What should we know about Fusco's Cafe?
Fusco's has been around for donkey's years - it celebrates its 60th anniversary next July - and it's one of the OG Dublin chippers, getting bonus points for the ability to sit in. They're are known for being one of the few that still serve ray, which is "very Dublin", but we did find a good few others including La Costa in Clontarf, Macari's in Glasnevin, C.Aprile in Stillorgan, Tony's Super Takeaway in Coolock, The Lido on Pearse street, and Roma in Clondalkin.
What did you have?
Their menu has all the usual suspects, from burgers to fish, fried chicken to kebabs, and an all day breakfast. We rang a day in advance to secure the ray (lighter in taste than cod, and more delicate) as we heard it sells out.
It arrived (via table service if you don't mind) beautifully battered and steaming hot. The trick is to open it like a book (Norina, the owner Filippo's daughter advised) and work around the bones. We encountered a couple, but they're more like cartilage in texture, and we hear some people eat them. The flesh was light, fluffy and a nice change from the ubiquitous cod.
We also ordered the smoked cod, a good litmus test for any chipper worth their salt (soz). It was beautifully smoked, super fresh, and falling apart on our forks.
When you see a Warley burger on a chipper menu, you know you're in for a good time. Also known as "wurley" burgers, Norina told us that they were invented in Fusco's, and consider us starstruck. A regular who went by the name of Warley (who only passed away last year) used to come in and ask for a quarter pounder patty to be battered, and hey presto - the iconic Dublin delicacy was born. Our burger was nicely assembled, with the batter giving an interesting texture contrast, but we'd save this one for a hangover.
Another good test of chippers is their battered sausage. Fusco's have used the same recipe since day one - a combination of beef and chicken, with a heavy hand on the spices. The flavour's almost closer to black pudding - it's not your traditional battered sausage. Their chips are fluffy, crispy, very well seasoned, and were gone in minutes. Excellent chipper chips to be had here.
Norina recommended we try the curry roll and who are we to refuse. It's a curried rice log that they get from their neighbouring Chinese takeaway, and in classic chipper fashion they toss it in the fryer. It comes with a side of curry sauce and ladies and gentlemen, may we present to you, the deep fried 2 in 1. The flavours were all there, but the texture was a bit stodgy and homogeneous. It was a trip all the same.
What is there to drink?
They offer all the usual soft drinks, along with tea and coffee, and for those that way inclined you can go full retro with a pint of milk.
Why should I go?
Come for the history, the ray, and Filipio's iconic kick boxing portrait on the wall. The charming staff, fresh fish, and above average chips are three more reasons to pay a visit to this Dublin city institution. Long live Fusco's!
27 Meath St, The Liberties, Dublin 8