Sunil Ghai

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With the opening of Pickle, his restaurant on Dublin’s Camden Street, chef Sunil Ghai, and his business partner Benny Jacob, are challenging the way we think about ethnic cooking. Of course, Mr Ghai done this sort of thing before. When Ananda opened, in Dundrum in south Dublin, he upended people’s expectations of how you could cook and serve Indian cuisine. And that is what Mr Ghai does: he transforms expectations. He takes simple things – chicken thighs; rice; lamb shank; prawns; goat mince; kulfi – and through complex, finessed technique, he transforms them utterly. But the dishes hide the technique, and simply offer fluent and imaginative tastes and textures: kernels of sweetcorn and cashews with chicken; avocado pickle with grilled prawns, intensified with a wasabi yogurt and almonds; the deep and sour note in the lamb vindaloo, the sweet resonance of the marrowbone in lamb; the crisp bite of home-made mango pickle with pillowy, delicate pooris.
The techniques and seasonings may be complex, but Pickle food is extremely approchable food: you want chicken wings or chicken tikka? grilled prawns? potato cakes? chocolate cake? ice cream? Here they are, reworked and rewired, for sure, but still recogniseable. And the dishes have a special secret: they make you yearn for them, so that the next day you find that you are remembering the perfection of the chicken biryani, or the goat mince curry with cardamom, or that wild chocolate, burfi and treacle tart.
Mr Ghai is also a chef in the right place, for Pickle’s location at the upper end of Camden Street consecrates this zone as the food lovers’ parade. Pickle is right where it needs to be.

Pickle Restaurant, 43 Camden Street Lower, Dublin
+ 353 1 5557755