DUBLIN

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - SEVEN DAYS -

147 DELI

147 Par­nell Street, Dublin 1, 01-872 8481, face­book.com/ 147deli­par­nell ¤ For­get your soggy Spar sand­wich, for some real love in the soup- and-sambo field, you need a place like 147 Deli, where they take the lunchtime sta­ples very, very se­ri­ously. There isn’t a meat they won’t smoke, slow roast and cram into a sand­wich here (this week it was slow-roasted beef top­side, pulled and served in a toasted whole­meal wrap with chipo­tle slaw and pineap­ple hot sauce, ¤6.50) Or a re­cent humdinger, a pimped-out ham & cheese (home smoked and shred­ded ham hock with gruyer, spring onion and mus­tard béchamel on toasted sour­dough, ¤6.50). Or the Reuben, which could very eas­ily pass it­self in Katz’s Deli in New York (not sure they’re as chilled about fak­ing or­gasms on Par­nell Street as they are on the Lower East Side though). Soups are hearty: think In­dian cauliflower and lentil or Mex­i­can pork & bean, (you can get a sambo and por­tion of soup for ¤7.50) and if you work in Dublin 1, they’ll even de­liver to your of­fice.

BLAS CAFÉ

The Choco­late Fac­tory, 26 Kings Inn Street, Dublin 1 01-873 6022, blas­cafe.ie ¤ Based in the art gallery, event space and cre­ative com­mu­nity of The Choco­late Fac­tory, Blas Café is a new ven­ture in a gor­geous room on the ground floor of the build­ing. It’s all high ceil­ings, low hang­ing light­bulbs, art­work, com­mu­nal ta­bles and comfy chairs. For now it has a ba­sic menu: soup, sam­bos (two meaty, two veg­gie) and a hot dish. Sand­wiches come on fresh Tar­tine Bak­ery bread, and in­clude fill­ings such as ar­ti­choke with parme­san, grilled pep­pers and cour­gette (¤5.95) and chicken chipo­tle served with salad (¤6.95). There are im­pos­si­bly beau­ti­ful cakes from the Wild Flour Bak­ery and house­made le­mon slices. Hot dishes change all the time but you can ex­pect treats such as eggs Ber­ber with Mer­guez sausage and lots of warm­ing stews. It’s open from 8am on week­days, and you can get a pot of por­ridge for just ¤1, with top­pings of Greek yo­ghurt, rasp­berry coulis and gra­nola for an ex­tra 50c to ¤1.

BRASSERIE LE PONT

26 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2, 01 669 4600, brasseriele­pont.ie ¤¤¤ A lovely spot for a spe­cial Last week, we looked at healthy eat­ing dur­ing the sea­son of ex­cess. Now that’s out of the way, let’s get down to the se­ri­ous business of the Christ­mas catch-up. Over af­ter­noon pints, mouth-scald­ing toasties, bowls of pip­ing hot chow­der, the next two weeks are cozy chat prime time. And there’s no bet­ter way to wel­come home em­i­grant sib­lings, catch up with old school friends or get the goss from your flat­mate that you saw . . . oh, two hours ago . . . than over a creamy pint and one of Ire­land’s finest culi­nary of­fer­ings: the toastie.

First port of call in Dublin has to be Cas­tle Lounge (15 South Wil­liam Street, Dublin 2, 01-677 9320) which has long been re­garded as the best spot in town for a pint and a toastie, and with good rea­son. With no TV, no mu­sic, just wall-to-wall char­ac­ters, some­times ques­tion­able art and pos­si­bly the small­est toi­lets in Ire­land, Gro­gan’s is an in­sti­tu­tion, and their toasted spe­cial (ham, cheese, tomato and onion on the whitest of white bread, ¤4.30) is a win­ner. Served with a pot of Cole­man’s English mus­tard, there may be noth­ing fancy about them, but boy are they sat­is­fy­ing. Up the road is (1 John­son Place, Dublin 2, tel: 01-679 3347 pe­ter­spub.ie), a great lit­tle pub that can barely hold the crowds that try to cram in here at Christ­mas. It will be stand­ing room only when you or­der a ham and cheese spe­cial on brown or white bread (¤4.90). Be warned, you might have to suck in your stom­ach af­ter­wards if you plan on stay­ing put.

