their February lunch menu, with three courses for €38.
Blood orange donut, Flower & Bean
It may not have the Instagrammable appeal of the crème brûlée donut that turned our heads back in October, but the newcomer café on Cork Street is keeping their game up with this seasonal spin. Flower & Bean’s latest is filled with chocolate cream and topped with a crisp blood orange slice. And if that doesn’t take your fancy their current menu also includes a rhubarb scone
Coconut, passionfruit and blood orange, Clanbrassil House
Seasonal blood orange has also made it's way onto Clanbrassil House's new set menu. The part-dessert, part piece of art, is full of zingy flavours with coconut, passionfruit and blood orange, and you'll find it on Friday and Saturday for €75, alongside dishes like scallop with bergamot kosho and salt-baked kohlrabi.
Rhubarb Brioche, Bread Man Walking
We’re big fans of Bread Man Walking’s undying enthusiasm for the produce and baking opportunities, that come with each new season. He’s just as much a rhubarb lover as us and hasn’t wasted a minute getting the first sight of the stuff into one of his seasonal brioches. This one’s got a custardy crème pâtissière, rhubarb gel (!) and a sprinkling of pistachio on top.
Marinated mackerel with Sicilian blood oranges, A Fianco
It’s no surprise to see Stoneybatter’s hottest new spot A Fianco leaning hard into this most Italian of seasonal ingredients. They’ve laid a classic Sicilian salad of blood orange, fennel and almond over hearty chunks of marinated mackerel for a bright and tangy spring plate. It’d be just rude not to wash it down with one of their Sicilian whites.
Red mullet, Chapter One by Mickael Viljanen
While red mullet shows up at various points of the year, it’s never better than the first two months of the year. It’s been given the two-star treatment by Mickael Viljanen over at Chapter One, with red pepper, a quenelle of caviar and bright red yuzu kosho to boost the colour and balance the flavour. We’re not sure whether to eat it or hang it on the wall.
Blood orange Basque cheesecake Danish, Bread 41
There's no half measures at Bread 41, who’ve gone all-out on a Basque cheesecake Danish to bring out the vibrant flavours of blood orange. The super-flaky croissant pastry is filled with cheesecake mix and a bright blood orange gel, all brought together with poached fruit slices and sprinkling of edible flowers and salt. We've never not impressed with these guys.
February's organic porridge, Urbanity
February's organic porridge from Urbanity with blood orange, cardamom yoghurt, pomegranate molasses and pistachio brittle are what we want to have for breakfast every morning this February. Extra points for making porridge look this good.
Rhubarb galette, Elliot’s
One of the best elements of this season’s bounty is its beautiful, bright colours coming after the dark, dull days of winter. Elliot’s galette gets that and then some - the deep pinks and geometric pattern of this rhubarb tart has the potential to put you in a trance if you stare too long. They’re also serving a blood orange galette that’s just as pretty.
Blood orange curd bun, Fable
Curd is a great way to extend the life of a short-season ingredient like blood orange, so we really hope Fable have made a big batch to keep these on the menu for a while. Dotted on a generous lashing of cardamom cream, and finished with a sprinkling of walnut praline, their blood orange curd gives a gorgeous colour contrast to these flaky buns.
Red mullet, The Seafood Café
A regular feature of The Seafood Café’s spring menu, red mullet’s back again this year on this pretty plate. Pan-fried for a beautiful crisp red skin, the fillet’s served over spinach and mushroom - a simple, fresh starter designed to make this special fish stand out.
Blood orange, pear and thyme scones, BaaBaa
We’ve been really impressed with the variety of ways we’ve seen blood orange used this year, and Baa Baa in Chapelizod have gone another route altogether, baking it into savoury scones together with pear and thyme. We’re all for the unconventional combo, and at this rate it might be warm enough to enjoy one with a coffee on their terrace soon.