Words: Shamim de Brún
Artwork: Paul Smith
A frankly stupid number of brilliant new restaurants, cafés and street food joints arrive in Dublin every month. Which makes whittling a shortlist down to a manageable size a severe challenge. But here it is—the 4 must-try openings in our fair city this April.
This new Asian restaurant, Day n Night, lingers just at the edge of the inner city’s north side. It sprung up overnight smack in the middle of Denmark Street beside Belvedere college. Unlike most places in the area, which are either spots or evening haunts, Day n Night will be open from 08:00 to 22:00.
During the day, the new spot will serve artisanal coffee and nostalgic Korean toasties. In the evening they will pivot their focus to authentic Japanese ramen. The menu includes premium beef bulgogi with a signature egg yolk, scrambled egg and caviar, and classics such as double ham and bacon with cheese. Their wine list is compact, well-articulated and chosen well to suit the umami flavours of the Asian fusion dishes. It’s a small, out-of-the-way spot, but it looks like the people behind it know what they’re doing.
From the team behind Charlotte Quay and Coppinger Row comes Orwell Road. It’s a new spot putting the haute-cuisine spin on Irish favourites. Bringing with him his culinary street cred, ex-Mister S chef Daniel Hannigan is leading the kitchen here. Hannigan is the founder of Food For Thought, a series of pop-up dining events and owner of The Naughty Neighbour. His beef and Guinness doughnuts went the kind of viral we’ll be calling iconic in the future. A man ahead of his time. This new boutique ‘Modern Irish’ restaurant will be focused on as much local and Irish produce as possible. The team is already, deservedly, amassing more column inches than Covid in March 2020. A spot to get into before it’s booked out the wazoo.
This spot is firmly on the must-check-it-out-list for April. Forrest Avenue is a grocery during the day and at night now pivots to become a small plates and wine-focused spot. Their expertly curated list is full of wines you can’t get anywhere else, including razer sharp growers Champagne. This drool-worthy list makes this new kid on the bloc the kind of wine bar Dublin deserves. I can see cork dorks elbowing each other in the kidneys to get in and have a verre.
Softly opened just this weekend in the culinary mecca that is Dublin 2, Nomo is set to catch fire Katniss Everdeen style. It’s a ramen speciality restaurant headed by a chef who trained in China and spent five years perfecting his recipe. The buzz is that this is the ramen place to end all ramen.
Nomo is the brainchild of former IT worker and trained chef Kevin Hughes – self-confessed ramen obsessive. He trained and worked in China before moving to Dublin and getting sucked into the vortex of tech. So look out for the noodles he is bringing in from the US (from the same supplier as Momofuku and Ivan Ramen). Also, don’t forget to keep an eye out for the locally sourced Irish meat and painstakingly laboured over broth.
Bambino looks set to hit the tiles in Stephens Street with their New York Style Eatery this month. However, no official date is on the cards yet. To top it off, Spatched from The Golden Cherry Club is primed and ready to become Dublin’s go-to chicken joint. While we can garner no firm date, their Instagram says “coming very soon”. They even have a permanent venue looking ever closer to opening in Rathmines.
Go forth and eat.
Elsewhere on Char: Best Restaurants in Dublin Right Now