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25 Best Looking Meals in Dublin Since April

Words: Shamim de Brún

Images: Instagram

We’re all into food pics. They light up the gooey centre of our brain with lusty wrong feelings of gluttony and decadence. But there is nothing worse than ogling food porn that you can’t get your hands on. So here we’ve compiled a list of sexy as all fuck foods that you can get your hands on in Dublin.

Go forth and gorge yourself.

25

“Animal-style” Fried Chicken – Urbanity

“Animal-style” was popularised by the California burger chain In-n-Out. Animal style means that your field chicken will come smothered in melted cheese, grilled onions, and thousand island dressing. Here they’ve melted the tangy but mild Monterey Jack cheese into a sauce. They’ve also made an in-house burger sauce dressed it in pickles, crispy onions and shoestring fries before topping it off with an organic fried egg and toasted milk bread. It’s a special kind of filthy decadence that you’d plan you’re whole week around.

24

Brandy Seared Carpaccio – Little Mikes

It is a truth universally acknowledged that What comes out of Gaz Smith’s kitchen will leave you salivating. While seafood is his thing, he can turn his hand to anything; as evidenced by this genuine phenom of a carpaccio. Seared in Brandy and served with feta dip and warm focaccia fresh from the oven, how could you not hop on a bus straight out to Mount Merrion to taste it. Go forth and book.

23

STAD NA SOILSE – Daddy’s

This is a whopper veggie special sandwich. It beckons like a siren in all its beige and brown glory. Daddy’s have proved themselves time and time again as being the game-changing ones to watch in the vegetarian sandwich game. This bad boy is made from Jenny’s organic wood-fired cauliflower tossed in Marmite butter, cracked hazelnut, and sherry onion confit with McNally’s Leaves. Of course, non-vegans can choose to add cheese or bacon if they feel so inclined, but this looked like it needs no additions.

22

Nduja Scotchy – Hen’s Teeth

Nduja had a moment a few years ago. It slowly crept into our diet on chorizo’s coat tails. These days though, it is the go-to for those who want some quality sausage. Here Hen’s Teeth are at it again, turning the spicy – commonly used as a pizza topping- condiment into a scotch-like egg. Scotch eggs are an acquired taste. This looks like it will appeal to all. Count me in!

21

Lasagne – Sprezzatura

Who knew you could make lasagne from anything other than ragu? Here the place that revolutionised fresh pasta for the masses comes in strong with an alt lasagne, perfect for the thrill-seekers among us. This dish is zucchini and ricotta topped with Durus Óg cheese sauce topped off with crispy zucchini. There will be queues to try this. I would get on it if I were you.

20

Hambo – Griolladh

A typical cheese and ham toastie is already hard to beat, but this bad boy with its glazed gammon, secret sambo sauce and pitch-perfect pickles is a next level out of the parker. Just look at that cheese pull. Need I say more?

19

Hegarty’s Cheddar Crumpet – Franks

A savoury crumpet coved in cheese and decked out with cabbage and wild garlic? How could one resist such a trifle? The cheese was made for all bread products, but you haven’t lived till you’ve put it on a crumpet. The melty goodness seeps down through the pores to bring you a hearty but light cheesy dish that begs for a glass of wine. Add the ripe flavour of wild garlic and golden crisp of shredded cabbage, and you’re sure to have a textural delight. This is a dish to win hearts with.

18

Baked Cod – Loretta’s

As the weather heats up sometimes, all you want is some fresh fish. Particularly fish that hasn’t been battered and submerged in oil. Enter this bouncy baked fillet of cod with mussels and cauliflower on a bed of sauce Negra. Hits the spot like a salt bae chef’s kiss before the gold leaf.

17

Wings – Happy Endings

Wings almost never look as good as they taste but these Spicy Seoul Wings on special at Happy Endings would have you eating with your eyes. These saucy boys are brined in buttermilk before being deep-fried and tossed in special wing sauce. To create this rich spicy number takes inspiration from Irish and Asian style wings bringing the best of both to the table. Overall these very umami forward wings served with a big dollop of guava ranch are a perfect balance of fruity freshness and spicy indulgence for the weekend.

