Dublin's recessionary restaurant boom
L Mulligan Grocer is a traditional style Dublin pub set in the inner city neighbourhood of Stoneybatter, just north of the River Liffey. Open since the 18th Century, its future looked grim until it was taken over by three enterprising friends: Seaneen Sullivan, Colin Hession and Michael Foggarty, who all had a passion for food and drink. They kept all of Mulligan’s historic charm and supplemented it with a seasonal menu diligently sourced from Irish producers, plus a lengthy list of craft beers and whiskeys. The formula has been so successful that the trio recently gave new life to another old city centre pub, WJ Kavanagh (4-5 Dorset Street; 00-353-1-873-0990). Its menu is more inventive than Mulligan’s, but still uses Irish ingredients in the likes of dishes such as black pudding wontons and an Asian-inspired laksa made with locally caught mussels.
Pop-up street food markets are becoming a regular feature for the bustling lunchtime trade. One of the best is the Mespil Village Market, which takes place on Thursday afternoons along the banks of the Grand Canal. Visitors can sample paella from the Paella Guys (one of the partners, Ian Marconi, manned the stoves in the kitchens of London’s trendy, Moorish-inspired Moro restaurant) and there is an array of other stalls, such as the Choux Brothers’ lollipop stick cakes (small scale cakes on sticks) and Dave’s Wood Fired Pizza, cooked to order in a specially converted wagon.