Despite the B word looming over us, you’d be forgiven for thinking the other B word, The Boom, is back at least for now upon peering in the window of Mister S. Open a matter of weeks and not even Camden Street’s newest restaurant (thanks to Press Up), Mister S is buzzy even before the clock strikes 7 on a rainy Tuesday evening.
With a no-reservations policy much like it’s near neighbour, the superb Frank’s, Mister S conjures up my latent FOMO but luckily, arriving early, we narrowly avoid the wait and take the window-side stool seats.
Pared back school chairs and spartan booths are pulled together with blush pink paint and black exposed brick to create a casual warehouse feel. The magic happens a few steps above in a semi-open kitchen which is home to a Robata grill churning out the seductive scent of flamed deliciousness as soon as we sit down.
We have the minds behind Dawson Street’s ever so popular Featherblade to thank for this new addition to the Dublin dining scene, and with most mains well under the €20 mark, the same commitment to affordability shines through. However, I’m even more thankful for spotting Head Chef Dan Hannigan manning the grill.
Ex-Richmond, a Young Chef of the Year finalist and the brainchild of the wonderful Food for Thought initiative, it takes merely a glance of the clipboard menu to see his creativity and experience has been pumped into a menu packed with tempting options and dotted with meticulously chosen Irish producers.
Our first taste of this comes in the form of Gambas, Bisque Butter and Flatbread, finger-licking delicious from start to hasty finish. My only gripe is I wanted a whole bowl of the sweet and juicy beauties. Nestled atop a crisp fried flatbread that tastes almost like a cousin of a hash brown, soaking up the richness of the bisque butter, this was just enough to stoke the flames of curiosity.
Delicate but flavourful Smoked Chicken and Romesco(€7) proved simple can be super as we scooped up the last of the chunky and peppery Romesco with spoons having devoured the subtly smoked chicken thigh.
Our third choice, Courgette and Black Garlic Yoghurt rounded out three solid opening dishes, charred yellow and green squash with tangy and mercifully not too pongy garlic yoghurt, I’m momentarily sad that I didn’t come up with this combo to counter the annual summer glut of courgettes.
Light starters meant justifiably meaty mains, and talking ourselves down from the Ridgeway Wagyu Cote de Bouef citing midweek frugality, we settled first on the Smoked Angus Short Rib (€17), with a necessary side of almost smokey Renacer Punto Malbec (€8.50).
The short rib’s slow smoking starts at 9am and when it arrives it is in sublime shape, fall apart tender and served with the silkiest Bearnaise, worthy of eating by the spoonful.
Heartbreakingly short work was made of the rib by my greedy dinner date, but getting the last bite of this was infinitely better than the last Rolo. I’m in no way ashamed to say we picked the bones clean either – I’d take this beautiful beast over a pricier cut any day of the week.
Our meat feast continued with an audible wow from across the counter on first bite of my Marinated Pork Tomahawk (€16) from Andarl Farm – fanned out in its own juices with a little fennel, a lot of (fabulous) fat and a whole load of “for the love of god that’s good.” A little glass of El Mozo, Herrigoia Rioja (€8) was smooth enough to slip down nicely alongside the rich, melting pork.
A little dish of charred Hispi Cabbage, Sobrasada and Feta (€4.50) felt almost too attention-seeking to be a side and deserved to be savoured, and we considered very seriously ordering a second. Kimchi has competition in my eyes for the title of most crave-worthy cabbage now.
Similarly devoured was a plate of Green Beans and Almond (€4.50), lightly grilled and tossed in salty and sweet almond butter satay-style sauce. Getting your greens in has never been so easy.
Possibly the most telling sign of our utter satisfaction, we couldn’t even be tempted by the prospect of Bubble Pudding with Caramelised Banana, although next time I’ll try my best to save some room having watched a neighbouring couple fight over what looked like a bubbling skillet of decadence.
In addition to fantastic food, the staff at Mister S deserve a special mention – warm, friendly and clearly enjoying being part of the team at the hottest new opening in town. With both food and service nailing the perfect casual dining experience, the bill arrives and proves a great evening out needn’t have you eating tins of beans for the rest of the month – €93 for three starters, two mains, two sides and four wines by the glass.
Mister S has hunted down the very best producers and is deservedly gathering fans set on to sampling the fiendishly delicious looking dishes popping up on Insta-stories of food lovers across the city on a daily basis. Go, wait for a table if necessary and leave no bone left unscraped.
32 Camden Street Lower
T: (01) 683 5555
Review by Darina Coffey