They say “Eat them by the bucketload. It’s a messy affair.” and I’m inclined to believe them.

16

Turmeric Pickled Eggs – Table Wine

Not chocolate ones, actual eggs. The fastest diffusing source of protein is also the traditional meal of the easter. The average Easter breakfast for an Irish man once consisted of six eggs. Yes, Six! Natural colourings from herbs or lichens were added to the boiling water to dye the shells, then kept to decorate the Maybush. So eating these high-end delightfully colourful eggs is the perfect way to honour your ancestors and check out Dublin’s newest boutique restaurant.

The eggs themselves, after being pickled in turmeric for four days, are a bright Easter yellow. As a dish, they are perfectly textured with creamy mayo and crunchy crisps complementing the suppleness of the egg itself. The flavours are incredibly complex, with a mild bite of acidity from the vinegar and a little bit of spice coming in the form of chives.

15

Big Hot Pep Slice – Bambino Pizza

Pizza is one of the most glorious foods to have ever come into existence. But, unfortunately, it’s also easy to get wrong. But Bambino doesn’t know how to go wrong. So they only go for it. This slice of Big Hot Pep is an outstanding balance between sweet, spicy, and salty. Made up of house-pickled jalapeños and homemade hot honey supported by a perfectly charred crust. If you’ve never had a sweet and spicy pizza, it’s time to change that. Currently, there’s no better slice in Dublin.

14

Kimchi Mussels – Soup

Kimchi mussels. Who would have thought to put these two unlikely friends together other than the genuine innovators in Soup? Here the people who built their name in part in the success of their deep-fried kimchi have knocked it out of the proverbial park again by pan-cooking the most sustainable fish in chipotle chilli and kimchi sake cream. The dish is served with chargrilled bread in garlic oil, which perfectly elevates the dish. I’m considering going back for seconds on it. It’s that tasty.

13

Cais na Tire Ravioli – Mae

Cais na Tire is a delicious ewe’s milk cheese from Barry Cahalan and Lorraine Davis of Borrisokane, north Tipperary. It’s as if Manchego and Parmesan got it on in your mouth with its crumbly texture and sweet, caramel touches. Now imagine that inside hand-made pasta. Now layer in a silky sauce soubise, and you have a starter worth queuing in the rain for this week.

12

Tomato Salad – Orwell Road

Real honest to goodness, properly grown tomatoes are a pleasure you must taste to understand, with many being forgotten and written off after supermarket salad tomatoes did them dirty. Here Orwell Road may change your idea of what it is to taste a tomato. The dish is fresh and light but packed with flavour and texture. So get on top of getting a reservation before the season passes by.

11

Wexford Strawberry Ice-cream Sandwich – Cold Boi

Who doesn’t love ice cream or sandwiches? And we especially love ice cream sandwiches. This is a fresh creamy Cold Boi that tastes as fresh as the Wexford Strawberries it’s made from. Perfectly portioned for a lovely ice cream to cake ration. You can’t fault it.

10

The Porchetta – Carved Sandwichshop

@dublinfooddiary

The team behind Boca Cafe has gone and opened a new spot they’ve lovingly dubbed Carved. This monster of a sandwich is called ‘The Porchetta’ and looks like I’m hopping on a bus to grab one before they close. May would happily leave families and run away with this transcendent bread wrapped pork delicacy. And no one would blame them. Sure look it. You can almost taste the cracking, and sure it’s only a picture. A must this week if you’re in the Grand Canal area.

09

Mushroom Karaage – Nomo Ramen

If you don’t eat mushrooms, this mushroom karaage will change that. Seasoned to the gods with crispy outer crust with a tender meaty texture inside, these bad boys make for the perfect appetiser at Dublin’s newest ramen bar. Last week, I ordered these with my brother, and the carnivore ate the entire bowl, only leaving me one. He wasn’t even sorry. I don’t blame him, though. They are grade a brilliant.

