SE­LECT

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - SEVEN DAYS | EATING OUT -

There’s in­ti­mate restau­rants, and then there’s Brioche, where you’ll not only know what your neigh­bours are hav­ing for din­ner, you’ll know the in­ti­mate de­tails of their lives and can score them on their ta­ble man­ners. But if you put your blink­ers on, it’s a lovely spot. It serves French tast­ing plates (they rec­om­mend two to three per per­son) such as seared Thornhill duck breast, cele­riac purée, and cher­ries or ba­cal­hau style fil­let of hake, red pep­per ragu. Wines by the glass are good value and you can’t beat the warm, but­tery brioche you get on ar­rival.

EDEN BAR & GRILL

7 South Wil­liam Street, Dublin 2, Ire­land, tel: (01) 6706887, eden­barand­grill.ie ¤ A good brunch spot, Eden Bar & Grill (the off­shoot of the orig­i­nal Eden on Meet­ing House Square) has all the brunch bases cov­ered: a good win­dow seat for peo­ple watch­ing on South Wil­liam Street, comfy ban­quettes for those who are in­ca­pable of sit­ting up­right, and a very bright, high-ceilinged atrium out the back for the perky post-pi­lates and yummy mummy bri­gade. On the plate, things are more con­sis­tent. Dishes all hover around the ten­ner mark (we refuse to pay ¤16 for eggs) and in­clude salt-baked beet­root with goats cheese, poached eggs and wild mush­rooms and wild asparagus omelette with al­monds and Cashel Blue.

HOP HOUSE

60-61 Par­nell Street, Dublin1, 01 872 8318, hop­house.ie ¤ Korean food is all the rage th­ese days, but the Hop House was serv­ing it be­fore your granny could say Kim­chi. It’s all a bit crazy, with noise from the bar next door spilling through to the restau­rant, but it’s the only place to go for au­then­tic Bibim­bap (a hot stone bowl filled with rice, as­sorted vegetables, Gochu­jang chilli pep­per paste, slices of mar­i­nated beef and a raw egg yolk). Their flash­ing disco pitch­ers of Korean beer are worth the trip alone.

KANUM THAI

77 Me­spil Rd, Dublin 4, 01 660 8616, kanum.ie ¤ Kanum’s green sig­nage has be­come a ubiq­ui­tous sight at fes­ti­vals and mar­kets in the past cou­ple of years, but the tiny premises on Me­spil Road

AR­TI­SAN PAR­LOUR

11 Fitzwilliam Street, Ringsend Vil­lage, Dublin 4, Ire­land, 01 598 4000, ar­ti­san­par­lour.ie € The ex­te­rior of Ar­ti­san Par­lour tells you all you need to know about what’s go­ing on inside. Unas­sum­ing matte black, re­tain­ing the shape of the home it once held, with “FOOD & DRINK” painted in enor­mous let­ters high on the front wall. The shop’s name is almost an af­ter­thought, dis­creetly placed be­side the wooden front door. Be­cause food and drink are what they’re about of­fers far more than fes­ti­val sta­ples of Pad Thai and cur­ries. Fast, ef­fi­cient take away ser­vice, but you can eat in on high benches or at ta­bles out­side. The Pad Prik Haeng with cashews, onions and whole chillies is ex­cel­lent, as is their spicy Tom Yum soup – per­fect as the weather gets colder. Also in Rath­gar.

LE­MON CREPE & COF­FEE CO

60 Daw­son Street, Dublin 2, 01-672 8898; 66 South Wil­liam Street, Dublin 2, 01-672 9044, lemonco.com, ¤ Many moons ago, as I queued in Le­mon, a man wan­dered in off the street look­ing for lunch. “You mean you put meat on pan­cakes?” he roared, “Are you mad? No­body’d eat that.” And off he stomped in search of some carvery... How wrong he was. Ir­ish peo­ple are mad for a crepe, and Le­mon’s are still some of the best in town. The Club (streaky ba­con, roast chicken breast, tomato and dress­ing, ¤6.95) and the veg­gie here. Sim­ple. But while the fare may be sim­ple, the flavours and qual­ity aren’t.

It’s a neigh­bour­hood gro­cery cum deli cum home-style par­lour, serv­ing com­fort food in the truest, comfiest sense.

Toasties hide chunks of sweet home-cooked ham and ooz­ing slightly tangy globs of Cu­latin ched­dar. Sand­wiches have fill­ings of Lis­can­nor crab dressed in crème fraiche, with thin slices of ap­ple and lime and chilli mayo.

There are in­ter­est­ing daily lunch spe­cials, in­clud­ing a “veg­gie wedge”, rem­i­nis­cent of a muf­feletta – the Louisiana sand­wich made by stuff­ing in­gre­di­ents inside a round loaf, Power Plus (but­tered nut­meg spinach, ched­dar, garlic but­ter mush­rooms, creme fraiche and garlic mayo, ¤6.95) are a de­li­cious, and filling – a tri­an­gu­lar take away din­ner. We’ve yet to try the Pep­per­oni Cal­zone but any­thing that mixes pizza and pan­cake gets the thumbs up around here.

