A selection of the best restaurants as chosen by Rachel Collins
K CHIDO MEXICO
18 Chancery Street, Dublin 7, kchidomexico.com ¤ Puppies aren’t just for Christmas, and burritos aren’t just for dinner – and you’ll soon see why on a visit to K Chido. Amble down behind the Four Courts (hopefully you don’t have an appointment inside) and you’ll find the pink and blue K Chido streetfood truck in a laneway off Chancery Street, facing Chancery Park and that gorgeous art-deco singlestorey building you’ve passed a million times and forgot to notice. Go on, look again. We digress – back to breakfast, or “bruncheria” if you’re eating at the weekend. They may be serving the best breakfast burritos in town here – for a paltry fiver you can get a toasted tortilla wrap, straining to hold the mounds of rice, salsa, beans, egg, chorizo or bacon (or chorizo and bacon!) with cheese (veggie version available). A spicy kickstart to the day, bettered only by the
the sloppy, spicy Mexican version of a fry up, with a couple of soft corn tortillas holding salsa, drunken beans, cheese, onion relish, chorizo or bacon and a pair of perfectly fried eggs (¤7.95/ ¤9.45 with meat/ ¤10.45 with some extra rice or papas locas). Breakfast with drunken beans and crazy fried potatoes? Always a hit.
If you come later in the day, try the (¤6) a stew made from butternut squash and marbled pinto beans, served with avocado, sour cream and Mexican rice, or the pulled pork tacos, with ridiculously tasty chipotle citrus pork inside gluten-free tortillas, with sala, onion, avocado, rice and refried beans (¤7). You can eat on the brightest homemade furniture in town – it helps that the laneway is a sun trap – or if the park is open across the road (8am to 4pm on week days, never on weekends), head in and make a picnic of it.
KI RAUDO SUSHI & BENTO
185 Townsend Street, Dublin 2, 01-5570728 ¤ With seating for just 15 people, this tiny new Japanese restaurant has moved into a somewhat doomed location. This premises seems to change hands every other week, never with any success. KiRaudo seems different though. A complete facelift, excellent staff, and the ability to eat in, in comfortable – if cosy – surroundings all help to make this look like a place that will stick. They cleverly launched with just two menu items, giving them a chance to find their feet. There’s a regular bento and a vegetarian version. Both are ¤8.99. Both boxes include a bowl (or take away container) of good miso, some fried gyoza, a couple of pieces of norimaki, a hot main dish and a secondary meat dish or salad. Kyoto ribs were a little too fatty but the spicy sauce is good. A chicken (tasty morsels fried til the battered coating is nicely crispy) is good, although strangely served on a salad with mustard dressing. Stir-fried vegetables are really good – fresh and still crisp and full of bite. A Thai-style vegetable dish is too bland. Better to stick with the Japanese favourites. A sushi menu is launched a couple of days ago, and a full menu is due to start next week, to include ramen and tempura. As a nice touch, a green tea is given to everyone waiting for take-out, although we’re not sure how long that will last, considering there was a queue to the door on our visit.
22 South Great George’s Street, Dublin 2, 01-679 7821, facebook.com/ simonsplacecafe ¤ A longtime favourite of musicians, students, actors, artists, stall holders from George’s Street Arcade and (on this rare occasion, the word is warranted) an eclectic bunch of loyal customers, Simon’s Place is a Dublin institution on the corner of George’s Street and the arcade. With large windows looking in on the cafe, its walls plastered with old gig posters, its wooden chairs and large communal tables, there’s a great atmosphere and great music.
The menu is as consistent as the vibe – honest-to-goodness doorstep sandwiches, with old-school fillings, such as chicken, lettuce, spring onions, tomato (¤4.90 eat in). Or for the same price, swap out the chicken for egg, or ham, or tuna or cheese. Salads come in half portions (¤2.20) and three- and four-per-plate servings (¤5.90, ¤7.50) or try the General Vegetable soup (¤4.50) – a hot bowl of goodness that can help banish the most stubborn of sniffles. You’ll often find gigs here in the evenings and you can expect to queue at lunchtime. Make sure you leave room for one of the ridiculously good cinnamon buns (¤2.20).
46 Harrington Street, Dublin 8, 01-441 6596, sistersadie.ie ¤ The little sister to the unstoppable Brother Hubbard juggernaut over on Capel Street, Sadie moved into the Harrington Street premises vacated by Café Tiesan and quickly made it her own, with some great interiors by Designgoat. Open for breakfast from 7.45am, the elder sibling’s influence is evident in the menu (they’ve nicked his Turkish eggs, for one), but Sadie stands on her own two feet and you can get some proper porridge (as opposed to prison slop) that comes with extras such as toasted seeds and crystallised ginger, cream and honey, or apple, berry and sweet geranium compote (¤3.95).
There’s a daily warm salad for lunch (served with sourdough and hummus, ¤9.95),such as chickpea with roast butternut squash, chard and poached eggs. The lunch meal deal (¤9.95) is good value for the ravenous, with a sambo, soup or salad box for main, with soup or salad for a side and a drink. There’s some seriously good coconut and citrus cakes (¤3.60), or go full-glutton and try the hot chocolate, which is presented in two jugs; pour chocolate ganache from one and chocolate milk from the other and mix to your heart’s desire. Weekend brunch is the time to linger over those Turkish eggs menemen (¤9.95), served from 10am to 4pm Saturdays and Sundays.