Assassination Custard: What a killer meal
We have been meaning to go to Assassination Custard since we moved to Dublin 8 in August; which isn’t so easy - the cafe is only open for lunch, from Tuesday to Friday. It’s so small you’d walk past it a million times before you realise it’s there and it only seats a handful of people - eight to be precise.
Using the occasion of Damien’s birthday early November, we decided to finally get a taste of the place. Be warned; it looks small from the outside, but when you get in, it actually feels like you are entering someone’s kitchen. There are two tables. One for two people and a round one which can sit up six people - seven if you squeeze them in tightly. And that’s it.
In spite of the obvious lack of space, we dared showing up with a buggy and the owners were kind enough to accommodate us.
On a particularly rainy and windy Friday, we sat down at the round table with five other people - two couples and a lady on her own - and the waitress brought us the menu of the day, scribbled quickly on a brown paper bag - which we assumed means it changes every day.
We ordered almost all the dishes on the menu; not that we were starving but the plates are rather small (and therefore very affordable), allowing you to try plenty of dishes.
We started with a sort of antipasti plate, made of pickles, labneh, peppers and anchovies, served with rosemary focaccia. With a great balance of saltiness, acidity, creaminess and crunchiness, it ticked all the boxes for me.
The beets, dill and pomegranate and the puntarelle salad (a variant of chicory which we had never tried before), were two fresh and fragrant dishes. The vitello tonnato, our only meat course of the whole meal, featured very thin slices of veal topped with tuna mayo and capers. The mussels came in a vinagery sauce with smoked paprika, and some perfectly cooked ray cheeks were spiced up by a tasty aioli. We also devoured the charred sweet and sour pumpkin with pine nuts, a seasonal delight. The proximity with your fellow clients means that you share the jugs of water, and if you decide to use your finger to lick the plate clean, everyone sees you. As it happens, it’s not that much of an issue as everyone does it - well, at least me and the lovely gentleman sitting on my right.
We absolutely loved the atmosphere (at this stage, you can’t call it casual, it’s literally homely) and every plate we tried was tasteful and exciting.
For dessert, we ordered the “ugly but good”, two nutty meringues served with an orange blossom cream. I love orange blossom with a passion but it’s usually a hit or miss as it is quite overpowering. The balance here was perfect.
For about €60 for two with two coffees, this felt like a scrumptious tasting menu served in a comfortable home.
With their Italian and Middle Eastern influenced cuisine, cooked with fantastic Irish produce, Ken Doherty and Gwen McGrath are absolutely killing it - told you I could go on forever…