Catch 22: honestly good fish in Dublin city
Getting fresh fish in Dublin isn't very hard. You just get into your car and drive for about 30 minutes (or jump in the DART) to end up in Howth, a lovely fishing village in the north of the Dublin bay. You go to Octopussy or Wrights of Howth and you get a delicious seafood platter before enjoying a nice digestive walk along the peninsula.
But when itùs Tuesday night and you couldn't be arsed going all the way to Howth, you can get some absolutely delicious seafood in the comfort of the city centre. From the outside, Catch 22 actually kind of looks like a casual seafront restaurant, where you know you could get a good fish & chips. You definitely know that you are in a seafood restaurant when you get inside, as the decor reminds of a boat or a wooden fisherman shed by the sea. The place does takeaway at lunch time but in the evening, it turns into a casual dining place, where the fuss-free atmosphere gives plenty of room for the dishes to shine.
Offering a short and tempting menu, this restaurant gets its fish delivered daily, from the seas off the East, West and Southern coasts of Ireland - locally sourced, that is something we always like to hear. Since the restaurant doesn't take reservations, we came in quite early to request a table for 8:30. The staff happily put our name down and after a lovely drink in the smallest pub in Dublin - what an adorable cosy place - we got our table at the planned time.
After we ordered, we were served with a portion of small fry and mayo, an unexpected complimentary appetiser that we ate up spiritedly. I ordered the Herb crusted hake, pan-fried with a salsa verde and he went for the signature dish, the Shellfish pot, comprising of clams, mussels, cockles, prawns in a tomato and chorizo broth, served with crusty bread. We also ordered some sweet potato chips and a side salad.
Believe it or not, this is one of the first times ever that I see him struggling to finish a dish, and not because he doesn't like it. The shellfish pot was absolutely massive and I happily fished for some mussels and prawns in this delicious broth when my help was needed. On the other hand, I required no help to finish my hake. This is one of my favourite fish and the salsa verde crust only made the perfectly cooked flesh even tastier and more flavoursome.
At dinner time, all the mains are between 15 and 18 euros, while the sides are about 3 euros. We finished our meal so full and content that we didn't even look at the dessert menu.
Unlike Bunsen which serves amazing food but with a pretty average service, Catch 22 can be proud in their staff; every waiter/waitress we dealt with was truly lovely, helpful and efficient. Good service, lovely place, great produce and beautiful cooking: this place surely caught us in its nets.