Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Monday, April 20, 2015

[Review] Taco Taco, Dame Court, Dublin 2

Bank holiday weekends are great in Dublin. A lot of people have left the city which means that it's easier to get tables in restaurants and easier to find taxis. Even Dublin's hottest, newest pop-up restaurant Taco Taco was largely empty on Easter Sunday, which is always good in a restaurant that doesn't take reservations. 

Taco Taco comes from the team behind San Lorenzo's, namely chef Temple Gardner and promoter Anthony Remedy. The incredible success of the San Lorenzo's #brunchofchampions convinced them that there was a need for a pop-up restaurant for the brunch crowd and hence Taco Taco was born. It's located on the ground and basement floors of the Odessa building on Dame Court. The ground floor isn't large, and the tables are relatively small. But that doesn't matter somehow. This is a restaurant for the younger people, who want an easy, casual meal, preferably accompanied by some killer cocktails and tunes. 

Maryland crab cakes (€11.95) were chunky patties of fresh crab meat, served simply with a rocket salad and sweet chili sauce. A retro-inspired pint of prawns was a real treat, inviting us to peel the shells away from the sweet, plump prawns (€11.95), while a little pot of sriracha mayo provided a touch of heat. A simple but great start to the meal.
Maryland crab cakes
Pint of prawns with sriracha mayo
All our group ended up ordering from the taco section of the menu, but there are plenty of options to be found such as super nachos or the epic sounding Kansas City truck stop burger. The taco selection ranges from €14 for a halloumi vegetarian option all the way to €23 for tuna sashimi tacos. I initially thought that the prices seemed a little steep, but decided to reserve judgement until later. Our small table rapidly piled up with plates as orders arrived from the kitchen, including five spice Chinese duck tacos (€16.95), shrimp popcorn tacos (€18.95) and Jamaican jerk chicken (€14.95).

Everything was pretty tasty, but for me, the portions were far too large. By the time I had eaten one jerked chicken taco, I simply had had enough. I'd personally rather pay per individual taco and create a selection based on what I fancy. 

Side portions of poutine fries (a Quebecois favourite of french fries topped with gravy and cheese curds) were simply stellar. In the Taco Taco world, the poutine fries are crunchy pieces of scalloped potato topped with smokey bacon, black pepper sauce and mozzarella (€3.50). Top notch indulgence food. 
Jamaican jerk chicken taco
Five spice Chinese duck taco
Popcorn shrimp taco
Pineapple and chili salsa 
Poutine fries
The famous San Lorenzo's Nutella cheesecake is available on the Taco Taco menu (€7.95) for the die-hard fans. However, my eyes were firmly on the salt caramel popcorn option (€6.00). Now, I don't know which genius came up with the idea for this dish, but awards have been given for less. A combination of popcorn, lashings of salted caramel sauce and scoops of peanut butter ice-cream results in a dessert that is definitely not for children. Like the poutine fries, I found myself thinking of this dish long after leaving. 
San Lorenzo's Nutella chocolate cheesecake
Salt caramel popcorn with peanut butter icecream
Multiple rounds of margarita later (one of which managed to end up in my handbag!), we staggered out of Taco Taco. We were full and we were happy. Bizarrely, the tacos were not the star of the show for me, although I did particularly enjoy the popcorn shrimp variation. They were just too big and "too much of one thing". But I definitely will return for another look at the non-taco section of the menu, and most definitely for the poutine and popcorn dessert.

UPDATE: I've been informed by Anthony Remedy that the kitchen at Taco Taco is quite small, and they just can't handle the individual taco idea. So if you want to experience many different tacos, get in there as part of a group and order loads!

Taco Taco, 14 Dame Court, Dublin 2
Tel: +353 (0)83 449 9584
Twitter: @TacoTacoDublin

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