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The Best Spring/Summer Dishes In Dublin Right Now

It might be hard to believe it now, but when we published our early spring update on Dublin’s best seasonal plates, the streets were still sporting snow. So it goes with spring, a season all about leading us gently from the dark depths of winter to the brighter nights and plates of summer. It’s asparagus all round at the moment, with the prized white stuff at the tail end of its short season; the last gasps of wild garlic are blooming, and some early summer arrivals are offering a peek of what’s ahead…

Spring Veg Galette, Elliot’s

Where better to start than a tart that sums it all up: Elliot’s excels at bringing the best of the season to their pastry plates (they don't actually have plates), and this stunning creation is the latest illustration. Flaky layers of pastry laden with ricotta make a crispy, creamy vessel for peas, asparagus, new potatoes and radishes. Wild garlic pesto dotted on top is a good reminder to get preserving while you can.

Lamb croquettes, Row Wines

A great pairing of two of spring’s most famous foodstuffs, Row Wines’ croquettes take a herb-crusted ball of melt-in-the-mouth lamb ragu and top and tail it with a vibrant wild garlic mayo – another idea for the home chefs among you not ready to wave goodbye just yet. Simple idea, superb execution – this is one of the standout snacks around town right now.

Asparagus with Parmesan sauce, Osteria Lucio

Asparagus lends itself best to unfussy treatments, and for all the wowza colour of the parmesan sauce and precise plating of the wild garlic flowers on Osteria Lucio’s starter, the simple spears are the stars of the show. We'll take the deep-fried capers flavour bomb though.

Irish crab, The Seafood Café

The Seafood Café is pairing up with Madrí beer for the month of May to celebrate Irish crab, which is just coming into the start of its lengthy season, and the good game they’re talking on limited supply ticks all the boxes for what we like to see in seasonal cooking. There’s six dishes to try from a classic dressed crab to smashed claws, all with a free beer thrown in for €25.

White asparagus with prosciutto and hollandaise, Brighton Road

Maybe it’s the super-short season that does it, but there’s nothing we look forward to more as spring rolls around than the arrival of white asparagus. The Italians and Germans go wild for this stuff, and while we’ve noticed it crop up more in Dublin in recent years, it hasn’t yet caught on to quite the same extent. We reckon there’s no better way to sample its earthy appeal than with the classic charred treatment at Brighton Road.

Cais na Tire agnolotti with glazed maitake and wild garlic, Orwell Road

The verdant green of wild garlic goes to great use in this plate from Orwell Road. Folded leaves and silky sauce both accompany plump servings of Cais na Tire agnolotti, and there’s something about this sheep’s cheese that makes it pop with wild garlic. Glazed maitake bring an earthy umami anchor to tie it all together.

Rhubarb and bourbon vanilla panna cotta, Mae

We went heavy on rhubarb for our last spring roundup when the forced stuff was out in all its glory, and things have gone a bit quiet on that front, but we have to spare a space for the most high-end twist on rhubarb and custard we’ve seen in a while, courtesy of the ever-inventive folks at Mae. The little bee tuile perched on the honeycomb just kills us.

Scallop with nduja butter and wild garlic, Library Street

We can never resist a scallop, least of all with a seasonal spin, and Library Street never fail to deliver on that front. For this spring outing, they’ve played wild garlic’s subtle notes off more intense flavours from nduja, bonito and Sichuan peppercorns. It’s just as well these aren’t available all year.

White asparagus with egg yolk and foie gras, Glover’s Alley

Okay we know we preached simplicity in asparagus just a few blurbs back, but in the hands of a truly great chef a higher-end treatment can reap rewards. Andy McFadden’s are such hands and this is such treatment. There’s a regular ol’ green asparagus plate going too if that’s more your thing – both look the business.

Steamed hake with minted pea puree and wild garlic beurre blanc, Old Street

There’s no end to the things you can do with wild garlic, and we’re always happy to see some variety around town. Old Street have put it to use in this fish dish with a beurre blanc – should that be beurre vert? – alongside a minted pea puree that straddles the spring-summer divide. How good does a chumichurri crumb sound?

Charred asparagus and lovage oil, Volpe Nera

It’s a simple asparagus treatment again at Volpe Nera, with the spears charred and served straight-up at the heart of the plate. There’s a bit of irony in the fact that lovage doesn’t get much love in the hierarchy of spring foods, so it’s nice to see it given pride of place here in an oil alongside a hazelnut puree to bring it all together.

Black Forest Gateaux, Lottie's

Cherries are a little more of a summer than a spring thing, but they’ve burst onto the scene in the last week or so with an energy we can’t ignore. Lottie's have gone right for the black forest gateaux, and looking at the depth of colour off this thing, it’s fair to say so would we.

Strawberry and rice pudding Danish, Scéal

Yes we know they're in Wicklow now but we're struggling to give up on Scéal as one of our own, and they're still on the Dart line. Nothing better straddles the seasonal divide than the humble strawberry, with the greenhouse-grown crop arriving alongside the recent sunny spell. Summer will be ripe with them, but they may not wind up put to much better use than this jaw-dropping Danish from Scéal. Roast strawberry compote, vanilla rice pudding and pink peppercorn shortbread – need we say more?


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