Jerusalem Camden Street - Quality Fresh Ethnic Cooking
Ask people in most other large cities and they'll rave about "this little Lebanese place you have to try". Usually down some back street or somewhere off the beaten track there are hidden gems where epic Middle Eastern meals are served. I think people get excited about this type of cooking because it is so different to the meat and two veg, burgers or sandwiches that we are used to in the West. Dress a pizza up as many ways as you want but it is still a fucking pizza. While Chinese and Indian food have been embraced the world over and are like the U2 or Coldplay of the food world, Lebanese food is more like Hozier. Young, up and coming and packed full of raw energy. Yet Lebanese is still a largely undiscovered cuisine to many people in Dublin.
Jerusalem actually describes itself as a fusion of Lebanese and Palestinian cooking and is located on the corner of Camden Street , a street where there seems to be a new restaurant opening up every few months. Camden Street is an unusual place where hip burger joints mix with high end Thai and greasy takeaways. Early in the evening there is a hip young crowd sipping craft beers and tapas, but later in the evening they get joined by busloads GAA heads in jerseys heading into Flannerys, suits piling out of the big accountancy firms and girls from the suburbs tottering across the street in 6 inch heels. Its a tough pitch getting a restaurant right around there but against that backdrop there is also a large Arab community in the area, so the timing for Jerusalem could be spot on.
I started with a coke. Nothing annoys me more than places getting this wrong. A coke is a Coca Cola not a Pepsi or a Diet Coke. They taste completely different. If you asked me for an orange juice I wouldn't give you pear juice and expect it to be OK, nor would I just say "sure it's grand" if you served me pork and said it was close enough to the taste of chicken. Anyway rant over and luckily everything else was great.
My hummus with homemade naan bread was absolutely delicious with the pomegranate seeds giving it a vibrant little kick. The bread wasn't as thick as the Indian Naan we are used to, but it was fresh and absolutely spot on. For a main I went with kebabs which were delicious, unlike the donkey tasting rubbish that some of the other shit holes on the same street are serving up to people who are after necking 12 pints of Bulmers. Jerusalem's kebabs were packed with fresh meat, loads of herbs, more great bread, a Palestinian salad and some dips. It was simple cooking but done well and everything was zingy and fresh. I lashed it into me.
It felt like I was a million miles away sitting on Camden street looking around the room of mostly Arab people laughing and joking and welcoming Irish people into their wonderful friendly and unique restaurant. Give it a visit- it's a top spot, especially if you're a vegetarian.