Five signature dishes of Dublin
Published: 4 January 2018
So strong is the association with the fine booze that Dublin has contributed to the world, that we may forget it also serves food. And what eats too; its diverse residents and forward-thinking locals mean that it's embraced culinary trends - the result being that its restaurants are of consistently high quality.
But venture a little further out of the centre and the real Dublin begins to show. Gone are the pulled pork brioches and salted caramel terrines. Instead, the gastronomy tells the story of its weather: it's cold, rains a lot, and that means the menu items unique to Dublin revolve around comfort food. So when you're next in Ireland's capital, ignore the no-carbs rule and tuck into these tasty treats.
OK we admit it - this entry is a cheat's way of showcasing all of Ireland's mighty meat in one fell swoop. The carvery is a Dublin favourite, most often visited on a Sunday after mass. When mammies don't want the pain of cooking a Sunday roast or when the extended family get together for a meal, it's off to the carvery. O'Neills on Suffolk Street is wildly famous for its top quality carveries, and in the outskirts of Dublin the meals are found at the local hotel restaurant. Expect mounds of beef, pork, lamb or turkey served with one or two types of potatoes, cabbage, and boiled veg, all drowned in thick gravy.
It will shock no one to announce that burritos aren't native to Dublin - but their ubiquity might suggest they are. Since arriving on the scene about five years ago, burrito bars have become the fast food of choice in Dublin thanks to their delicious balance of melty ingredients, piquant flavours and a kick of spice to add heat to each bite. Boojum, which has three locations across Dublin, is the most popular place for the Mexican wraps. But we have a soft spot for Burritos'n'Blues, found at the IFSC and Wexford Street, because of their liberal lashings of top-drawer guacamole.
Cheese and ham toastie
If Dublin was defined by one meal, it would be the cheese and ham toastie. It's a pleasure that's all the more satisfying because of its simplicity. Even a fine dining experience wouldn't be able to upgrade from bubbling slices of regional cheese and thick cuts of ham melted between white bread that's soft on the inside and lightly brown on the outside. For an authentic experience, it's best served in a pub, along with a pint of Guinness and side of Tayto crisps for good measure.
Even though it's not a food item, hot toddies are such an institution in Dublin it would be remiss not to mention them. While tourists may have a different view of Dublin pubs, locals use them as a communal living room. So even when they're not A-ok, you'll find them down the pub, just to connect with their community - and that's what makes hot toddies a must-have on occasion. If a patron is coming down with a cold or if the weather is miserable, the mix of whisky, hot water, lemon and cloves is a pick-me-up that even mums subscribe to.
Arguably not Dublin's finest moment, breakfast rolls are the mainstay of construction workers but adopted more widely. That means the calorietastic sandwich won't go away, whether they're in the midst of the Celtic Tiger or in economic difficulty. Here's the not-so secret recipe: go to the deli counter of the local Spar, where they'll butter and fill a demi-baguette with sliced sausages, bacon, fried egg, tomato and hash browns. Add ketchup or brown sauce. Vary according to individual quirks (may we suggest egg mayo instead of fried egg, which pastes the fillings together). Eat. Feel sick. Repeat. You're now a Dubliner.