DUBLIN

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

THAT’S AMORE

107 Monkstown Road, Dublin, 01-2845400, that­samore­monkstown.ie ¤ That’s Amore is one of the most au­then­tic Ital­ian eater­ies in Dublin and even its en­dear­ingly cheesy name can’t take that away. Squeezed into a tiny space in Monkstown vil­lage, just a short walk from the Dart sta­tion, this vi­brant lit­tle restau­rant is burst­ing with the flavour and per­son­al­ity of Italy.

Own­ers Sil­via Leo and Marco Va­leri run an Ital­ian Deli out of this space too, which means that the in­gre­di­ents for lunch and din­ner are flown in from their favourite sup­pli­ers from the home­land. They have one of those huge books of a menu with plas­tic pages filled with some familiar favourites and some dishes slightly less trav­elled; there’s an­tipasti misto (¤11.50) along­side a carpac­cio di pesca spada (¤11.95 for sliced smoked sword­fish). There is home­made gnoc­chi, tonnarello and penne on the pasta menu (rang­ing in price from ¤11.95 to ¤16.95). The piz­zas are hand-stretched and stone-baked. They’re also enor­mous. Try the Capric­ciosa (¤14.95), a grilled ar­ti­chokes, boiled egg and Parma ham beauty that will take up nearly the whole ta­ble yet some­how you won’t be able to stop your­self from eat­ing it all. With­out help. There are daily spe­cials as well, and the fluffy slice of creamy tiramisu (¤6.95) I had there was

one of the best I’ve had ever eaten. There is a smat­ter­ing of chairs out­side and, if you crane your neck, you can just about see the sea. Ex­pect squished but con­vivial pa­trons, charis­matic pizza chefs and that sense of la dolce vita the minute you walk through the door.

AMcE

PUN­NET FOOD EM­PO­RIUM 95 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2, 087-1671711, pun­net.ie ¤

This small U-shaped premises starts out as a health food store, reaches a cof­fee dock and juic­ing sta­tion and takes a sharp turn right to a deli and an in­door seat­ing area. Far nicer on th­ese spring morn­ings is to take a seat out­side and watch the work­ers scur­ry­ing along. Open from 7.30am to 6pm, Mon­day to Fri­day (week­ends are in the pipe­line), Pun­net is packed from first light. It’s one of the few places in the area of­fer­ing ex­cel­lent cof­fees (hand roasted by McCabes in Co Wick­low) and a huge range of Pukka and Clip­per teas. They stock more than 50 flavours and if you don’t find one you like be­hind the counter, you’re in­vited to grab a box from the shop and they’ll make it for you.

There’s a fridge of cold pressed juices for ¤5 a pop. The cel­ery, cu­cum­ber, gin­ger, spinach, kale, ap­ple, lime and av­o­cado is very good. They do 3- and 5-day cleanses (¤75-¤130) and peo­ple are col­lect­ing their al­lo­ca­tion on the morn­ing we visit. Break­fast comes in a pot, wrap or bowl. Opt for the wrap (¤3.95), which is loaded with fresh av­o­cado, quinoa, egg, beet­root, tomato and sage pesto, and will keep you go­ing long past lunchtime. Although lunch is pretty tasty too: there’s a se­lec­tion of wraps, in­clud­ing a healthy seaweed wrap (us­ing nori sheets in­stead of bread) with broc­coli, av­o­cado, car­rot, gin­ger, quinoa and leaves (¤5) and some in­ter­est­ing salad boxes with a choice of one leaf, serv­ings of veg­eta­bles, one meat and one sauce for ¤6.95. There’s some home­made pro­tein balls (¤3.95) and some of the health­i­est caramel slices around, made with al­monds, co­conut oil, maple syrup, tahini and other healthy in­gre­di­ents. They’re not cheap at ¤3.95 each, but the bur­geon­ing health food mar­ket and rise in Pa­leo die-hards have proven a real money spin­ner in Ire­land and peo­ple are happy to stump up for high-pro­tein treats. An­other trend avail­able at Pun­net is “Bul­let­proof cof­fee”: black cof­fee with un­salted but­ter and “Brain Oc­tane Oil”. Pro­po­nents claim the creamy combo turns your cup of cof­fee into a po­tent source of health and en­ergy. Yes, I don’t buy it ei­ther. But oth­ers do and two peo­ple or­der a cup (¤3.50) while I’m queu­ing for my bog stan­dard – and very sat­is­fy­ing – Americano (¤2.60).

