Last night, Editor Caroline and I headed to Crow Street,Dublin’s newest restaurant, serving Irish soul food with an American twist. This latest addition to Temple Bar combines a ground-floor dining experience with a parlour and taproom on the upper level, serving small plates and vintage cocktails.
Crow Street brings a modern twist to traditional Irish fare through a fusion with big Southern States soul food flavours, combining into hearty, comforting dishes. The resturant is warm and welcoming, with friendly, helpful staff and a great selection of drinks, too, including craft beers, wines, liquors, cocktails, bitters and punches.
We found it hard to choose from the menu as everything sounded gorgeously tempting, from the braised pork shoulder soft shell tacos to the breaded monkfish scampi with pea guacamole and lemon and basil aioli.
Eventually we narrowed it down and chose our starters. Caroline went for the warm ham hock and Doherty’s black pudding terrine, served with a crispy hen’s egg and piccalilli, which had a fantastic balance of flavours and textures: smoky meat, unctuous soft egg wrapped in crisp crumbs and tangy piccalilli.
I opted for the spiced calamari with a pink pickled ginger salad and a soy honey dipping sauce; the calamari was tender with a beautifully crunchy coating, while the pink ginger stole the show, its sourness and warmth perfectly matched with the sweet umami of the dipping sauce. Both starters were served in generous portions, though not too much so — we definitely wanted room for the main event.
Delighted to see free range chicken on a menu — which doesn’t happen nearly as often as we would like — we plumped for the fried buttermilk chicken with ranch dressing and kimchi. After consulting with the waiter, we chose the half portion, which turned out to be a drumstick and two breaded cutlets; you would need a serious appetite to eat the full portion! The chicken was succulent and tender thanks to its time spent bathing in buttermilk, and the kimchi added a gorgeous kick.
In the interest of balance (and because we were in desperate need of comfort food after a long, chilly day) we went for the veggie option, too: a celeriac, mushroom and spinach pie with a Gubbeen cheese topping. Creamy, comforting and bubbling around the edges, this was exactly what we wanted, served with a slice of dark brown bread and dressed organic leaves. We also asked for some sides, to share: sweet potato fries (crisp and fluffy, as they should be) and chilli and garlic greens, cooked perfectly al dente.
Although we were very full, we ploughed ahead and shared a dessert (don’t say we don’t work hard for you guys!). The apple and rhubarb nut crumble wasn’t overbearingly sweet and had a lovely, sticky crumble topping, finished with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some berries.
All in all, this was a thoroughly enjoyable dining experience — quality comfort food in warm, comfortable surroundings, and in a fantastic central location just off Dame Street. Crow Street serves dinner seven nights from 5-11pm. Service will be extended in time, and lunch and brunch will be added. For more information, see www.crowstreet.ie.