Clams, empanadas and everything in between
Last week shredded our quietly held hope of a normal Summer, as one rain-sodden day tripped into another our dreams of an al fresco couple of months were becoming as vague as Big Weather app’s daily forecasting. But hope springs eternal and this week social media is awash with images and videos of Dublin City Council workers installing bollards and barriers as part of the pedestrianised rollout of parts of the city. Streets that were once dominated by beeping, reversing and doubled parked vehicles, has now been reclaimed by pedestrians and businesses, ahead of the rollout of outdoor dining. From today four city centre streets will either be traffic-free or will have traffic-free sections from 11 am each day, amongst them are Anne Street South from the junction of Dawson Street, Drury Street from just after its junction with Fade Street to the Drury Street carpark, South William Street from Exchequer Street to the exit of Brown Thomas’s carpark and Dame Court from Exchequer Street. This move comes after a successful “weekend pedestrianisation trials” that took place over six weekends during the months of July and August 2020. Dublin City Council has said that it plans to increase dining space and pedestrian access in other parts of the city. Which signals a change in direction for the council and a win for many businesses, who have campaigned for the pedestrianisation of the capital for several years. This move comes ahead of the outdoor dining being permitted on June 7, as the Covid restrictions ease. Hopefully, this move into outdoor dining will stay after the pandemic becomes a distant memory, and proper infrastructure erected with the availability of space now afforded by the pedestrianisation of our streets. As we look ahead to outdoor dining, here are five Dublin businesses that are doing something a little different this week:
The ante in the plant-based ice cream game has been majorly upped over the last couple of months. Several new brands have muscled their way into the market previously occupied by ice-flecked tasteless tubs. Newly launched Burr has released a range of non-dairy, vegan-friendly ice cream sandwiches in malt vanilla, mocha, chocolate and mint flavours. A chocolate biscuit has been perfectly sculpted around a slice of ice cream, to form a beautiful ice cream biscuit union. Burr’s ice cream sandwiches are currently stocked in Hen’s Teeth, follow them on Instagram for more information.
Any restaurant that puts an unsung hero like clams front and centre of their main menu is a winner to us. Hang Dai have cooked up the wild surf clams in a wok with a “very spicy sauce”. The clamshells look laden down with a dried chilli-based sauce, which is then sprinkled with spring onion and some fresh chilli. This dish is not for the faint-hearted, based on the amount of chilli visible, but the pairing of sweet clams with the spicy sauce looks like it is worth the risk of a potential mouth scalding. You can order Hang Dai’s Surf Clams as part of their takeaway menu, for more information visit their website.
Fans of chef Holly Dalton will have been waiting for Conbini’s product launch with bated breath and freshly refreshed feeds for some time now. For those unfamiliar with it, Conbini was born out of Dalton’s lifelong obsession with Japan and so named after the country’s convenience stores. The company aims to replicate the convience and the surprising taste housed in these stores, through their products. Conbini launched with range of three sauces, with Katsu Ketchup really catching the eye, it’s described as a “very happy marriage between Katsu Curry and Tomato Ketchup, get used to having this is your cupboard at all times.” Since Ketchup is already frequently involved with Katsu curry, the flavours will naturally burrow together well. This looks like a prime chip dunking and burger saucing condiment. Follow Conbini on Instagram for more information about stocklists.
To commemorate the May Revolution, a crucial point in Argentina’s fight for independence, which falls on May 25, Alma has created empanadas. “The May Revolution in Argentina May 25th  was a turning point in Argentina’s history that led to our Independence on July 9th,” the team at Alma wrote on Instagram. There are two empanadas on offer, the traditional slow-cooked beef made up with cumin, onions, egg and raisins alongside the veggie option with is filled with butternut squash, garlic, sweet corn and chilli. The team have warned customers to be quick since the empanadas are limited, follow Alma on Instagram for more information.
Donuts are fast becoming one of the best food vehicles around, helped along by Treehouse Treats’s now-iconic Duck Donuts. Opened just a couple of weeks ago, Peckish is a popup based out of Loretta’s restaurant each Thursday. Aside from solid American-diner style mains and sides, the lads have an unreal sounding dessert, called the Key Lime Pie donuts. A donut has been made up real pretty with piped marshmallowy meringue on top and filled with zesty lime curd. They sold out super quick last week so make a beeline for their spot in Phibsborough this week, follow them on Instagram for more information.
Elsewhere on District: Last Supper Dublin 003, Caitríona Devery