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!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

[Review] Assassination Custard, Kevin Street Lower, Dublin 8

It's been a while. I wrote my last review on this blog in September 2018 not realising that my life was going to enter into a whirlwind phase. I was promoted at work, putting me firmly into the ranks of senior management. I started a work project that quickly took over a large chunk of my time, and we purchased a house. Following a long day at work, I would often find myself painting or sanding in a hurried effort to get our house ready before we moved in. Christmas dinner was served on two mismatched tables, with a fancy gold cloth hiding all manner of sins. Life does indeed have a mean sense of humour at times.

Anyway, it's time to get back to food and eating out. Assassination Custard is a little spot on Kevin Street owned by Ken Doherty and partner Gwen McGrath that has attained cult like status amongst food lovers since its opening in 2015. Its mystique is enhanced by the steel shuttering that usually hides the interior and the limited opening hours (12pm - 3pm, Monday to Friday only) which are not so great for those of us that are office based. Given that there are just a mere 12 seats spread across the 2 tables, I can advise that it's wise to get there early, especially as dishes tend to run out quickly with the first wave of diners. I arrived at 12.15pm only to find all spots taken, the only time I've ever found Irish people early for lunch.

Chef Ken Doherty has spent time in the kitchen in Cork's famous vegetarian restaurant Cafe Paradiso, and I'd like to think that this influences the fantastic small plate creations that mix up Italian and Middle Eastern flavours. Vegetables and fruit largely take the lead roles, although fish and meat do make starring appearances. The daily menu comes handwritten on small brown paper bags and there is a sense of achievement when you decipher the cryptic handwriting. I'm dining solo, as is the person adjacent to me and we strike up a staccato conversation, oohing over each others choices.

I kick off with a plate of smoked aubergines, dotted with jewelled pomegranate seeds and crispy curry leaves (€6.50). The smoky flavour is strong but not overwhelming and I adore the crunch and scent from the little shiny green curry leaves. A little touch of salt flakes and this little plate is a knockout. 

Homemade piccalilli is bright, intense and gloriously crunchy. Unfortunately, the listed homemade labneh is not available, and it's partnered instead with Knockalara sheep cheese, pickled sweet beetroot and smoked anchovies from Lilliput Trading (€9.50). This eclectic mixed plate is ideal for 2 to share and perfectly suits the elbow to elbow style of the room. 

My final choice is the borlengo, a style of Italian pancake from the town of Modena. Usually cooked in a large copper pan, it's scaled back here into a single crispy portion topped with little chunks of jelly-like lardo, fragrant rosemary and a snowy layer of grated cheese (€7.50).  Shove over Pancake Tuesday and icing sugar, this is how pancakes should be done. 

There is no alcohol on sale at Assassination Custard, and while BYOB is welcome, I stick instead to plentiful tap water. Overall, I love my lunch and cannot wait to return to this eclectic little spot. I'll just make sure to get there earlier next time.

Assassination Custard, 19a Kevin Street Lower, Dublin 8
Tel: +353 (0)87 997 1513


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