December is the busiest month of the year for restaurants and bars so it’s great to see some new and exciting spots swinging open their doors just in time for the silly season. Bright breakfasts, natural wines, comfort food and a hotly anticipated opening all feature. And there are more to come in the next few weeks too (keep an eye on Gertrudes Instagram) but here are a few you should check out this weekend.
Bar Giuseppe, 1st Floor, 4/5 Castle Market, Dublin 2
Tucked away above Jo Burger on Castle Market, Jo Macken has launched his latest venture, Bar Giuseppe, where Instagram-friendly pink interiors are home to a scattering of high tables, warm welcomes and wine. The wine list is jolly in its approach, set up according to ‘how they feel at this time of year’, with categories listed under lyrics. Expect plenty of drinkable, fun options. A streamlined food menu lends itself well to nibbling — Padron peppers, toasties, cheese, cold cuts and fondue on Mondays and Tuesdays. I think they’ve gotten it spot on when they describe themselves as a ‘space to sit, sip & snack away from the crowd’.
Uno Mas, 6 Aungier Street , Dublin 2
One of the most hotly anticipated restaurant openings this year, Uno Mas has finally launched on the ever-changing Aungier Street. Brought to you by the team behind Etto, expect similar vibes — stylish, simple and bound to become a firm favourite for foodies in town and beyond (Nigella Lawson and Ottolenghi have both name-checked Etto on numerous occasions). Expect a well-executed menu from chef Paul McNamara (Etto, Locks) with Spanish leanings including Iberico pork, roast octopus and a perfectly wobbly flan. The wide and approachable wine list looks like it will be a joy to work through. They open from Friday 30th November for lunch and dinner (closed Sundays) and bookings are filling up fast.
One Society, 1 Lower Gardiner Place, Dublin 1
There’s so much talk around Parnell Street that, like the 16 bus, all the new openings seem to be coming at once — new bar The Big Romance opened last week, Bowls by Kwanghi Chan is set to open any day and then there’s One Society; a cafe that was sorely needed at this end of town. Nestled on the edge of Summerhill, they’ve opened a welcoming industrial-chic spot, serving breakfast, all-day brunch, warming lunches and soon to start with evening service and pizza. The food is bright and buzzy with plenty of eggs, loaded burgers, sandwiches and daily salad specials. Roasted Brown beans are being used in their well-made coffee and they donate 10c from every hot drink to neighbouring Temple Street Children’s Hospital.
First Draft Coffee
This little gem of a café has been open for some time now but with the addition of wines and small plates served in the evenings, it totally qualifies as a newbie. By day, they dole out fantastic coffee with beans from Roasted Brown and treats from Camerino Bakery. And now in the evenings, they will be serving some new and exciting wines from a concise and eclectic collection. The small plates are kept simple with a cheese board, olives, almonds and sardines on toast— perfect snacks with drinks in this simple whitewashed room, walls adorned with hanging ferns and looking out on picture-perfect Portobello. More of this sort of thing please Dublin!
Loretta’s, 162-165 Phibsborough Road, Dublin 7
As Phibsbourough continues to be the place to head for on the ball openings (Two Boys Brew, The Backpage, Legit coffee) they are joined by new spot Loretta’s, taking up home in a beautiful old banking building. The team here are keen to make a name for themselves as a neighbourhood restaurant and although I’ve yet to eat here, I’ve heard nothing but good things about the food they’ve been putting out so far. Smart interiors with all-leather banquettes and herringbone wood give a distinctly New York vibe and the menu does too. Loretta’s fried chicken, grilled corn salad, buttermilk biscuit, sweet pickled jalapeno honey butter and Pork hock, pickles, hot mustard, steamed buns. The brunch looks like it could ease the worst December hangover with Loretta’s Breakfast, Plancha burger and a Green chilli, pork butt with hash browns.