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

2-3 Drury Street, Dublin 2, tel: 01-679 9009, su­per­miss­ €€

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 is 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.

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