Long considered an area reserved solely for tourists and teens, Temple Bar has always rated fairly low on the radar of trendy Dubliners, with pre-and-post Celtic Tiger folk preferring side streets off Grafton to get their foodie fix.
Recently however, a whole new crop of exciting restaurants have popped up in the cobbled streets of the city's old quarter, and it's a very welcome makeover.
Leading the way of late, it seems, is the Press Up group, the big movers 'n shakers behind the beloved Workman's Club, Roberta’s Rooftop Bar & Restaurant and Dollard & Co Food Market and Grill.
With the latter two hotspots taking over two floors of the old Dollard Printworks building on Essex St, the newest addition to the basement level of the red brick beaut is Tomahawk, a steakhouse and all-round taste haven.
The building had previously been lying vacant for the last couple years before the Press Up gang took it over and breathed life (and 200 jobs) into the street.
Here's what Tomahawk is all about...
Stepping out of the bustling cobblestone streets of Temple Bar and down the stairs to Tomahawk where beautiful windows allow in light from street level, this is an intimate and unique dining setting - and their steaks are the star of the show.
It officially opens tomorrow, so we popped down today for a sneak peek...
Tomahawk Head Chef Barra Hurley has clear intentions for the new place; ‘We want people to enjoy their beef like they would wines,whiskeys or cheeses, experiencing the different flavour notes due to the aging, smoking and cooking processes on the charcoal burning grill, we hope that they visit Tomahawk time and again to expand their palate and have a brilliant culinary experience.’
And with all cuts of beef aged in the upstairs Aging Chamber, each piece, from Hereford to Black Angus is perfectly tender.
Steak lovers of Dublin, this place is for you.
You can choose from a classic cut like Black Angus Striploin, 'The Tomahawk' - a 24oz Ribeye for two to share, or a T-Bone.
I went for the 14oz Rib Eye, and it was mouthwateringly tender. Flavoursome meat, grilled Argentinian-style over wood and charcoal with a juicy eye of crackling fat in the middle.
Side dishes come in little copper pots, and include the creamiest champ mash you will ever feast upon and salty, crispy fries, while sauce lovers will have a tough time choosing between Red Wine Jus, Peppercorn, Chimichurri or Bearnaise.
The interior of Tomahawk is, to put it simply, stunning.
Reminiscent of the famous Peter Luger's steakhouse in Brooklyn, Tomahawk is a super stylish affair without the stuffiness that sometimes comes with "fine dining."
The leather booths along the side of the restaurant come with head-tilting views of Essex Street's Georgian buildings, while a gorgeous timber dining bar set around their open kitchen gives you a front seat view of the chefs at work.
An A+ cocktail menu is on hand too, with bartenders experts at impressive long pours and whisking up both much-loved classics and unexpected twists.
And there's much, much more than just beef on the menu
If you're not feeling like a steak, the menu has a whole range of gourmet options, such as Whole Baked Dover Sole, Seared Grade Tuna Ceviche, Yuzu Ginger Ponzu, Avocado & Pak Choi Salad, Mini Irish Lobster & Crab Cocktail Rolls, Kilmore Scallops or Double Barnsley Lamb.
And, if you still have room for dessert, they have some real treats to round off your meal, including a Valrhona Caramelita Chocolate Ganache, Banana Cake, Coconut Orange Dacquoise and Dulce de Leche Pancakes.
The Coconut Orange is light and zesty, a plate that's more like a work of art, while the Chocolate Ganache brings to mind a Michelin-style Mars Bar, all gooey caramel and chocolate-y greatness.
The team here have clearly worked hard to make Tomahawk a cosy and elegant yet comfortable eatery, and staff are passionate about the produce - an extra bonus that always goes a long way when it comes to the longevity of a new opening.
Curious about what lies beneath the belly of Temple Bar? Step into Tomahawk and you'll discover something seriously special.
Tomahawk opens its doors tomorrow evening, Thursday 20th September on 1 East Essex St, Dublin 2 and will be open from 5pm each day.