Getting a table at 777, John Farrell's Mexican restaurant on George's Street, was never easy. Long, narrow, and always buzzing; dishes cost €7.77 on Sundays, because that's what you do on the seventh day of the week, and the unavoidable entrapment of their two for the price of one margaritas on Margarita Monday meant that each week started like a weekend.
Their doors might be closed, but an open hatch offers a colourful glimpse into the place, and €50 will get you the 777 at home taquito party for two. The stated “what you’ll need” requirements are: an appetite, a small frying pan and a pot of boiling water. In our house, there’s just one more requirement – margaritas. For €40 more, you can add a 750ml bottle of pre-made margaritas to your order, which comes with a lime and a sachet of sea salt.
Navigating this party in a box is easy. There are five courses: the dips to start, carnitas, tostadas, taquitos and dessert, and the idea is to work through each course slowly. The instructions are clear, everything you need to reheat is vacuum packed, there are oodles of sauces, all of them well labelled, wafting aromas of lime and coriander; sides include quinoa and tomatillo salad, and pico de gallo; and there are loads of extra bits like napkins, coasters and wipes.
There is something very pleasing about setting a 777 drink mat under my margarita as I start into the crunchy tortilla chips and salsas – a chunky guacamole, a salsa typica that has a nice drift of smoky chipotle, and salsa verde with a tomatillo freshness.
The pork carnitas, as with the two courses that follow it, take a minimal amount of work, it’s mostly about piling tasty bits onto corn tacos. The pork is reheated, the soft taquitos are heated through on a frying pan, and there is a suggested order for how the carnitas should be assembled, which when you eat it, does actually make sense. The pork is on the bottom, topped with pickled pineapple which adds a sour fruity note, habanero for a kick of heat that grows and grows, and finished with beautifully fragrant cilantro onions.
Splash of heat
It’s a similar affair for the crispy chickita tostadas, which are layered with a smooth avocado puree, braised chicken, salsa verde and charred sweetcorn. A milder dish than the fiery carnitas, I find a dash of Cholula hot sauce gives it a nice splash of heat.
Our last pile up of savoury deliciousness is cetas taquitos, or mushroom tacos, with both the mushrooms and soft tacos reheated. Layering this time starts with avocado puree on the bottom, intensely savoury mushrooms, smoked tomato, which has a sweetness coming through, and Manchego cheese which really adds to it.
Dessert is simple – roast corn meringue, which is a bit like Eton mess with cream and strawberries, not hugely exciting, but a light finish to a very generous meal.
A party in a box is quite a promise, but 777 really delivers. Graphic designers will love the detail, from the matte black cardboard box with the bright orange logo, to the branded coasters, napkins and hand wipes. These are all things you get in 777 that you really don’t expect to get at home.
And you may think that it’s money wasted. But what it is, is a love song to loyal customers. We are all missing our restaurants, and they are missing us, their customers, too. But with this sort of love bombing, you just know that there will be a 777 to go back to.
Dinner for two was €50.
777, Unit 7 Castle House, South Great George's St, Dublin 2; tel: 01-4254052; 777.ie
Verdict: 8.5/10 Great food and great fun
Difficulty factor: Very straight forward, everything is well labelled and instructions are very clear
Food provenance: Nothing listed
Vegetarian options: An equally good vegetarian option is available, for two people
Delivery: Dublin delivery and click and collect in Georges Street and Ranelagh
Three to try
Tramore, Waterford; click and collect, Friday and Saturday
Peter Hogan and Jumoke Akintola, who moved from Stoneybatter to open the beautiful Beach House restaurant in Tramore, are doing a €62 seafood dinner for two, which requires a minimal amount of work, just a bit of reheating and assembling. Duck and steak dinners are also available.
The Fumbally Stables
Dublin 8, click and collect, Wednesday and Friday
Sign up for the Fumbally’s newsletter to get updates on their click and collect meals. The €18 dinners feature dishes like hearty tagines, with a meat and a vegetarian option, and include desserts like pear and ginger cake with cardamom custard. Friday lasagne with a salad and focaccia is €13.50.
Glasthule, Co Dublin; click and collect, Friday and Saturday
Offering a gastronaut’s lockdown, 64 Wine has recently launched three gourmet food box options, which are packed with Irish cheese, artisan cured meats, homemade hummus and mixed almonds. Prices range from €40-€70.