MUSASHI SUSHI

15 Capel Street, Dublin 1 01-532 80 68, musashidublin.com Unit 2, Bur­ton Hall, Cus­tom house Square, Mayor St Dublin 1 01-55573 73, ¤ Dublin’s best sushi restau­rant broke our hearts when it opened in far too small a room on Capel Street a few years ago. No book­ings, scant space, you had to el­bow your way in to try their de­li­cious Ebi Tem­pura Masago rolls, sliv­ers of spicy tuna or sashimi se­lec­tion named after Ja­panese flow­ers. Thank­fully its newer, larger sis­ter restau­rant in the IFSC makes it eas­ier to ac­cess this taste of Ja­pan. And the qual­ity

NEON

driz­zling in olive oil and leav­ing overnight. In Ar­ti­san Par­lour, they’ve used char­grilled vegetables, pesto and moz­zarella inside a chewy Firehouse sour­dough (¤5 with sal­ads). Th­ese in­clude a healthy quinoa, lentil and bar­ley mix, and a sweet salad of rib­boned car­rot, pep­pers and spring onion with sesame seeds.

A warm tor­tilla with pata ne­gra chorizo and salad is a savoury steal for ¤4.50.

In the evenings, “Tay” is served, with cod­dle for ¤9.50 and the PBLT (slow-roasted pork belly, let­tuce, tomato) for ¤7.50. You can also get wine – heavy on the Span­ish – with char­cu­terie and cheese boards un­til 8pm of their de­liv­ery menu is ex­cel­lent, recre­at­ing the restau­rant ex­pe­ri­ence, even if you don’t have the cute Ja­panese fur­ni­ture at home.

M&L CHI­NESE

13/14 Cathe­dral St, Dublin 1, (01) 874 8038, mlchi­ne­ser­estau­rant.com ¤ Claim­ing the spot as Dublin’s “most au­then­tic Szechuan restau­rant”, M&L has gar­nered a cult fol­low­ing thanks to its seem­ingly end­less list of tasty, MSG-free dishes. Fans speak in hushed tones of the “Chi­nese-lan­guage menu” that (most likely doesn’t) have ex­tra spe­cial­ties on it. No mat­ter, the English lan­guage one of­fers de­lights such as braised seabass in hot and spicy sauce and steamed ra­zor clams with rice noo­dles. The spicy beef is about 50 per cent chilli – only for the brave of con­sti­tu­tion. 17 Cam­den Street Lower, Dublin, 01-405 2222, neon17.ie ¤ dur­ing the week, 10pm on Fri­days and Satur­days.

Up front the shelves are packed with a va­ri­ety of Ir­ish ar­ti­san pro­duce such as Im­proper But­ter, vy­ing for room with Mediter­ranean spe­cial­i­ties such as Vil­lani Salame Abruzzese and jars of Span­ish ar­ti­chokes.

Ar­ti­san Par­lour, tucked be­hind Ringsend li­brary and along­side Clyne’s craft butch­ers, is a real push back against the glass-fronted con­ve­nience store chains and book­ies’ of­fices creep­ing into the area – and it’s help­ing to bring back a vil­lage feel to this cor­ner of Ringsend. A wel­come, tasty ad­di­tion.

– Rachel Collins It’s a real bone of con­tention, the op­ti­mum tech­nique with which to pull the big­gest ice cream cone. Hours of rowdy re­search have gone into it (and an old Satur­day job pulling end­less cones for tourists may have gone un­men­tioned). Neon brought this all on them­selves of course, with their clever idea of giv­ing you a free, empty cone with ev­ery meal and let­ting you loose on their ice cream ma­chine. Gim­micky, yes. But free ice creams do not a Thai restau­rant make, so just as well their food is as much fun. Fast, spicy Asian favourites of noo­dles, cur­ries, soups and wok-fried dishes, plus an ex­cel­lent, ex­plo­sive duck larb salad for just ¤6.50 (the ice cream comes in handy af­ter­wards)

OUZO’S FISH SHACK

Dún Laoghaire East Pier, 01-210 1000, face­book.com/Ou­zosDublin ¤ Watch­ing the sun go down over Dublin Bay while munch­ing our way through fresh crab claws, lob­ster rolls and fish and chips is on our top-five list of death row meals. This fish shack on the Dún Laoghaire’s East Pier has all of the above (but no death penalty re­quired to sam­ple them). Prices be­low a ten­ner, open from mid­day to sun­set.

PAULIE’S PIZZA

58 Grand Canal Street Up­per, Dublin 4. (01) 664 3658, ju­niors.ie/paulies-pizza.php ¤ Piz­zas just like Mama used to make them (if you share your Mama with Joey Trib­biani, that is). Bustling pizza joint serv­ing up New York-style chewy thin-crust wood-fired piz­zas with a wide range of top­pings – the ‘Ju­nior’ uses but­ter­nut squash puree – some clas­sic Ital­ian pas­tas and sides.

PROBUS WINES

1 Den­zille Lane/26 Fe­nian Street, Dublin 2, 01 6629649, probuswines.ie, ¤ Although tech­ni­cally a wine bar and craft beer store, Probus does a roar­ing trade in

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