Regular readers will know who long I've been bitching about the lack of seafood options in Dublin, despite the fact that we're an island, surrounded (obviously) by water.
The fact that we don't focus on our strengths here is a bit of a disgrace, and perhaps why I heard a couple of French tourists muttering recently that "la cuisine Irlandais, c'est la merde". We're probably better known as a city for burritos, chicken wings and burgers than we are for fish – and that's just not right.
Klaw, which opened a couple of weeks ago, is a mini version of Rock Lobster – which is flying after they eventually found the perfect location for it. Indeed I hear there could be a larger version of Rock Lobster coming to town and also that the wildly successful Burger & Lobster is also eyeing up a move into the capital.
Four restaurants in Dublin dedicated to lobster? Whoa. All we need now is somebody to launch a product with an Irish model getting hosed down in champagne the good times can roll again.
The only problem I had with Klaw was that it was in Temple Bar.
As I was walking down there, I was actually thinking "For fuck's sake, I have to crush through Spanish tourists, Brits fighting each other and Americans holding maps looking for the Blarney Stone", which is never really the ideal way to kick off a decent feed.
Today, though, the sun was out and the place was buzzing. A proper little food market, that second-hand book fair and a wonderful band cranking out the tunes – I actually stood and took it all in for five minutes. That's saying something.
As for Klaw itself, blink and you'd miss it – It's nothing more than a wide hallway. They've somehow managed to fit seating in there for about 20 people, which is absolutely remarkable and shows an insane level of vision.
Down the back, a couple of lads were shucking oysters and prepping lobsters. I've always wanted this sort of seafood bar in Dublin but presumed it would be in D2 or Ballsbridge and not wedged onto a sixpence in Temple Bar. My growing love for the place only increased when reading the menu – everything I loved, unapologetically fish and shellfish focused.
I started with three oysters on the shell.
Now I've eaten a lot of oysters in my time but rarely any this plump and big. I actually had to use my hands to cut the second and third ones in half to enjoy them more, given their size.
They were fresh, perfectly served and devoured in about five seconds. Being an extravagant bastard (and wanting to review the place properly, of course) I had a half lobster, which was decent value at €16. Served simply with lemon and some Marie Rose sauce I couldn't have asked for more.
Well I could have – an entire lobster. That's because there really is no better tasting meat in the world if you ask me; sweet, succulent and just fucking perfect, I picked every piece of meat from the poor bastard's carcass.
Because none of the dishes had carbs, I was still peckish – but it was the perfect sized meal for a Summer's day.
The place was packed full of tourists and the beauty of the place is that the turnover is quick. People are in and out in no time and they'll spend big per person. It isn't cheap, but they're in Temple Bar paying big rent and they're offering a top product.
But as I sat there sucking on lobster I remembered one of the reasons why there aren't more seafood only restaurants in Dublin. Three couples passed at various stages – and while one person would tug the arm and usher their partner into the restaurant, the other would turn their nose up and look for non seafood options. If 50% of people don't like fish or choose not to eat it, then the whole thing becomes a fairly hard sell.
Luckily that won't matter here because they'll be constantly busy at Klaw – from the locals who have a great new option to the tourists who are going to go home with something positive to say about Irish cuisine. I'll be back here at least once a month – top vision, top execution, top spot.