For some other sug­ges­tions, we love il­lus­tra­tor Eoin Whele­han’s ex­cel­lent Toastie Map of Dublin, see iti.ms/1sd­pA0f

For cosy pints, there’s a new app called that has just launched (pub­swith­afire.com), point­ing you in the di­rec­tion of pubs with . . . you’ve guessed it. It’s mostly Dublin-based for now, but you can send sug­ges­tions via Twit­ter (@pub­swith­afire) to help

Gro­gan’s

Peter’s Pub

Pubs With a Fire,

oc­ca­sion, Brasserie Le Pont is in a great lo­ca­tion the cor­ner of Fitzwilliam Place, Leeson Street Bridge and Wil­ton Ter­race. Head chef James Doyle serves up clas­sic French cui­sine in this calm, un­der­stated din­ing room (it also has one of the loveli­est ter­races in Dublin). Ex­pect black sole me­u­niere style (fried and served in a brown but­ter sauce with le­mon), seared king scal­lops (¤27), an ex­cel­lent 8oz fil­let steak (¤33) and you can be sure duck will make an ap­pear­ance. Desserts are typ­i­cally French: crème brûlée, choco­late pots, French cheese. There’s a pre-the­atre menu (¤25 for two cour­ses, ¤29 for three) but lunch is your best bet to take ad­van­tage of that ter­race (the set lunch is the pop­u­late the Google Maps-based app. Of the en­tries so far, we heartily agree with in the Cen­tral Ho­tel, in Clon­tarf and the

on Black­horse Av­enue, be­side Phoenix Park, for a quiet af­ter­noon pint after a stroll in the park.

If you’re still peck­ish, a bowl of steam­ing chow­der is about as Dublin as you can get (save a bowl of cod­dle) and you’ll get a great of­fer­ing at (32 Pem­broke Street Lower, Dublin 01 676 2980, matt­thethresher.ie). It can be pricey here, and has a crowd to match, but its ex­cel­lent chow­der makes it worth a trip. A

Bar Byrne’s Hole in the Wall

same price as the pre-the­atre menu).

CAR­LUC­CIOS The Li­brary

Harry

Matt The Thresher

52 Daw­son Street, Dublin, Dublin 2 01-6333 957, car­luc­cios.com/ restau­rants/dublin ¤ One of an in­ter­na­tional chain of Ital­ian restau­rants owned by Ital­ian-born, UK-based An­to­nio Car­luc­cio this bright blue cor­ner spot is loud and bustling from the get-go, with break­fast start­ing at 7.30am on week­days and 9am on Sun­days. Try the large, sweet slices of toasted panet­tone, the ir­re­sistible Ital­ian fruit bread (¤3.95), or you can join lunchtime rush clam­ber­ing for take aways from the gro­cery and deli at the front – we rec­om­mend the caponata, a dense, oily Si­cil­ian aubergine salad. For din­ner, the in­de­ci­sive will love the trio di pasta – where you can share your choice of three of the 12 pasta dishes on the menu for ¤27.95. The Gi­adriniera with cour­gette, chilli and fried spinach balls is good, and all pasta dishes are avail­able gluten-free.

DUCK

large bowl, packed with gen­er­ous lumps of meaty white and smoked fish, mus­sels and served with ex­cel­lent malt brown bread, is a meal in it­self for ¤7.50.

(2–3 Drury Street Car Park, Drury Street, Dublin 2, 01 679 9009 info@su­permis­ssue.com) also does a great bowl of chow­der. You won’t be able to linger as long here, as ta­bles are at a pre­mium, but for ¤7, the SMS Chow­der has lib­eral amounts of sal­mon and mus­sels sit­ting in slightly soupy creamy sauce. Plus, you’re smack in the cen­tre of town once you’re done for an easy tran­si­tion to the next venue. – Rachel Collins

