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The Two Minute Review: Carved

What should we know about Carved?


With a second spot about to open in Ballsbridge and a third reputedly in the works, Carved have built an impressive brand for themselves since opening their doors at Grand Canal Dock in mid-2022 with their “sandwiches by chefs” conceit – culinary director Morgan McQuarrie previously worked in the Chapter One kitchen under Ross Lewis. Regularly bustling queues and a steady stream of impressive weekly specials have had us wanting to get down to this one for a while, and a quick drive-by for their Christmas special had us wanting more.



What should we have?


It’s got to be a good sign that the menu here has barely shifted since its original launch two years ago. Six stalwarts, ranging from classics like Caprese and glazed ham to heavier offerings including beef brisket and porchetta, are joined by a rotating weekly special.



Since first reporting Carved’s arrival we’ve had our eye on that porchetta - the skin-on Italian boned and rolled pork specialty. The tender, fatty meat is bursting with flavour from an overnight roast, and the punchy salsa verde helps keep the combo of juicy pork, cheddar and garlic mayo from feeling overwhelmingly rich, while the crunch of crispy onions keeps every bite dynamic. It's a worthy signature.



Just as long-standing a favourite is the buffalo chicken, a messy monster of a thing that seems to spew forth sauce as it opens up before you. Paprika and garlic-marinated chicken is layered over generous squirts of garlic mayo and Frank’s hot sauce and laid over a bed of lettuce and house spicy red cabbage slaw – get an extra handful of napkins with this one. The balance of flavour here is impressive, with the sauce and slaw’s spice lively but well-tempered.

 


We were less taken with the Sunday roast chicken special that was on the week of our visit – for all the effort of caramelised onion and a house gravy on the side, the smashed garlic spuds and roast chicken breast that filled this one left it all a little dry. Beside the bold but balanced flavours of the other two, the more muted profile of this couldn’t but pale in comparison. Other recent offers have included chicken parm and a chilli beef Coney Island pup – just our luck to miss them.



Why should I go?


Carved’s quick growth off the back of a loyal fanbase speaks for itself, and it’s excellent to see this combo of quality ingredients and creative recipes live up to the hype. The high-end sandwich market in Dublin is becoming a crowded space, but the size and standard of what Carved has to offer, with all but the special coming in just under a tenner, stands out in its field.



Carved

Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 1

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