For all the grim news of closures that’s kicked off the year, it’s a crowded slate in our first new openings report of 2024, with a whole host of outfits arriving on the scene across the last few weeks. The north of the city fares better than usual with plenty of action in the suburbs too – a sign, as if we were in need of another, that central area rents are going beyond the reach of small and new businesses...
Board, Clanbrassil Street
Arriving right on time to ride the dry January wave, alcohol-free bar Board opened its doors last week with a half-price promo that saw plenty of curious crowds pour in to check out the new venture from BodyTonic, they of The Bernard Shaw and WigWam among others. Impressive shelving units in the downstairs pub and upstairs café area hold a host of board games to enjoy as you sip on the range of non-alcoholic draught beers, wine and cocktails they’ve pulled together, with a house rule that the loser buys the next round a clever marketing pitch to keep the bar busy. The brunch and evening pizza menus aren’t anything overly eye-catching, but should cater to most tastes.
Honey Honey, Bath Avenue
Portmarnock staple Honey Honey has been reliably thronged since its 2018 opening, but it’s a surprise to see them expanding to a second site on the other side the city. Their standout yellow branding has taken over the Bath Avenue space that was previously home to Farmer Brown’s, and we’ll bet the smell of pecan honey crunch cinnamon rolls has started turning heads as it wafts its way through D4 too. Menus are expected to change on the regular, but alongside the all-day cakes and pastries you can expect granola, porridge and breakfast brioches for breakfast with a choice of sandwiches and quesadillas for lunch.
Converting its spacious conservatory area into a new art deco dining space, Sandyford House opened up Panacea at the end of November, a higher-end alternative to the gastropub fare previously offered. Pastries and sausage rolls dominate the breakfast menu while seafood abounds for lunch; at dinner, yellowfin tuna and foie gras front a fancier offering that also includes Andarl Farm pork chops and slow-cooked short rib. They’ve made a particular pitch of their “carefully sourced and curated” cellar wine list, and while the reds look the part, there’s just five bottles of white listed – not quite what we expected with this much fish on offer.
Boom, Francis Street
The inside track for Inchicore residents has always put Boom right up there as the best coffee around, so Liberties locals will be glad to see they’ve chosen Francis Street for their second outlet. Sat beside Turkish café Rumi, another recent opener here, it’s a significantly bigger site with the kind of stop-and-savour space the original’s limited room always struggled to provide - all the better to enjoy their selections of Tartine pastries and vegan and gluten-free cakes from Rua. With beans supplied from Bell Lane in Westmeath, Boom are pitching themselves as the best value specialty coffee in D8 – a bold claim.
Tacos Lupillo, Inchicore
Anyone passing through Inchicore in recent weeks can’t have failed to notice the head-turning queues snaking out from Cleary’s pub. Tacos Lupillo is the culprit, a Mexican restaurant crammed into the tiny kitchen space that occupies one corner of the building. Strong word of mouth from Mexican influencers in Dublin seems to have driven the rapid, rabid following that’s engulfed the place and sent crowds flocking to its street food selection, including tacos, gringas, quesadillas and more. You’ll have little hope of snagging one of the three tiny tables inside; luckily Cleary’s have smartly agreed to allow punters eat in the pub, too.
El Fuego, Eatyard
Eatyard at the Bernard Shaw has added a new vendor in the form of El Fuego, the taco truck that’s gone from strength to strength since starting out in Laois early last year, and adding gradually more markets and festivals to its roster. It’s a pared down offering here from the mobile kitchen with just tacos and sides rather than the burritos and bowls they offer elsewhere, but their beef birria with a consommé dip on the side was all we had eyes for either way. They’ll be there every week from Thursday to Sunday.
New Orleans-inspired Krewe on Capel Street has been reliably packed since reopening post-pandemic (their original ill-timed arrival at the end of 2019 never let them build up much steam), and for all the faults we found on a visit last year, their range and keen pricing has kept them thronged enough to make this second arrival inevitable. It’s set within the new Charlemont Square development in Portobello – you know, the one that pushed out the Bernard Shaw’s previous incarnation – and looks to have ample space to mop up all the interest it should attract on this side of town with its Creole-inspired cuisine.
L-Blanc Mezes, North Strand Road
With a growing list of closures only a week in, it’s looking like 2024 will be another challenging year for the industry. In such an environment, we’re expecting to see a lot more supper club popup entries like L-Blanc arrive on the scene. Opening Friday and Saturday nights in North Strand Road’s Cloud Café, this Turkish mezze restaurant is offering a focused menu with eight small plates and three mains – sounds like the perfect size to try everything in one go to us. Three prix fixe menus ranging from €35 to €70 look like especially good value in the current climate.
After cracking the Dublin market in 2021 with a third opening in Glasthule, Pakistani restaurant Daata has inched further into the capital with a fourth site in Blackrock. Taking over the sizeable premises that previously housed Flash Harry’s, they’ve given the space just the love and attention you’d expect from their other locations. The family-run business, which originally set up out of Wicklow as far back as 1999, offers plenty of variety across its wide brunch, lunch and dinner menus, with a great value kids’ menu and signature cocktail selections only adding to the appeal.
Andhra Bhavan, Marlborough Street
If the high praise of Vritti Bansal’s review wasn’t enough to turn our heads towards Andhra Bhavan, the chorus of Indian expat feedback on Google declaring it tastes just like home surely would be. This new arrival to an unassuming stretch of Marlborough Street has racked up an impressive reputation in just over a month of operation. Open Tuesday through Sunday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it’s got an extensive menu of South Indian dishes, many never or rarely seen across Dublin. The promising word of rasam, manchurian and top-tier dosa has us very keen to get in and try it for ourselves.
Yew Tree, Terenure
After dropping hints of things to come since as far back as September, Yew Tree has opened in Terenure, a new neighbourhood restaurant from the people who brought us Clanbrassil Street’s 57 The Headline, which shuttered after ten years when the building was sold. It’s more of a wine and small plates vibe than the previous premises’ beer and (high-end) pub grub, with duck pâté and black pudding croquettes among the standout selections of the evening menu. They’re also offering a range of toasted sandwiches as a weekday lunch option, with Sunday roasts a holdover from the Headline days.
Honest2Goodness, Botanic Avenue
After leaving the Glasnevin farmer’s market that bore its name for 14 years at the end of last year, Honest2Goodness wines have moved on to a new home nearby in Botanic Avenue (the market remains open for now and a new operating team are looking for a location to move to in the future - there's a new Instagram page here). They’re offering a small selection of snacks and wines by the glass in this small corner site, as well as a retail outlet for their extensive selection of imported wines – if you’ve ever attended any of their excellent tastings, you’ll know this is one to keep a close eye on.
The good news for the Northside just keeps coming: Vice, home to some seriously good pizzas and wings over on Merrion Street since late 2022, is opening a second outlet in Phibsborough. They’ll throw open their doors on the 24th.