Small plates, sun (for now) and sangria, all just a stones throw from one of Dublin's busiest shopping streets.
Consistently one of the busiest parts of town, Grafton Street is one of those places we all need to visit every now and then, but one we also need a quick escape route from when the crowds get too much. Weaving in and out of the shops between herds of people toe-tapping along to buskers or attempting to haggle with the flower ladies can be tiring work, which is why you'll always find any pub within the proximity of Grafton Street appropriately packed. For sustenance, the likes of Eddies and Maccy D's have served their duty loyally for decades but if you're looking for something a bit different, a sizzling pan of gambas with a crisp sauv blanc to accompany perhaps, this new side street opener will sort you right out.
Little Lemon, the spritz-y sister restaurant of nearby Lemon and Duke opened its doors last month, with well-established siblings The Bridge 1859 and the Blackrock supporting from their respective southside corners. In keeping with other bars in the group, Little Lemon is tasteful, expensive looking and well laid out, with small plate offerings a significant step above the pub grub you might usually expect.
We tried a mix of their heavy hitters and dishes we thought sounded interesting - the burrata and the patatas bravas are a no-brainer, but the Cod Pil Pil in lieu of the usual gambas and salmon tartare with cucumber and caviar also caught our eye.
All the dishes were fresh, well-assembled and served with a smile and a wink - we would have loved a bit of a sizzle off the Pil Pil pot so we could feel like we were really on holidays, but the cod was cooked to perfection - deliciously crisp skin with flavour throughout the flaky white body. There are plenty of vegetarian options too; summery salads, exotic mushrooms on toast and even a vegan antipasti-style board so no one has to miss out on wine-and-nibbles™. There's an extensive selection of spritzes if you've had just about enough of Aperol - we went for the Limoncello (€12) which was bubbly, sweet and refreshing, but we were definitely tempted by the mandarin, fig and passionfruit options. All the more reason to visit again!
If you want something more mellow, the sangria was boozy and rich with a smooth vanilla aftertaste, and there's a great selection of wines with interesting additions from the likes of Slovenia and Croatia if you're looking for something a bit different.
Little Lemon is a great addition to the area and so well located - perfect for a casual escape from the chaos of the shops, a post-work feed with pals, politely (or not so politely) sharing an enticing selection of small plates or a cocktail date to get the weekend started. We imagine they'll be nicely packed in the lead up to Christmas - you can book in and browse the menu in more detail right here.