With January’s long-awaited payday finally here, we’ve rounded up the most exciting new restaurants to visit this month …
THE DUNMORE, DUBLIN 6
What’s new? The Dunmore opened its in the former Bowery pub building in Rathmines in December 2023. With a sleek interior, industry heavyweights at the helm and a comprehensive cocktail list, it has a lot going for it. On the plate A feast of Irish produce; think Atlantic prawns, Duncannon mussels, Kilmore Quay crab claws, charcoal-cooked meats and a 12oz Delmonico steak that is not for the faint-hearted. On Sunday, a couple of roasts are added to the mix. During the day, there is a lighter menu with a selection of snacks and more casual fare. Did I mention the cocktails? What else? Brother and sister team Clifden and Louise Foyle of renowned seafood restaurant, The Strand Inn in Dunmore East in Waterford are behind this new Dublin venture. Art enthusiast Clifden has exciting plans to line the restaurant’s historic walls with works by emerging, local artists. The Dunmore, 196 Rathmines Road Lower, Dublin 6; www.thedunmore.ie.
KICKY’S, DUBLIN 2
What’s new? Opening at the tail end of 2023, Kicky’s was welcomed with open arms by the Dublin restaurant-going public; restaurant critic Lucinda O’Sullivan urged her followers to “beat a path to Kicky’s”. With festive menus firmly in the rear view mirror, Kicky’s is certainly on my list to try in 2024. On the plate The potato focaccia with carbonara butter is apparently forging a path to superstardom. I have yet to find an oyster variety that I prefer to Flaggy Shore dainties which are also on the menu. If that’s not enough, the Lambay crab cacio e pepe is another dish that is sure to inspire legions of fans. What else? Kicky’s is brought to us courtesy of chef Eric Matthews and his business partner Richie Barrett. The pair have 35 years of hospitality experience between them. Eric was in charge of the kitchen at Michelin-star Chapter One for five years. Chicago-born Richie has also worked in some of Dublin’s most highly regarded restaurants including Etto, Uno Mas (yes, THAT Uno Mas) and Bang. Kicky’s, South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2, 01 906 1008; www.kickys.ie.
YVES AT BROTHER HUBBARD, DUBLIN 6
What’s new? Yves is the new(ish) pop-up at the Ranelagh branch of Brother Hubbard, which opened to much applause late last year. Yves offers French-inspired, casual dining with a dash of flair that has become synonymous with the food in Brother Hubbard, be it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. On the plate The menu typically consists of a selection of small plates, such as the clever dish of beef bourguignon bomba, followed by a choice of five or six larger plates and three sides – one potato dish, one salad and one vegetable dish. There is also a very popular Feast Menu for groups to share and a wide selection of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free choices. Prices are fair too. What else? Yves offers a selection of cocktails and wines by the glass, bottle and carafe. Corkage is just €10 for wine and €2 for beer, which, given the excellent Redmond’s off-licence is practically next door, seems like a no-brainer. Open Wednesday-Friday from 5.30pm. Yves at Brother Hubbard, 27 Ranelagh Village, Dublin 6, 01 441 1112; www.brotherhubbard.ie.
ALLTA, DUBLIN 2
What’s new? As of December 2023, the much revered allta finally has a bricks and mortar location to call its forever home. After memorable pop-up stints that included a summer residency in Slane Castle in 2021 followed by an eclectic pop-up in Trinity Street Car Park, this has been a long time coming and is very good news indeed especially for fans of chef Niall Davidson’s cuisine. Allta, 1 Three Locks Square, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 2; www.allta.ie.
BALLYFIN DEMESNE, CO LAOIS
What’s new? While quite obviously not a new opening, the appointment of superstar chef Richard Picard-Edwards as executive head chef last summer has certainly shaken things up at Ballyfin. Picard-Edwards spent years honing his skill in chic establishments, including Mandarin Oriental Bittescombe Lodge, before joining the Ballyfin brigade. His cooking is confident, cohesive and more importantly, delicious. On the plate Ballyfin boasts no fewer than eight acres of walled gardens. That’s a lot of produce, and what looks good in the garden dictates the menu for the week ahead, alongside a raft of fresh Irish fish, shellfish, beef, pork and poultry from local suppliers. For vegetarians there is a dedicated vegetarian tasting menu. What else? It’s no secret that Ballyfin is one of Ireland’s most exclusive hotels and staying overnight is priced accordingly. What is less well known is what is included in the overnight gourmet offer. Guests are encouraged to arrive at noon for a lavish lunch before checking into their room where other treats include coffee, cakes, a complimentary mini bar and a pre-dinner cocktail. Order the plum gin Negroni. Ballyfin Demesne, Ballyfin, Co Laois, 057 875 5866; www.ballyfin.com