Craft: Harold's Cross got itself a real food gem
My birthday celebrations have lasted for more than a month - you only turn 30 once, right? - and after a surprise party in Paris, a weekend in Amsterdam and a garden party in Dublin, the last instalment was a dinner in Craft, present from with my father in law. After several rescheduling, the long-overdue dinner took place on a classic Irish summer day, alternating heavy showers and beautiful sun spells.
My father in law and his partner have been talking about this place since they moved to Harold's Cross, about 6 months ago. They have tried the brunch, lunch and dinner several times and they had been urging us to join them for a tasting menu.
The decor in Craft is everything but pretentious, an elegant bistro with a casual atmosphere. When we ordered the tasting menu, the lovely waitress asked us if there was anything we didn't like on the daily offer. I don't eat pork so I asked to skip the pork belly. After checking with the chef, she kindly offered me several options and I decided to go for the crab, which she said was one of her favourite dish on the menu.
The appetisers set the tone for the meal: we absolutely loved the whipped goat's cheese topped with truffle oil, the courgettes tempura with sriracha mayo and the fantastic homemade brown bread with butter.
We started with some heirloom tomatoes with Toonsbridge mozzarella, broad beans and pine nuts. Fresh and incredibly tasty, this enhanced Caprese salad was probably my favourite dish of the night, in all its simplicity.
A blackened sea trout, with avocado, radish, kohlrabi and ponzu followed. The strong smocked taste was perfectly balanced by the freshness and crunchiness of the side and once again, it got the stamp of approval from our whole table.
I then got to try the fresh crab, wrapped in yellow courgette, with tomato, peach, sundried tomatoes and green olives. Another seasonal dish full of colours and flavours that were right down my alley - minus the olives, I'm currently trying to learn to like them, but not totally there yet.
While the guys enjoyed their pork belly as a main, I had the cod, served with coco beans, fennel, and sprouting broccoli. The delicious fine and flaky fish was perfectly cooked and while the broccoli complemented it nicely, I could have skipped the coco beans that made the dish slightly heavy for my liking, certainly because at that stage I was already quite full.
This didn't prevent me however from enjoying the dessert, a dark chocolate bar, cherries and vanilla ice cream. While one of us asked to switch it for a yoghurt posset with raspberry, which was absolutely amazing, I find it hard to say no to chocolate for dessert.
We already enjoyed chocolate paired with cherries in L'Ecrivain and it worked just as well with this smooth dark chocolate ganache. The crispy tuile on top was a nice addition, giving an interesting toasted taste to the dessert.
Priced 46 euros, this tasting menu impressed us by the quality of each plate delivered by the chef; we also really appreciated the casual atmosphere and the overall lack of fussiness. We just left feeling incredibly lucky to live around the corner from such a remarkable spot.