Super supper, Miss Sue
This Drury St restaurant is a welcome addition to a fish-free Dublin city centre
Restaurant Title: Super Miss Sue
Address: Unit 2-3 Drury St
Phone: 01 6799009
It says a lot about our nose-wrinkling attitude to fresh fish that the last fish shop in Dublin’s Grafton Street area is now a Starbucks. Market rents reared their heads and skinny lattes replaced skate wings in what used to be Sawers fish shop on Chatham Street. We are a city by the sea with virtually no city centre seafood restaurants. Fish pedicures? Yes. Fish shops? No. Go figure, as they might say in a Starbucks near you.
Super Miss Sue is the smart new Drury Street seafood cafe from restaurateur John Farrell, the man behind Ranelagh’s Dillingers, The Butcher Grill, and Mexican restaurant 777 on South Great George’s Street.
A phonecall about a Friday night visit and we’re told they don’t take bookings for fewer than five people. So that puts the kibosh on that. Instead we rock up with the boys on scooters for an early Sunday evening meal. And we love it. All of us. The seven-year-old who eats the battered fish morsels like popcorn and the adults who drink wine by the glass and scoff cup loads of the best chips we’ve had in ages.
The corner building, which used to sell suits, has been fitted out with handsome metal frame doors with acres of glass. There’s a fire station feel to them like they could be flung open in an emergency while staff rush out. It’s Dublin’s new Mermaid, a big windows place to watch and be seen.
A red glow comes from backlit Campari bottles, dozens of them, on shelves behind the bar. There’s a fish counter with whole fish on ice. The tables are topped with white chunky marble and there are coat hooks on the walls. It’s a simpler decor than Farrell’s other personality-heavy restaurants where the salvaged fittings have more colourful backstories than the diners.
This front room is the cafe and there’s a chipper to one side. A further 65-seater “Restaurant and Gin Bar” is due to open later in the year. In the cafe, the specials menu is shown to you on a small blackboard. Sides can often read like an afterthought (the thinking being “let’s squeeze a few more euros out of diners”). But here there’s braised kale or salt-roasted beets with carrots and ricotta. Lots of earth to ground that surf.
Two of the boys share a large chunk of battered haddock with a pot of mushy peas and those great chips. The battered morsels are clams, cockles and mussels served in a zinc cup with parchment paper. They’re a big hit.
Cervi (the name of the chipper alongside us) chips are thick cut and SMS (Super Miss Sue) fries are skinny. There is nothing fancy on the plates apart from the branding, (two “S”s smooching like swans).
A mackerel starter is a fillet, fried to crisp-skinned and, crucially, pin-boned by an expert to eliminate any pesky shards. There’s some pickled seaweed and a small burst of horseradish flavour on the plate.
Liam has a quail spatchcocked, barely a few delectable mouthfuls on the teeny bird. He also gets a cod brandade scotch egg which is a soft-boiled egg in a lagging jacket of potato, cod and parsley. A hefty Dad tax is extracted from the junior chip portions; the words “chip hogger” are used.
I get a thick, meaty fillet of brill just fried in butter with some halved Jerusalem artichokes and fried mushrooms. Like my starter, it’s a squeezy-bottle-free zone, but who needs it when the ingredients are this good? My one quibble? The braised kale is a little too soggy for my taste.
There are only two desserts so we get one of each, lemon meringue pie (fine) and chocolate mousse that’s small but gorgeous. We have a glass each of the Albarino and a third glass of Verdejo and the boys have the free fizzy water (they have it on tap at the bar).
Super Miss Sue is my favourite John Farrell venture. You could lecture ’til the cows come home about the larder that is the Irish Sea and Atlantic ocean in an effort to wean us off our penitential hangups over fish. Much better to dish it up deliciously in an unpretentious venue that serves the best chips in town. Dinner for five with three glasses of wine and dessert came to €119.50.
Super Miss Sue, Unit 2-3 Drury Street, Dublin 2, tel: 01-679 9009
THE VERDICT: 8/10. Super. A new favourite
Facilities: Unisex with a pithy warning to “guys” that they share this space with “ladies”
Music: Not too loud
Food provenance: None
Wheelchair access: Yes
Vegetarian options: Limited