I got a little bit excited recently. That kind of excitement usually only happens to me when I get near the vicinity of real Chinese food. As a result, Capel Street and Parnell Street have the kind of effect on me that you normally only get when purchasing illegal pharmaceuticals. Show me genuine Sichuan or Hunan food, or some top notch dim sum and I am one happy lady.
So you can imagine that my ears perked up when I heard about The Lucky Tortoise, a dumpling and dim sum pop-up at The Hill Pub in Ranelagh. Firstly, I really enjoy the Hill Pub. Friends and owners Derek Marsden and Darragh Nugent have done a great job revitalising this traditional pub with superb pub food and a fantastic selection of craft beers. Secondly... dumplings! Thom Lawson, the man behind the Lucky Tortoise, is bringing his creative take on high quality and affordable food to the historical tradition of the dumpling and dim sum.
The menu is simple with a selection of starters, dumplings, sides and dipping sauces. You can order a la carte, or for €25 you can sample everything. We opt for the kitchen sink and we sit back with some excellent fruity gin cocktails, designed to match the food. Spicy, dark prawn crackers, stickily sweet chicken wings in "Lucky Glaze" and salted edamame beans fill the gap nicely as we wait for the dumplings to arrive.
And the tsunami overwhelms us. A steady stream of little dishes arrive at the table. Perfectly steamed pork and chive dumplings, made with locally sourced Dublin Bay prawns, and their pan-friend cousins, the lamb and scallion potstickers. Beautifully folded and lightly crispy coconut chicken siu mai and seriously crunchy chicken and lime pillows. Puffed up korean rice cakes (beloved of Momofoku in New York) and crunchy fresh kimchi. But the star mention goes to the korokke, a Japanese take on the croquette. Crab korokke are airy as a cloud, while shimeji (mushroom) korokke are richly intense, replete with umami earthiness.
|Crispy chicken and lime pillows|
|Crab korokke and shimeji (mushroom) korokke|
|Pork and chive steamed dumplings|
|Coconut chicken siu mai|
We left the Lucky Tortoise stuffed to the gills. You might not think that dumplings and dipping sauces would fill you up, but the side dishes and starters add lots of substance. Excellent value for €25.
Lucky Tortoise runs all day Sunday at The Hill Pub, and is available at Eatyard Thursday to Sunday. even more exciting is the fact that Lucky Tortoise is the first in a series of planned ventures from Thom and the team at To The English Fashion. But in the meantime, enjoy the dumplings.
The Lucky Tortoise @ The Hill Pub, Old Mountpleasant, Ranelagh, Dublin 6
Twitter: @luckytortoiseco / @TheHill_Pub
Instagram: @luckytortoiseco / @thehillpub