Boqueria – My new favourite tapas restaurant in Dublin

*Update* Boqueria has now moved to Howth

I pass Boqueria (Bok-er-e-ya) almost every day. I had been really looking forward to trying it and what better excuse to go than for my birthday. A few days before my birthday I had been working late, was driving home and was gonna get a spice bag. There was no parking outside New Sunrise on Manor St. (The best place for Spice bags!) and being that lazy I kept driving and knocked the spice bag idea on the head. A couple of meters down the road and I spot a parking space close to Boqueria so I thought “well it is healthier than a spice bag!” so I went in with the camera.

I love tapas. One of my favourite restaurants in Dublin is Fade St Social. I’ve been there more times than I can count so didn’t want to go there again for my birthday.

I didn’t want to make a massive pig of myself so I just ordered 2 tapas and a dessert. I love the staff here. Kasia (I think her name is) is really nice and goes above and beyond to help. She said everything on the menu was lovely but suggested the scallops and the duck. She brought me some bread and even though I said I didn’t want it she said she’d leave it there ‘just in case’ and man I’m glad she did. There are 2/3 different varieties of bread and they are all fresh and delicious. I ate the lot. So much for not making a pig of myself.

First I had the scallops. There seems to be a theme in Dublin that scallops are paired with pork belly and tbh, I’m pretty bored of that combo. It’s been done to death. The scallops in Boqueria came with almond brittle and passion fruit. They were divine. I’d highly recommend them. The almond brittle and passionfruit was a welcome change to the pork belly I’m so used to having with scallops and the passionfruit made the dish very refreshing.

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Next, I had the cured duck breast. It was a very stunning looking dish and tasted just as nice. It’s served with pickled mushrooms, suet pudding & pink ginger. Haven’t a clue what the green thing on the plate is but it tasted good.

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Then came dessert and oh my, what a dessert it was. Burger & Chips. Yeh, burger and chips. This dish is so incredibly creative and is executed to perfection.

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The burger: White chocolate macaroon with hazelnut sauce, lime jelly and strawberry. I didn’t know how to eat it. Do I treat it like a burger or do I treat it like a dessert and eat it with a spoon? They recommend you just eat it like a regular burger so I did just that. The different flavours were really nice and it was just the right portion size. Next: the fried egg. It’s a coconut something with a mango centre (god I’m a literal genius aren’t I?). The mango centre even oozes like a real egg yolk. It was very realistic. The chips are made from short bread and the dish also comes with a raspberry sauce (as the red sauce). I was dipping the shortbread into the egg and the sauce ’cause ya know, when in Rome. It’s a really spectacular and appealing dish.

I went again the following Saturday for my birthday (oink oink) and the group of us got the set menu. There’s two different set menus. The one we went for had the following:

  • Leek & Escabeche Quail Risotto
  • Flamed Tuna with Pepper, Pistachio, Mango
  • Hot Smoked Seabream with Apple & Fennel Salad, Orange & Garlic
  • Pork Assiette, Aubergine puree, Orange sauce, Garlic & Pinenut.
  • Artichoke and Macroom Buffalo Ricotta Salad with Wild Greens & Pickled Red Onions.
  • Cattle Market Sirloin Steak with Triple Cooked Chips, Black Pepper Crème Brûlée, Navet, Radish & Hazelnut Sauce.
  • Burger & Chips
  • Sweeties

For 6 tapas mains, dessert and tea/coffee it comes to just €39 per person which I think is incredible value. Now, unfortunately, I couldn’t take pictures because bringing out my camera when I’m heading out for the night is a bit of a risk. Everyone loved their dishes. I can’t pick a favourite but my two top dishes were the Leek & Escabeche Quail Risotto and the Cattle Market Sirloin Steak with Triple Cooked Chips, Black Pepper Crème Brulee, Navet, Radish & Hazelnut Salt. How do you make a black pepper creme brûlée? Who knows! I’ll try to make it. There’s another set menu with 5 tapas dishes and dessert for €24 per person as well which is also fantastic value.

Another thing to mention is the cocktails. They have 3 on the menu. One was a grapefruit (I had a lot of those) the others were a whiskey sour and I can’t remember the 3rd. At the table, we had the whiskey sour and the grapefruit cocktails. They were both really gorgeous.

Would I go back? I’m already planning my next trip there. It’ll be in 2 weeks time and I’ll be getting the other set menu*.

What I didn’t like? I had mentioned when I was there during the week that I would be back on Saturday for my birthday so I’m presuming that’s how they knew it was my birthday on Saturday. I’m not into banners, candles, cakes, singing happy birthday etc in public. It’s just not me. At the end of the night, the staff brought out a Birthday plate. I was a bit miffed about this because nobody at the table had asked for it. I had already been given a birthday cake (Well actually it was a plate load of birthday doughnuts from Aungier Danger which can been seen on my Instagram). I thought it was a nice gesture by the staff to bring it out until I realised they charged me for it. Now it was only €4.50 and it didn’t break the bank but I just thought it was a bit cheeky to bring something to the table that nobody had asked for and then charge for it. Won’t stop me going back, though.  Turns out I was wrong here and they didn’t actually charge me for it so I can’t really say I didn’t like anything about Boqueria. They weren’t too known I’m a crank and hate birthdays.

*I couldn’t wait the two weeks. I went back again and got the rest of the dishes I hadn’t tasted.

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Ossobuco Tortellini, Truffle Cream, Gremolata and Regiano

 

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Avocado and Confit Chicken with Walnut Honey Crunch & Blue Cheese Mousse

 

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Crispy Hen Egg, Glazed Garden Vegetables, Hollandaise Sauce

 

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I can’t remember what this is called. It’s coconut, mango and passionfruit and it was to die for.

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