Wednesday 10 July 2019

A Dim Sum Feast: Lucky Tortoise, Dublin 2


Lucky Tortoise started as a dim sum pop-up restaurant in Ranelagh a few years ago before opening their permanent location on Aungier Street earlier this year. The restaurant is open every day (12 noon to 10pm from Monday to Saturday; 12 noon to 8pm on Sundays) and due to its size and popularity, it's pretty difficult to get a table for dinner without booking ahead.

My first time at Lucky Tortoise had a bit of a "soakage" purpose, I couldn't really be objective because quite frankly anything tastes good after a few alcoholic beverages. We paid €58 for two "all-ins" along with a carafe of orange wine and couldn't believe how reasonably priced it was, we had to go back! There was a minor mess up with our order on our second visit but the food was so good that all was forgiven. On my third and latest meal, Mr. FFID and I brought a friend along for an improvised early dinner, we all gave it the thumbs up.

Lucky Tortoise is almost too cheap to be true with a €12 lunch deal and an "all in" menu for €20. You could order dishes individually but this would take the fun out of enjoying a meal served "family style" with items being successively brought to your table whenever they're ready. The menu isn't constrained to one type of Asian cuisine in particular but rather mixes Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese influences. The drink menu is limited to wine on tap (white, orange, red, fizzy) and soda which is a bit of bad news for those would prefer to pair this type of food with beer.

The dining room is nothing fancy, painted in black with the menu written on a chalkboard. Tables are very close to each other and almost too small for the amount of food included in the "all in" and the music may be too loud for anyone over 35 (or is that just me getting old?).

Their okonomiyaki, a tasty version of the savoury Japanese eggy pancake, is moreish. They slather it with Kewpie mayonnaise and top it with lots of spring onion and sesame seeds, it's almost too good to share.


The char siu bun is delightfully fluffy and filled with roast pork, another winner.

The scallion pancakes are nicely crisp, a firm favourite while the peanut chilli slaw is probably the only slaw that I've ever enjoyed.

There are so many items with strong flavours that the dumplings get a bit outshone and can get cold quickly if you don't eat them as soon as they arrive. I found the pancetta potstickers slightly too salty and the five vegetable dumplings a little underwhelming. The pork and red cabbage dumplings were very good and so were the chicken shitake and chive pillows though. There's also a portion of excellent kimchi and some Jasmine rice that comes on the side.

The food never seems to stop coming when you order the "all in" menu and that's why it's so enjoyable to eat there; you get to taste lots of different things and it's all about sharing. Lucky Tortoise is so casual that it still has a pop-up restaurant vibe but in a good way. Along with Alma in Portobello this place has been my favourite opening of 2019 so far. Try it if you haven't been already!

Disclaimer: this is an independent review, I paid for my food and drinks on each visit.

Lucky Tortoise
8 Aungier Street
Dublin 2
Lucky Tortoise's website