Su­per Miss Sue

15 Fade St, Dublin 2, 01-6718484, duck.ie ¤ You know what you’re get­ting into in a place called Duck. No mess­ing. Just eat the duck. And so we did, in this lit­tle Hong Kong BBQ joint on Fade Street. The duck comes out of a “bul­let oven” , which roasts hang­ing meat in such a way that leaves it juicy on the inside, with shiny crispy skin on the out­side. Roast duck, pork and chicken cooked in the bul­let with rice, noo­dles or veg­gies costs ¤6.95 or ¤8.95. Sides in­clude duck pan­cakes (¤4.95) and Hong Kong-style noo­dles (¤3.95). Or you can get large meat-only boxes (which we did) with tra­di­tional duck for ¤20/¤13, char siu pork (¤10), soy chicken (¤15) or crispy pork belly (¤10). The duck, chopped into chunks with a cleaver, comes with hoi sin sauce (lots of condi­ments here, in­clud­ing plum, chilli oil, sweet chilli). On the night we visit, the duck is too fatty with too much bone and gris­tle. The pork belly, how­ever, was ex­cel­lent, with the crispi­est crack­ling and an in­tensely meaty broth for dip­ping. Per­haps they might con­sider a name change to Pig . . .

EAST SIDE TAV­ERN

104 / 105 Leeson Street Lower, 01-678 9529, east­side­tav­ern.ie ¤¤ New kid on the block, East Side Tav­ern (in the old Al­fie Mul­li­gan’s pub on the on the cor­ner of Leeson Street and Stephen’s Green) opened just last month and prom­ises a “restau­rant-stan­dard kitchen” with a New York-style east side bar. It’s rid­ing the wave of craft beers and whiskeys (more than 250) and cer­tainly chan­nels east Vil­lage bars, with ex­posed brick­work, leather seats and lots of dis­tressed and sal­vaged in­te­ri­ors.

They’ve got an ex­press lunch from noon to 2pm – three cour­ses in 45 min­utes for ¤16 (soup or salad to start, mains in­clud­ing pie of the day with triple cooked chips, beer bat­tered cod or lamb ragu, and desserts in­clud­ing churros and “beeramisu”) All this in 45 min­utes is a brave prom­ise. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see if they can follow through when it’s busy. The din­ner menu takes a jump in price with pan-fried hake, pressed potato, root puree and al­mond and brown but­ter (¤22) or spaghetti mari­nara (¤24). They’ve a nice char­cu­terie se­lec­tion, in­clud­ing Gubeen chorizo with pick­led raisins (¤8), pressed pork cro­quettes with black pud­ding, lardo, ap­ple and fen­nel salad (¤8.50) and a ham hock ter­rine with car­rot mousse (¤5). On the cock­tail front, their Old Fash­ioned has al­ready gar­nered praise.

HAILAN

65 Dame Street, Dublin 2, 01 764-5722, face­book.com/ hailanko­rean ¤ We’ve been hear­ing good things about this Dame Street off­shoot of the Capel Street Korean restau­rant of the same name and fi­nally made it there last week­end. De­spite the foul weather out­side, there was a queue out the door, and with good rea­son. We had a very good bibim­bap (a Korean favourite of rice served in a stoneware bowl with vegetables, fried beef, a soft fried egg and a pot of gochu­jang chili pep­per paste to sea­son it, ¤9.90). Dumplings come in fives and 10s and can be steamed or pan-fried – the cour­gette and prawn (¤9.90) were the tasti­est of the ones we tried. The hit of the evening was a siz­zling dish of fried pork and kim­chi, the Korean na­tional dish of fer­mented cab­bage (¤12.50). The spicy, wafer thin strips of pork were of the “so good I don’t mind burn­ing my tongue” va­ri­ety. Por­tions are large, staff are un­fail­ingly friendly – a real gem. Book ahead.

MOURNE SEAFOOD BAR

Mil­len­nium Tower, Char­lotte Quay, Dublin 2 01-668 8862, mour­ne­seafood.com ¤¤ This is the lat­est in the sta­ble of Mourne restau­rants (there’s one in Belfast, one in Dun­drum, Co Down). They source all their shell­fish from their own beds at Car­ling­ford Lough, Co Down, so oys­ters and mus­sels fea­ture heav­ily on the menu. A great lo­ca­tion, over­look­ing Grand Canal Dock – it was stand­ing room only on the ter­race when the bar opened this sum­mer, but the win­ter chill has helped to calm things a bit. It’s split into a bar area and more for­mal

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