Once again for this week’s review I was reminded about the quality of Irish meat — and yet it seems the meat processors expect our farmers to produce it at a loss.
Mister S is from the people behind the great value Featherblade Steak restaurant on Dawson St and promises ‘all the good stuff over fire’, they don’t lie.
There is a charming Instagram story on the @mister_s_dublin feed detailing their journey from battered Curtain and Blind shop to welcoming restaurant space.
Do take a look as it is a useful reminder of how much work goes into a restaurant opening, from gutting and rebuilding a space to finding the perfect salvage wood, to designing a grill, to finding the best suppliers.
On this last point I applaud their use of the likes of Sean Hussey Vegetables, Ridgeway Wagyu in Wicklow, Castlemine Lamb and Pork and Michael Twomey butchers in Bandon.
Mister S was only open a few days when we visited and as it is walk-in only at the moment we arrived before 7pm, I advise doing similar as they are going to be mobbed.
I’m told there is an efficient queuing system which allows you to go for a drink and sends a text when your table is ready so don’t despair — I recommend nearby Anseo.
I liked the fit out — a very high ceiling, hanging bulbs, sturdy bench seats, and a relaxing dusky shade of pink all around.
The music is loud and with the high ceilings the sound gets amplified however so I wonder would some softening wall hangings help as you won’t be having relaxing conversations here.
The menu is short with five ‘Nibbles’, six ‘Smoked and Grilled’ Mains, three sides and two desserts.
I suspect as they get comfortable in their surroundings this will increase but if it doesn’t that would be fine with me.
As an Amuse Bouche the kitchen sent out filo pastry filled with rich succulent Beef Rendang (Malaysian Curry) made from burnt ends and a lemony, smoked crème fraiche dip.
Lamb Skewers Three Ways (€8) was a mix of deep fried crumbed lamb sweetbreads, lamb neck and lamb belly — the latter two are the most inexpensive lamb cuts and had fatty elements, but they were made quite magical through the simple addition of smoke and fire.
The Engineer felt the lamb needed more kick but I liked the pure, sweet meaty flavours.
Smoked Chicken (€7) had creamy rich smoky flavours and the classic soft texture you would expect, working well with a nutty Romesco; sweet Barbecued Gambas (€8) sat atop a rather puffy soft flat bread which added welcome texture.
The best of the three mains was undoubtedly the Smoked Angus Shortrib (€17) — a big meaty slab of ever so slowly cooked beef with complex smoky flavours.
Skate (or Ray as it should be called in Dublin) is the perfect fish for fire cooking, here it sat on a creamy punchy Dashi flavoured Beurre Blanc — a steal at €16.
Marinated Tomahawk Pork Chop (€15) showed just how good pork and fire mix, a densely flavoured succulent wonder.
Sides of crispy Miso Roasties and Hispi Cabbage with chunks of fried Sobrasada sausage and Feta were solid accompaniments.
There were two desserts on the night — a ‘Bubble Pudding with Salted Caramel and Banana’ which turned out to be puffy dough topped with ice-cream in a rich caramel sauce, the flavours reminded us (favourably) of a good Bananas Foster.
A Strawberry and Elderflower Almond cake topped with yoghurt was light and refreshing and cleansed the palate nicely after all the protein.
The drinks list includes a cider (Orpens), some beers (incl. 8 Degrees) and around 20 wines sourced from solid importers (eg, Wine Lab and Glug Wines) and prices begin at €28.
Our bottle of Colli Ripani Rosso Piceno (€37) from the Marches was gorgeous — silky, fruity and full flavoured and a good foil for the rich barbecue flavours.
Mister S is a joy, flavour is paramount throughout the menu, cooking is confident and assured and this is a welcoming, charming and exciting addition to a very busy street, one of the best openings of 2019.
Dinner for three including three starters, three mains, side dishes, desserts and decent wine cost.
Monday to Saturday: 5pm to 10pm — walk-ins only for now.
In a sentence
Mister S is serving some of the best tasting and best-value barbecue food in the country.
Do go, and be patient if you have to wait, it’ll be worth it.