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Fia is the favoured new place of worship in Dublin 6, says John McKenna

All the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. A local guide to local places.

10.25am on a Sunday morning in Rathgar, and Fia is full.
The nearby churches are most likely empty, but Fia is full.
There is so much laughter in the room that you might imagine it was Friday evening, right after work. That sound, of course, is the sound of people energised and excited by great food. If you want to assess if an individual restaurant is good, don’t look at the menu: listen to the volume.
10.25am on a Sunday morning, and Fia is loud. And that’s because Fia is exceptionally good.
Fia is good because Fia is smart. Any culinary students – and their lecturers – who want a masterclass in how to do it right should get up to this little room, opposite the Church of the Three Patrons, sit down at a table, and watch a virtuoso demonstration of professionalism.
Keith Coleman and his team have refined the concept of a neighborhood destination. They aren’t doing much that is new. What they are doing is doing the straightforward things, but better.
Look at their breakfast bap, for example. In Fia, this most besmirched piece of culinary cliché is reborn, right from the origin. The bap is a brioche roll from Firehouse Bakery. The mayonnaise is scented with lovage. The red onions have been pickled pink. The leaves are organically grown in McNally’s farm in North County Dublin. The black pudding is from Jack McCarthy of Kanturk. The soft-fried egg is perfectly cooked.
It’s a killer. It’s bomb-proof. It’s the bomb. They have re-thought and re-built the breakfast bap, and it’s smarter than before, and better than ever.
Our other dish is Peaches on Toast: in this case, Le Levain sourdough with Macroom buffalo ricotta, Calabrian Nduja, a confetti of dukkah, and half a dozen chunks of scorch-marked peaches. It’s a beaut, and it was clearly made to team with a pour-over coffee, using Roasted Brown’s Konga beans from Ethiopia.
Everything in Fia is precise. They source with exacting precision. They write menus with precise care. They focus on getting each little thing to be the best. Then they just finish the dish, plate up, and make you happy. The fact that it is all done with becoming modesty just makes everything taste even better.

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