The Raw Bar Tasting Menu at Saltwater Grocery in Terenure is a great way to dip into a variety of shellfish and seafood, while learning about how to select, prepare and serve it. Once the fishmongers, deli and food shop closes, the intimate space becomes a restaurant, with tables and chairs, stools at a barrel and counter space.
It’s an intimate space, and the fun feeling associated with being on the premises after closing time adds to the atmosphere. A maximum of just 20 guests can sign up for each sitting, on Friday and Saturday evenings; with Thursday nights starting soon.
Co-owners and chefs Niall Sabongi and Karl Whelan, and their team, share their vast knowledge of all things piscine, while filleting, cutting and plating up 12 small dishes per guest. It's not all raw: there may be crudo on the menu, but also cured and cooked fish dishes that you'll see prepared in real time right in front of you. You can see what's in their dry-ageing chamber, and find out about what this process does to fish, as well as watch them cook fish over coals.
The menu starts with oysters and caviar, and progresses to a range of raw and cured fish and shellfish, charcoal grilled fish, and dessert. Seasonal vegetables also feature, with dishes created around what’s good. A recent menu featured dishes such as Kelly’s mussels with saffron cream, asparagus from Provence and wild garlic; Clare Island salmon with yuzu koshu and soy jelly; dry-aged seabass with dill oil, pickled radish and Amalfi lemon, and dry aged turbot, slow grilled over charcoal with miso brown butter and honey.
The tasting menu costs €65 per person with the optional wine pairings an additional €40. To book, see saltwatergrocery.ie. On Wednesdays the shop hosts masterclasses and tasting sessions, and there are plans to run a series of pop-ups with the likes of Assassination Custard, Sticks and Hen's Teeth.
Ed and Tara Hammon's home and kitchen accessories business, Slated, has collaborated with Sligo ceramicist John Ryan to design this elegant and useful piece, which they are calling a dip dish. The three bowls are the perfect size for an aperitif platter of olives, crudites and dips, or an afternoon tea selection of clotted cream and preserves. It costs €65 and can be ordered online at slated.ie.
Black Bush and coffee
Coffee and whiskey are a great combination, but Established Coffee and Bushmills Irish Whiskey have turned the usual pairing on its head. Black Bush Blend is made with Brazilian coffee beans aged in Black Bush Oloroso sherry cask and bourbon barrels.
“The barrels add soft fruit notes of apple and plum, with an aromatic vanilla note too. The coffee has also taken on a slight fermented aromatic note whilst maintaining a rich, syrupy body with notes of chocolate that comes from the green coffee itself,” the tasting notes say.
The first few batches of these interesting beans, which mixologists have been snapping up to use in coffee cocktails, sold out immediately, but Established plans to age and roast some more, which will be available online from established.coffee.