What should we know about Mr Croqueta?
Originally arriving on the scene in 2020, Mr Croqueta set out to bring the authentic flavours of one of the most typical tapas dishes to Dublin homes, delivered frozen to deep-fry at your leisure. They were also available ready to eat in A Taste of Spain’s Camden Street premises, where steady word of mouth has led to the opening of a sit-in setup on the first floor.
What should we have?
As good as they are - and you should absolutely try them - the croquetas are far from the main event at Mr Croqueta. We went in with a healthy dose of scepticism - too often before we’ve seen a solid specialist food business set up shop and falter with a menu padded out by extra items that don’t pass muster - but we came out very pleasantly surprised at the skill tucked away in this little kitchen.
The chef (it’s very much a one-man band) spent ten years cooking in the Basque country, and there are few better places to learn your craft. We’re big fans, so trust us when we say this is the real deal - excellent quality ingredients allowed to shine with simple treatments. The chorizo in cider might be the best example - sizzling slices of softened spicy meat in a salty broth you won't be able to stop eating. Get extra bread. Chunky prawns have much the same effect, lightly tossed in a garlic and chilli oil to bring out their meaty, juicy best.
The patatas bravas could have been a little crispier, but the spiced tomato sauce doesn’t put a foot wrong, nor the garlic aioli on top - you’re very likely to clash forks over the last few. The classic tortilla is an essential order, with its oozing, gooey texture and delicate, lightly caramelised onion; it’s as good as any we’ve had outside Spain.
Onto the croquetas, there are six varieties available in plates of four, eight, or sixteen. The best are the Basque cod and the jamón serrano with generous chunks of flaky fish and salted pork oozing out of their well-seasoned bechamel binding, as the crisp crumb coating gives way under a fork. It’s worth trying the lot.
For dessert, our eyes opened wide to see the name "La Vina" crop up before cheesecake - this is one of San Sebastian's many little pintxo bars, famed for the cheesecakes baked en masse every day. It's a literal slice of Basque cuisine here in Dublin, so make sure to save room for this creamy, not overly sweet ending.
What is there to drink?
Not much worth noting, in Mr Croqueta's one bum note. Considering A Taste of Spain's host of quality imported bottles are sat right there within touching distance, it's disappointing to see the wine menu looking so slim, especially on the white front. The Artuke Rioja makes for a passable pairing with most plates, but this is one element of Mr Croqueta that could really use another look.
Why should I go?
Go for the croquetas, stay for everything else. The tapas field is crowded in Dublin (mostly badly), but here's a new standout - as close as you can get to the Basque country without hopping on a plane.
60 Lower Camden Street, Dublin 2 instagram.com/mrcroqueta.ie