In the former location of what used to be Pizza e Porchetta, nestled underneath the arches at the Malting Tower on Grand Canal Dock is Osteria Lucio, the new & revamped eatery from Micheln* Chef Ross Lewis and restaurateur Ronan Ryan.
While the decor has more or less remained the same, and following in quintessentially good Italian taste & traditions, if something works, why change it, as this modern yet very stylish interior remains ultra cosy, inviting, warm and welcoming.
But don’t be fooled by the name, this is no ordinary Italian joint but rather one of those little gem of a place you stumble upon in New York or Milan. Certainly brings back memories of yester years when I lived and worked in Milan. Here you will find inspired dishes concentrating on clean flavours using the best seasonal produce and enjoy the opportunity in tasting the finest Italian cuisine in stylish surroundings.
Think of Capocollo, traditional Italian dry-cured pork neck,similar to proscuitto and sliced very thinly, N’duja Italian sausage, spicy and simply heavenly; Lonza, Agrodolcea sweet & sour sauce and Freshly made egg pasta & Caponata, eggplant & celery seasoned with sweetned vinegar & capers.
Starters range from Cicchetti to combo Antipasti plates & Salumis as well as seasonal dishes. Here is a selection of some of the dishes on offer.
Roast beetroots, Blood orange, Five Mile Town Goat cheese & hazelnuts dressings
Baby ruby red and golden beets offered delicious smack of sweetness and the blood orange perfectly matched the saltiness of the goatcheese. It was delicious and fresh. The simple flavours of this starter was so expertly combined, it set the tone for the meal ahead. No mean feat here as the new menu has been designed by no other than the Michelin* Chef Ross Lewis of Chapter One.
A serving of Cicchetti was not far behind, it consisted of warm focaccia with deep fried green olives stuffed with N’duja Italian sausage and Veal. The highlight of which was certainly the N’duja sausage. It was melt in the mouth and spicy, No cotton wool consistency here but rather an explosion of flavours so expertly combined that it was just divine and the olive still with a bite to it.
Fried sole with agrodolce and lemon.
To say that this starter was insanely delicious would be an understatement. In a light coating of breadcrumbs and parmesan, they were crispy and still very tender and moist. The sweet & sour sauce and lemon slices added refreshing notes to this very tasty dish. I could have eaten a whole plate of this alone.
For mains there is choice of freshly made egg pasta to Tuscan Slow braised short rib of beef and of course the pizzas.
The stone baked Pizza with Cime di Rapa & Salsciccia was certainly a good choice.
It had a light and crispy base, yummy charred edges and still with a dusting of flour and semolina from the wood fired oven. The Salsciccia didn’t disappoint either, it was succulent, and packed full of flavour with a hint of fennel. Coupled with the slightly bitter taste of the Cime di Rapa, it is without doubt, one of the most authentic Italian pizzas I’ve had in Dublin and I can’t wait to try the others on offer.
The Seafood & Shellfish Chitarra with just a hint of chilli and ginger reminded me of the ones, I used to have in Milan, which were so simple in concept but allowed the produce to sing to you. With perfectly cooked “ al dente “ egg pasta, it was a delicious main indeed.
Chargrilled Rump of beef “Tagliata” was once again a winner. Sliced rare beef were complimented by the peppery yet simple rocket leaves, red onions and a dressing of balsamic vinegar which coated rather than gelled all the ingredients on the plate. With a generous shavings of parmesan it was heavenly and sinfully good. I can still recall the rich deep taste and addictive nature of this dish. This alone will have you longing for a return visit.
The place was packed to the rafters as usual but as in the past, on each occasion I have been there, the staff have always been most attentive and charming. In all, it was a great dining experience with inspired dishes and ingredients and a perfect location to will away an evening and dream of Fellini’s “ La dolce Vita “.
We sipped the Sommelier’s choice of 3 glasses of wine for €20 and in true Italian style, an impressive selection of wine & vermouth can be purchased by the glass, bottle or carafe and the cocktail list is impressive too.
The Malting Tower
Grand Canal Dock
Follow them on Twitter @luciodublin
Photos in this article are from Barry Mc Call Photographer.
A Classically trained Chef, food writer and Culinary instructor having worked in some of Dublin and London Michelin star establishments such as Chapter One, Dublin, Gordon Ramsay, London & the 5* Boutique hotel, The Dylan among others. His work is regularly featured in some of the leading magazines and newspapers in Ireland and he is currently working on a book about Irish Honey due to be published later in 2015.
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