Grub & Grape Spy: Happy as a bag of clams at Klaw
Lately I’ve been making great efforts to discover new bang-on seafood joints.
But the sad truth is there aren’t that many out there, which for an island nation surrounded by oceans full of fish is really very sad.
When it comes to cooking slabs of pig, sheep, chicken and cow, we’re up there with the best – and nobody does fish and chips as good as the Irish.
So why are we not exploiting those foodie intersections between the chipper and the restaurant?
I’m talking about grab-and-go-style raw bars that never seem to go out of style in other countries.
I mean, if we can do the business with pizzas and burgers, why not fresh fish?
Well fish lovers, prepare to be as happy as a bag of clams.
With a dining area the size of a cloakroom, a menu to die for and a location that could not be bettered – the fishmeisters have well and truly landed in Temple Bar.
It may not be much to look at from the outside, but inside, Klaw is exactly what it says on the tin.
I start with immaculate oysters topped with loads of tasty tidbits, including Parmesan and parsley.
Torched at the table with a flame-thrower you could melt steel girders with, I was seriously worried for the young waitress. A millimeter off target and her fingers were toast.
Moving along, I chanced a less dangerous looking stack of sweet juicy crab claws served on ice.
Crab claws are never a bad thing - and these babies are delicious.
A lobster roll is up next, with meat chopped just so, hints of lemon and herbs, and all ready to be devoured in a neat roll.
Every bite is drop-dead gorgeous. Potted crayfish will never sound sexy and cool, but as simple pleasures go, this offering is as nice as it gets.
Straightforward seafood is perfect lunchtime fodder because, while you may be completely satisfied, the lack of carbs means you will never feel overly stuffed.
And there I am licking crab gunk off my fingers, listening to a Rastafarian making magic on a sax on Crown Alley, and thinking how cool Dublin can be sometimes...when an incident occurs which goes a long way to explain our national disinterest in fish.
A five-year-old arrives with his stressed-looking mother in tow. One look around and his face squirms in disgust “Ah ma, you said this was like McDonald’s. Well it’s not, it’s not.” Whereupon the jaded mother throws in the towel, raises a dejected eyebrow and says: “OK, don’t panic, we’ll go for a burger.”
I suppose if truth be told, back in the day I wasn’t much different myself when it came to fish.
Thankfully the guys at Klaw are still on a winner and packed to the rafters. The pricing is enthusiastic let’s say, without being grasping. Which is absolutely fine by me so long as the quality is maintained. The staff are also bright and sparky and genuinely appear to like what they are doing.
5a Crown Alley,
Temple Bar, Dublin 1 Ph: (01) 476 0125
2014 Touraine La Chardoise €9.99
Lidl’s superb Loire Sauvignon Blanc has subtle tropical aromas and tastes lively and fresh with lemon and citrus flavours showing through.
Serve with fresh summer goats cheese salads or fish. More super French wines will be available in Lidl’s French wine sale in September. For wine events see www.jeansmullen.com.