Ireland has never seen anything like Dang Dai. The room is luridly coloured, loud, raucous, and chaotic, the Oriental restaurant from a sci fi movie made real, on Camden Street, in Dublin’s new restaurant quarter. In the midst of the tumult, chef-patron Karl Whelan calmly wields his knife, portioning succulent Skeaghanore Duck into the trilogy of dishes that is the centrepiece of the Hang Dai menu: duck broth; duck leg, and duck breast with pancakes and cherry hoi sin. Mr Whelan is the Zen antidote to the most original restaurant the capital has seen, and his calmness brings forth mighty food: classic fish-fragrance aubergine; Ma Po tofu; pork dumplings; preserved duck egg with black vinegar; shrimp broth with mustard greens. Mr Whelan and his partner, Will Dempsey pull it all together with superb staff, but getting a table is the hard bit.
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