Let’s be honest, most Dubliners aren’t the biggest fans of Temple Bar. Even the Huffington Post described it as one of the world’s most disappointing tourist destinations to be avoided “at all costs”. Yes, there may be a glut of British stag parties at the weekend, groups of ripped-off American tourists desperately clutching maps in the hope of finding something that slightly resembles the Ireland they saw in the movies, and clutters of, how shall I put it delicately, right dodgy looking feckers. But it ain’t all that bad, people! A number of new eateries have popped up in the last couple of years which are set to change the perception of Temple Bar completely. One such newbie is Klaw, a seafood shack owned by the lovely Niall Sabongi, he of Rock Lobster Dundrum fame. The restaurant itself is tiny and can accomodate 14 stool-sitting hungry bunnies. Sizewise, my estimates put it at 1.5 Hubbies wide and 5 Hubbies deep (1 Hubby unit of measurement = 6 foot 3). The kitchen is situated at the back and is in full view, so you can get a good goo of all the schucking taking place.
The menu is simple and written on the large blackboard which dominates the left wall of the restaurant and includes most of the headline acts of the seafood world. Oysters are available in 3 varieties (Dooncastle, Waterford and Galway Bay). For purists, they can be eaten “naked” (with lemon or tabasco), or for the more adventurous, dressed or torched. For the non-oyster eating posse (i.e. moi), there is crab, Atlantic prawns, seafood chowder and their signature lobster rolls. What’s not to love! On this particular day, himself and myself had vouchers from the nice folk of thetaste.ie for a lobster roll plus a glass of wine for a mere 10 yo-yos (sadly, offer is currently not available). Quite the deal indeed! We were greeted by a super-friendly waitress who observed my “uncanny resemblance” to yer one from Titanic (Hmmm, I’m hoping she meant Kate Winslet, and not Kathy Bates!), and so as she led us to our table, I made a mental note to tip this highly-astute individual generously!
Having partaken in a lobster roll at the brilliant Rock Lobster previously, I knew this wasn’t going to fill my hungry belly, so I ordered a seafood chowder and himself ordered 6 oysters (it being happy hour n’all). The seafood chowder was delicious, served in a can with toasted baguette on the side. It was a lot thinner in consistency than you would usually expect for a chowder, but it was packed with flavour. Having said that, I do like my chowders to be made with half a cow’s worth of cream, but it made the perfect belly-liner for the main dish. Himself delighted in the juicy oysters, which are half price during happy hour, the Galway ones proving to be his favourite. And so on to the raison-to-be-there – the lobster rolls! Wowzers! The sweet lobster, dressed in a yuzu mayonnaise, oozes out of a delicious brioche bun fried in butter and is served with a whopper chunk of cucumber and a sprinkle of crisps. For those of you lacking in the Google department, the Yuzu is a citrus fruit originating in East Asia and believed to be a hybrid of sour mandarin and Ichang papeda. Readers may also know it as Citrus ichagensis x C. reticulata.
Our meal was washed down with a beautifully dry glass of Picpoul, and for some reason unknown to man, not finished off with a dessert! (Like seriously, what’s that all about?) The dessert offering changes but creme brulée and whoopie pies feature regularly. Since our last visit, there have been new additions added to their menu such as mac n’cheese and fish stew, so another visit is long overdue. If you’ve never had a lobster roll, add it to your bucket list and get your booty down to Klaw. It’ll be one of the best 16 euros you’ve ever spent!
Klaw, 5a Crown Alley, Temple Bar, Dublin 2