A fresh new concept. A new way of doing things. The world has turned. All has changed, changed irrevocably. The way we do business. The way we date. The way we communicate. Inevitably the 21st-centruy change variable would infect the way we socialise, drink and eat too.
Urchin, the latest hospitality concept from the prolific merchants who ride under the Cliff banner (Cliff House Hotel, Cliff Townhouse, The Cliff at Lyon's etc.), is overseen by Dutch transplant and Michelin-starred Cliff executive chef Martijn Kajuiter and Cliff Townhouse head chef Sean Smith who have joined together to create their own take on the small plates concept. That's a lot of Cliffs.
Urchin operates via a token system, you buy as many tokens as you want from the bar (meaning you know how much you are spending on food) and use them to purchase your small plates; tokens are €6 each and get you two items.
The menu will change depending on what's in season and what's piquing the interest of the two talented duo on any given day. It means that the chefs are kept creatively stimulated and punters always have something new to try. Yes, chef!
Signature dishes cooked to order include sea urchin, sourced from the Beara Peninsula, poached and served as an edible cocktail, comprising aerated whiskey, tomato and smoked paprika; Irish wagyu, from master butcher Pat Whelan, with a beef tea fondue; fresh Irish skate and an Oriental slaw served with a ponzu jam on banana leaf. Also, immediately available from the open kitchen hatch, are smaller dishes such as fresh-made Choux Buns dipped in Caramel, Minute Marinated Scallops, Pork with Yoghurt and Mint, and Beech Mushrooms in a Lettuce cup. All very creative, very tasty morsels.
Drinks are a collaboration between the kitchen and bar. The combination of culinary and cocktail making fuses food and drink to create an innovative drinks list.
The interior, consistent with the innovative concept has been designed by Garry Cohn who has transformed the lower level into a light-filled space, with subtle marine references in the detailing of walls, furnishings and fabrics. Strong geometric patterns add graphic vibrancy. The kitchen area has been designed as an open space and the dynamics of food preparation and cooking are on full view.
I can see this place being a complete smash with diners in a city of increasing choice. Sometimes something different chimes with the way we are today, and Urchin, with its new-fangled way of dining surely hits that note. Make your reservations now.