And this is a great thing. I’m so happy to see these trends fading away and making room for new, exciting opportunities.
As a big lover of food (any of my friends can tell you this) I’m beyond relieved to see more exciting things in Dublin. For a while now, we’ve had burritos, which were a huge trend a few years ago. But do you not find them boring now?
The same goes for these speed salads. Yes, they’re great and much healthier but there’s nothing remarkable about sweet potato and sun flower seeds in a salad.
It’s places that offer something completely different, like Token in Smithfield or a classic such as Vintage Cocktail Club in Temple Bar, that have and will always have a hold on people. It’s because they are businesses that don’t try to beat around the bush what they are yet have made something unique. And that seems to be what we’re craving in Dublin – uniqueness.
Token, which opened June 2017, is for geeks, they relish in that fact and make it almost like a safe haven for those who are addicted to video games – especially retro games. That is their hook and no where in Dublin has tried to rival that. Perhaps P Macs in Dundrum Town Centre but no where near the same level as Token. But to be like Token, you need the same high quality of food. I don’t know their chef but he is some sexy fella with the spread he puts on. If you’ve never been turned on by food, this will awaken you. From their mac ‘n cheese nuggs to their succulent vegan (yes, VEGAN) tenders, it’s street food that makes you happy. You especially need to try their bacon jam and parmesan fries.
Vintage Cocktail Club has been around for years and yet still draws in a huge crowd. They’ve been open since 2012 and six years later it feels like they’ve been around since the 1920s. Hidden behind a black door, that you have most definitely walked by and never noticed, is a whole other world. In Dublin, we’re blessed to have such amazing and diverse bars but none are as exclusive and as much of an experience as VCC. As someone who applied for a job there, I can assure you they only hire the best from the hostess that greets you at the door to the cooks creating the fabulous meals. And the bartenders? They may be young but you could swear they were mixing drinks in the womb – nonalcoholic, of course.
What I’m trying to say, while giving my two favourite spots in Dublin a shout out, is that these places found a niche and have done it so well that no where else is trying to recreate it in Dublin. (Yes, there is a spot down in Cork trying to rival Token but you can’t beat the original.) But donuts? Burritos? Bloody SALAD? These things are so easy to recreate.
The next big thing in Dublin is going to be toasties, I can sense it, but just like donuts they are easy to recreate and make exciting. Right now Meltdown on South William Street is doing a fantastic job and props has to go to Maeve O’Malley, the strong woman who is behind it – their Instagram is empowering but makes me so hungry as well. But I’m sad to say there is definitely going to be more toastie places popping up. It’s an Irish comfort and something that Grogans just a few doors down have been doing for decades. It’ll soon stretch across the Liffey and before you know it there’ll be a cheese shortage.
We’re not a creative bunch, it seems, so I’m thankful that we do have the odd, stand out eatery that is unique and unrivalled. I just hope these “trend” foods die out and we can see more creative things on the menu.
Emma’s Favourite Unique Dublin Restaurants
- Token, Queen Street
- Vintage Cocktail Club, Temple Bar
- Bread And Bones, Bachelor’s Walk
- Izakaya, George’s Street,
- Bao, Aungier Street
- Poke by Niall Sabongi, Capel Street
- Hang Dai, Camden Street
- 777, George’s Street
- The Meat Wagon, Smithfield Square
- Fish Shop, Benburb Street