Words: Emily Mullen
“I guess my final toast would be a 5-10 minute rant about how much I love everyone, how grateful I am for them being there. I will keep it very straightforward but what will set it apart will be the sheer length of the toast.”
In a new series called the Last Supper, we ask Dubliners and adoptees what their last meal would be in this fine city before they departed for St. Peter’s pearly gates. Handpicking starters, mains and desserts and everything in between, from the vast store cupboard of Dublin cuisine, past or present.
Completely fictitious and absolutely ridiculous it’s an unlimited budget series that relies purely on imagination. In mining the brains of these people, we hope to uncover some hidden gems, forgotten food slingers and make everyone a bit emosh in the process. First up is George Voronov, Creative Director at District Magazine, a guy who likes his oysters poached and his vodka reefed straight from the freezer.
First off where are you having your Last Supper?
When I was in 4th year of secondary school there was an iconic session spot in between the Blackrock and Seapoint DART stations. There was a pedestrian footbridge over the tracks that got you onto the sea and we used to walk for about 500 meters along this slanted bulwark and that brought us to a little grassy outcrop. It was called “the castle” because there was a ruin there. There’s a small beach and a field and it’s completely isolated because it’s so hard to get to. I’d like the table set up there, with a nice white linen tablecloth. The water will be lapping at the shore, every ten minutes you get the sound of the DART going by to remind you where you are. There’s not a group of drunk 16-year-olds running around going mental, I want the run of the place for one evening.
Who are you having the Last Supper with?
My group of oldest and dearest friends.
Let’s talk about water, tap or bottled?
Definitely sparkling, I’ve come around to the bubbles so bubbles all the way. San Pelly would be great, it’s a classic and it does the job.
We went to Bastible for my girlfriend’s 30th, and they had these amazing oysters. I like oysters just fine but I was never mad for them. The Bastible oysters were poached (I think), but they put them with a lemon and basil granita (like flavoured crushed ice). It was almost like an oyster mojito, which might sound a bit gross but was really delicious, it was super light and zingy. They were also beautifully presented, so if we were sitting beside the sea, to start off with a load of oysters would be great. Oysters also get you pretty pepped as well so it could be a nice way to stimulate conversation around the table.
So just oysters to start?
Well, I’m Russian and a big Russian tradition, whenever there’s a big occasion, is obviously the whole vodka thing. There’s a different drinking culture in Russia, it’s very toast-based. Last summer I took a group of friends to a Russian restaurant in town called The Admiral and we drank vodka throughout the dinner. The rule was that anytime anyone took a drink, you had to say a toast which I really liked because it added a sense of ceremony to the meal. So yeah, I would like to have vodka with the oysters. I’m thinking a crystal decanter of Green Mark vodka, pulled out of the freezer, so it’s frosted on the outside –almost difficult to touch that’s how cold it is- and it will be served in beautiful little crystal shot glasses. The vodka is in the centre of the table and everyone gets a shot. In Russia, they generally chase their shots with food, like pickles, gherkins or sauerkraut, or cured meats like salamis or even fish like sardines or pickled herrings, so some of those can be incorporated in with the oysters.
What’s will your final toast be?
Toasts are normally extremely flowery, verbose and filled with superlatives in Russia. So I guess my final toast would be a 5-10 minute rant about how much I love everyone, how grateful I am for them being there. I will keep it very straightforward but what will set it apart will be the sheer length of the toast.
What’s your main?
In general, I love to have loads of plates in front of me instead of a starter, main course, dessert. So for my main I would like to have a lot of plates with lighter salad options and heavier meat options, which allows you to constantly graze. There are two categories of food, there’s grilled meats and then really fresh salads. There’s a dish called shashlik which is a Central Asian barbeque dish, made up of are fist-sized chunks of meat (typically pork), marinated with white onions and then put on skewers and grilled over coals. Obviously, it is central Asian, but it would be a quintessential Russian barbeque that Russians have instead of burgers, in fact in Russia you don’t use the word barbeque you use shashlik instead. So I would have that, the only place that serves it in Dublin is the Admiral Restaurant on Marlborough Street. You would have to have something from Baste there, they can provide the brisket. I’d love some jerk chicken thighs from All Hail on Dawson Street.
I would also like a Caprese salad from Dunne & Crescenzi, when I first moved to Dublin the owners of Dunne & Crescenzi were pretty much my next-door neighbours and my family would be pretty friendly with them so there’s that sentimental connection there. I also have never been here, but what better time to try than on your last supper, I’d like a load of zesty Mediterranean salads from Shouk.
What are you drinking with all this?
I’m going to sound real basic but I am an absolute fiend for grilled meats and barbecue based stuff, but I like how a crisp white wine cuts through all the richness of the meat. A friend of mine finished a course a couple of weeks ago and a group of us gathered in the park with a bottle of Casa Belfi Prosecco courtesy of Le Caveau which is a natural fizzy wine that we grabbed at random to celebrate. I’ve been fiending after it ever since, it’s absolutely amazing, that will have to be the juice of choice.
What’s your dessert?
I’m a big fan of having a cocktail instead of a dessert. I like to eat so much that I don’t have room for dessert, and this way it lets you keep drinking while having dessert, so you open the belt you open the button on your jeans, you lean back and you have your cocktail. I can offer my guests a lemon sorbet to keep things chill after all the meat, it will also bring the meal into a complete circle since we started with the granita and now we are ending with a sorbet. If we could get Cream Of The Crop to do a tub of lemon sorbet for my friends that would be great.
So what are you having for dessert then?
I’m into spirit-forward cocktails, I’ve recently gotten into Godfathers, which is one part whiskey, one part amoretto like Disaronno. I normally find Disaronno a bit sickly sweet but when you mix it with whiskey it gives it a bit more of an edge which is pretty nice, but it still has a little bit of sweetness so it works as an after-dinner digestivo option. So I’ll have a Godfather, with a transparent ice clear sphere. Perfect.
Elsewhere on District: Artist Spotlight: DECOY