Monday 24 August 2015

Temple Bar's Seafood Shack: Klaw

My friend Ms. L is a frenchie from Normandy, which means seafood is serious business for her. As both of our respective partners are intolerant to seafood we decided to have a few seafood dates over the next few months and chose Klaw as our first place to try.

Klaw is the new venture of Niall Sabongi of Rock Lobster, which opened a few weeks ago in the heart of Temple Bar. It's a tiny place which can only sit a few people, like a little seafood shack that landed in the most touristy part of the city. There are a few tables and stools where you can sit by the wall, it's very narrow and compact but in a cute way.

We visited on a weekday so it wasn't too busy but it was very noisy outside with people cheering and watching a match across the road while buskers also played loud music in Temple Bar Square. Luckily, having lived for over three years on East Essex Street across from the Temple Bar pub I'm kind of immune to the Temple Bar madness and was well able to focus on the food and the company, so it didn't bother me too much.

The menu is written on a giant blackboard and is of course all about seafood. Oysters in 3 varieties (Achill, Waterford and Galway Bay) you can eat them naked (with lemon or tabasco), dressed or torched. You can get Atlantic prawns, crab served in different ways, seafood chowder, smoked salmon, a seafood platter (€38) and of course lobster as well as a few dessert options.

We both went for oysters to start, Ms. L took one of each variety and preferred them just with a bit of lemon juice (€2 each). She's used to eating raw oysters and they went down a treat. I've always had my oysters hot and with a topping like a champagne sabayon or even with camembert on top so eating raw oysters was a first for me. I went for two Achill oysters, one with a 'bloody mary' dressing and the other with a nam jim dressing (€2.50 each).

The bloody Mary one had a bit too much topping for me, lots of tomato which made it a bit difficult to eat and it didn't really remind of a bloody mary. However, the one dressed with nam jim sauce was zingy and fresh with cucumber and lots of coriander which complemented the saltiness of the oysters.

Now, having tried and absolutely loved the lobster roll at Taste of Dublin over the last few years I just had to get it in Klaw. To be honest, the price hurts a bit...  €14 is a lot for a small roll. I had two voices in my head, one saying it's bloody expensive and the other one telling me it would be worth it, it's lobster after all. Ms. L and I both went for it and were very pleased.

The roll is a delicious brioche bun fried in butter and oozing with lobster dressed in a yuzu mayonnaise served with a big chunk of cucumber. It is super tasty and even if it looks small it's rich enough that you'll feel you've had enough.

We washed down our feed with a glass of Picpoul (€7) and I rounded off the meal with a rather boozy and delicious creme brûlée which was brûlée in front of me by a young lad with a huge torch, which he seemed excited to use. He confessed it was his favourite tool in the kitchen.

The staff were friendly, I liked their enthusiasm and you could tell they enjoyed working there and talking to customers. When the bill came I initially though 'that's cheap' but then realised they forgot to include the lobster rolls and I think the guy was a bit surprised by my honesty when I pointed it out and requested the correct bill. They were lucky we weren't dishonest tourists just passing by Temple Bar! So yeah it wasn't cheap after all but we really enjoyed our food and the experience. I loved when the smell of butter wafted from the kitchen each time a lobster roll was being prepared, it made me want to order more...

Klaw is a fun new place, perfect for seafood lovers who are looking for something tasty without too much fuss. Locals may be put off by the location as Temple Bar suffers a bad reputation but I can tell you their lobster rolls alone are worth venturing into that part of the city!

5 A Crown Alley
Dublin 2

This is an independent review, I paid for my meal.