08

Dessert – Glovers Alley

Now, this is a dessert. Fresh from the brain of Head Pastry Chef Carolina Venezian comes dessert as nature intended. It is made with a praline base, whipped white chocolate, Madagascar vanilla ganache, poached pineapple, and mango with Calamansi vinegar sprayed with Valrhona Caramelia chocolate and a Caramelia chocolate disk with mango and lime sorbet. It’s the kind of dessert only a top-end professional could conceive of, let alone make. So this week, hop on the treat yourself train and take this on board.

07

The Buckfast BBQ – The Saucy Cow

Roisin Lawlor’s Buckfast burger is the stuff of legend among the vegan community. Considered by many as the best vegan burger in Dublin town, this bad boy will deliver. It’s a construction of fried onion rings, deep-fried jalapenos and smashed Beyond Meat burger with crunchy and Baby Gem lettuce inside a toasted sesame seed bun. Doused in their homemade Buckfast barbecue sauce, there is plenty of flavours to dwell on while the burger does something special to your soul. What more could you want to eat in Dublin this week?

06

Pot Stickers – Lucky Tortoise

These pancetta potstickers are the premo balance between soft and delicious. The chewy and flavorful dough that wraps around the filling melts in your mouth, gentle and lightly sweet. This bounces perfectly off the fresh filling. Pancetta is an Italian, salt-cured meat made from pork belly. Here it’s seasoned with Asian herbs and spices to bring it out of its shell. Together these dumplings have a pure, savoury flavour reminiscent of bacon but more profound and richer with all the complexity good dumplings deserve.

05

Korean Chicken Parm – Chimac

Chimac makes some of the best chicken in Dublin, and this burger is no different. Their Korean Chicken Parm burger is made from spicy gochujang and San Marzano DOP tomato sauce, fresh basil, twice-fried free-range chicken breast, smoked scamorza and basil mayo in a fresh Amish bun. With so many flavours packed into such a meal, you might have to eat it twice to taste all the goodness.

04

Goatsbridge Trout Kinilaw – Bahay at Mae

This once-off dish looks like it’s going to refresh your senses and make you exclaim to the deity of your choice. Everyone has been buzzing about the Bahay take over at Mae this weekend, judging from this picture. It lives up to the hype. It comprises Goatsbridge trout Kinilaw, cured in calamansi and cherry blossom high bank apple cider vinegar. Topped with hay smoked olive oil, cherries, chervil and Goatsbridge trout roe, who knew trout could look this lifechanging?

03

Sheep’s milk & blood orange – Library Street

Library street can’t take a wrong turn. It’s fundamentally impossible. Since their opening, just before Christmas, they have been hitting homer after homer. Or insert a sports reference of your choice. This Sheep’s milk and Blood orange ice cream sorbet dish is no exception. It tastes like an elevated summer super split with rich textural variety and vibrant complexity that’s hard to articulate without sounding like a wanker. It’s been weeks since I tried it, and I wish I could pop by just for this dessert. If you’re eating out this week, this is the dessert you should choose.

02

Crudo of wild gilt head bream – Allta

What can’t you say about Allta? They have everything you could want of a meal. Their new summer menu has been sizzling all across Instagram. But this is the dish that has us drooling this week. The bream fillets are cured lightly, sliced thinly and dressed in an oil infused with its roasted bones. Perfect for the week that’s in it.

01

Basil Strawberry Dessert – Volpe Nera

You never really know from the menu what you’re going to get from a place like Volpe Nera. But you know it will blow bits of your brain out of your ears. This is one of those dishes. Made up of Wexford strawberries with a set basil cream, strawberry consommé, elderflower gel, dark muscovado tuile, and balsamic pearls; it’s something only a genuine food genius could concoct. Who knew strawberries could give such a raucous dessert? You must experience the brilliance of this dish to get it.

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