Craft, Dublin

Archive - all the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. A local guide to local places.

Craft has craft: there’s no question about that when it comes to Phil Yeung’s cooking, in his simple and pretty – and busy – room up in Harold’s Cross.
But Craft also offers culinary character, as well as culinary craft. Mr Yeung works hard at his dishes, and you can see the calling of a craftsman in the detail – the plate-decorating meringue with white chocolate and grilled peaches; the pickled walnuts with Young Buck arancini; the Kelly green avocado pureé with crab toasts; the mosaic of flavours embedded in a beautiful dish of oxtail with fresh pasta.
But it's the character of Mr Yeung’s food that comes to fore as dinner comes to a climax. He knows how to pace things, he knows how to make a meshwork of tastes. So the eye of the loin of lamb is separated from the bone, which is roasted to maximum flavourfulness whilst the loin is rare and sweetly pink.
John Dory with grilled squid is also perfectly delivered, but what sets the plate apart is some baby white turnips, with their tops, so perfectly cooked that they are actually sweet.
Oxtail with pasta, carrots, peas and broad beans is just as deft, the flavours resonant and rich, the sweet summer vegetables a foil to the unctuous oxtail.
It's all thought-through, and it’s craftily harmonised, from the brown bread and butter to the carrots with Velvet Cloud yogurt and ras al hanout, from the grilled salad with the fish, to the pea shoots with the arancini.
Only the arancini, though correctly cooked, fails to deliver the plosive strength that blesses every other dish. Craft shows craft, for sure, as this is super modern Irish cooking, but also character, and characterfully vivid, and satisfying. Excellent service gets the job done, and Craft is a happening Dublin dining room, and a brilliant destination in Harold’s Cross, a zone where John McKenna lived during his student days and where the local shop – still there, directly opposite Craft – used to proudly display a sign advertising their own, homemade, “cold slaw”. Baby, you’ve come a long way.
208 Harold’s Cross Road, Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6W