SU­PER MISS SUE

2-3 Drury Street, Dublin 2, tel: 01-679 9009, su­per­miss­sue.com ¤¤ From the same sta­ble as 777, Dillingers and The Butcher Grill, John Far­rell had big plans for this cor­ner build­ing on Drury Street – to in­clude Cervi, an old-style Ital­ian fish and chip shop, a ca­sual seafood café, and a more for­mal restau­rant (this hasn’t ma­te­ri­alised yet). He’s had plan­ning and power is­sues, and sub­se­quently opened a “pop­down” restau­rant in the base­ment. Now the ca­sual ground-floor café has had a menu over­hall, with a strong Caribbean in­flu­ence. There’s a lovely, airy dining room here although seat­ing is limited (we are brought be­hind the bar to reach our far ta­ble, so as not to disturb a large group). A square booth is prob­a­bly the best seat in the house on a cold, wet evening.

There is a long ice bar hold­ing fresh fish – which still fea­tures heav­ily on the new menu – on the smaller plates, fried gam­bas with a sweet red pep­per vinai­grette (¤10) come fat and well cooked, some shell on, oth­ers shell off. There are some ex­cel­lent crab claws (¤10), braised in cast-iron pot with a rich, mor­eish “shell­fish and tomato ragout” and some very good sour­dough.

The Caribbean in­flu­ence is less ev­i­dent in the smaller dishes, although there was a nod east in some sticky duck wings (¤10) – far su­pe­rior to their chicken cousins – which came with a gin­ger and mango sauce and topped with lots of chilli and gar­lic (no kiss­ing af­ter th­ese).

The heat turns up in the mains, with char­grilled Jerk poussin with but­tered yams and scal­lions (¤19) and a black­ened sword­fish burger with mango (¤18). We opted for a rich West In­dian glazed beef short rib (¤22) – fat and heavy on a rather whop­ping rib bone – served with roasted pineap­ple, spices and dressed lib­er­ally with crushed peanuts.

Best of the mains was a whole sea bass (¤19), coated in panko and fried crispy on the out­side, while still de­li­ciously del­i­cate in­side – propped on a bowl of sweet and sour black beans. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see the fi­nal phase open­ing at this spot, pos­si­bly later this year.

TACO TACO

14 Dame Court, Dublin 2. tel: 083-449 9584, taco­ta­co­dublin.com ¤¤ Mex­i­can food makes money in Ire­land. Chains such as Pablo Pi­cante, Boo­jum and Lit­tle Ass can’t keep the bur­ri­tos and fa­ji­tas com­ing fast enough. Cheap, cheer­ful, fresh and fill­ing, it’s ideal fast food. Taco taco is a pop-up restau­rant run by the team be­hind San Lorenzo’s on Ge­orge’s Street. Th­ese guys know a trend when they see one, hav­ing queues out the door on the back of their #brun­chofcham­pi­ons hash­tag on so­cial me­dia last year.

So they’ve turned their at­ten­tion to tacos in the old Odessa bu­lid­ing on Dame Court. It looks very much the same as the old Odessa – for­giv­able when it’s a tem­po­rary set-up – with ban­quettes along the walls and lots of 4-top ta­bles in the cen­tre. Mu­sic is great and on the night we visit it’s busy all evening (in­clud­ing a few lost souls seek­ing Odessa, which has moved up onto the first floor).

The menu com­prises a hand­ful of starters – Mary­land crab cakes (¤11.95), sweet and sour chicken noo­dle soup (¤.6.95); mains in­clude half-adozen tacos and a few other

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