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Sister 7 review: This is Dublin’s coolest new place – delicious, creative food in a great room

With DJs manning the custom-built sound system later tables are likely to be the first to book out

Sister 7 @ Fidelity Studio
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Address: 79 Queen Street, Smithfield, Dublin D07 DW3R
Telephone: N/A
Cuisine: Chinese
Cost: €€€

This is an absolute first for me, walking into a restaurant and being so seduced by the atmosphere that for a minute, the thought of food goes right out of my mind. It is not just the beauty of the slatted wood, the curved lines and resolved space, but the music from the sound system is plush and velvety.

Sister 7 at Fidelity Studio is more the CMAT than the Kid Creole generation, yet there’s a decidedly mixed bunch in the room. It’s a collaboration between Dave Parle and Steve Manning of The Big Romance bar on Parnell Street and Alex Lawes and Alan Wolfe of Whiplash brewery. They joined forces to open Fidelity bar next door in what was formerly Dice Bar. Robert Hayes and Alex Zhang of Big Fan have joined the team to manage the food in Fidelity Studio with Chung Lee as head chef.

The sound system was custom built by Toby Hatchett in Cork, and is the largest one in the country, with every inch of the studio space designed with beautiful sound in mind. The floor has been sprung and the centre piece is an impressive seven foot sub stack. (Technical detail all new to me too, head into the tiled loos if you want to compare what the sound is like without the acoustic buffering). To the front is a smart bar with tables and comfy opal green banquettes, and in the back, where we are sitting, is a bright orange booth where DJs take to the decks later in the evening.

Enlisting the Big Fan team to manage the food was an inspired idea. You will find some of the Big Fan favourites, but the things to check out are the new dishes which incorporate Whiplash beer. There are also some very good cocktails, particularly the basil and black pepper Margarita (€13), a verdant green concoction of deliciousness, and a New York sour (€12.50) which has a splash of red wine.


The brewery spent grain crackers have been so popular, there are none left when we visit, but there’s plenty to choose from on the tick-the-box menu with dishes arriving when they are ready. We order a few, and dip back in afterwards to control the flow, starting with Iberico char siu puffs (€7), two rectangles of crispy pastry filled with minced pork.

All of the dishes come with different dips or sauces. Chun li (€11.50), are six silky dumplings encasing chicken, celeriac and water chestnuts sitting on pickled enoki mushrooms with a Whiplash dark sour vinegar. Contrasting in texture are the scamorza wontons (€8), five crispy pockets filled with smoked molten cheese with a plum dip.

The Lip sticks (€8) are phenomenal, four vegetable cakes made from fermented rice, celeriac, shiitake, yam, cabbage and tofu which are formed into rectangular batons and deep-fried and golden. You’ll be dreaming about these which just happen to be vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free and come with an amazing miso and maple sauce.

The Sister 7 bao bun (€7.50) is filled with beef that has been slowly braised in Whiplash Slow Life stout and formed into a rectangular patty, encrusted with barley crumb and deep fried. It is crunchy, savoury and delicious, with a nice kick of acidity from rhubarb and heat from fermented chilli. Another must order item.

The sweet heart egg (€5), which has been marinated in soy, is nicely jammy, sitting on gossamer shavings of smoky bonito, dressed in a garlic and chilli oil. It goes nicely with the fermented kick of kimchi (€4.50). The Xiao long bao (soup dumplings) are fun (€12), three pockets of minced Andarl pork with a pork stock that pours out on to our spoons. The vinegary sauce with spring onion and ginger works beautifully. We have ordered an additional sauce, the Sis7 sauce (€4.50), a spicy black garlic, soy and chilli sauce with crunchy beef floss, which is their take on lao gan ma (or “Chili Crunch” as David Chang of Momofuku has controversially trademarked his).

Our last savoury dish is cured sturgeon (€14.50), which has been torched and served over pickled daikon. We finish with deep-fried mantou (€6.50) which we dip in condensed milk.

Sister 7 ticks every box with its delicious, creative food in a great room. Food is served till 10pm, so those later tables are likely to be the first to book out at the weekend. Go during the week or get booking. It’s worth it.

Dinner for two with two cocktails and two beers was €126.90.

The Verdict: Creative, delicious food in an amazing room.

Music: King Geedorah, J Gooch and Grace Jones.

Food provenance: Andarl Farm, Bretzel Bakery, Kish Fish, John Stone, Garryhinch Mushrooms, Toonsbridge, Keelings, and Asia Market.

Vegetarian options: Lip sticks, scamorza wonton, steamed enoki mushrooms, and edamame.

Wheelchair access: Fully accessible with accessible toilet.

Corinna Hardgrave

Corinna Hardgrave

Corinna Hardgrave, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes a weekly restaurant column