Opening night at Lucky Tortoise's new Temple Bar restaurant proved incredibly satisfying.
As a fan of the Lucky Tortoise restaurant on Aungier Street, I was excited to attend the launch of their new space on Adsill Row, Temple Bar. I loved the relaxed and friendly vibe of the restaurant; after a day in work I was worried I'd be a little underdressed, but such thoughts quickly went away as I was made to feel at home upon arrival.
Why you should go?
If you love dim sum, Lucky Tortoise is the place for it. I'm someone who loves to try different food flavours and textures, even if it's something I've never tried before, and the All In platters at Lucky Tortoise are perfect for this. Bring your pals who are up for trying new things is my advice.
Who to book with?
I recommend booking with an intimate and close group, friends or family; this way you can order either the platter or dishes to share. The website says the dim sum is served family style and I can definitely vouch for that. It's the kind of food to share stories over, to discuss as you try new things, ideal for the foodies and chatterboxes in your life (of which I am both).
Set the scene
With plants hanging from the ceiling and set up all over the restaurant, the setting appealed to me instantly. The chairs were casual but comfortable, better to slump in after a good feed, and the tables were the perfect size to fit the many plates of food we received throughout the evening.
Owner John Ennis and Head Chef Stephen Ryan have created a menu that is strongly influenced by Cantonese cuisine with accents of Japanese and Korean flavours too. Ryan, who previously worked for Doolally and Locks, explains that:
"Dim Sum translates as ‘touch heart’ and that is what we hope to do with every dish we serve."
I loved the interior of the new restaurant. I've visited the Aungier Street location and it has a much more romantic, dim light vibe, whereas the new spot is brighter, with accents of green that compliment the plants. The 48 seater restaurant was designed by Jordan Ralph, who has created a unique and memorable space inspired by his knowledge of Cantonese Dim Sum Houses, Tokyo Plant shops and Korean Galbi restaurants.
Every dish that came out was amazing. To start we had banchan, a range of small dishes which included kimchi, sesame beansprouts, soy cucumber, pickled mooli, peanut rayu, and ssamjang. We then ordered the Veggie All In, which swiftly came out plate by plate until our table was full of food (the kind of sight I love to see). Even when I wasn't fully aware of what I was eating, it was delicious, full of flavour, and fresh. That I also managed to eat the meal with just chopsticks (a little dodgily, but still) provided more satisfaction than I can truly express.
Our All In came with jasmine rice, miso soup which we sipped as opposed to spooned, silken tofu which really did live up to its name, chive and scallion pajeon, okonomiyaki, sweet potato dumplings, and aubergine dumplings. We also ordered the mushroom char siu buns and by the end of the meal we were stuffed.
We both enjoyed a glass of white wine each, which was on tap, and it came out in regular glasses as opposed to typical wine glasses (which I appreciated because I have a bad habit of knocking things over). This detail was just another way that the restaurant created a relaxed and casual atmosphere, the kind that's best to enjoy some good food in.
What did you want to try?
If I was to go again I would definitely order the crispy duck leg bao buns. I am a huge fan of bao buns as well as duck, and I can't wait to get back to Lucky Tortoise to try them out.
I couldn't fault the service for anything. We were made to feel very welcome upon arrival, and the service was incredibly quick and efficient. The staff knew the menu inside and out, able to make recommendations on how much to order, which was great as it can be difficult to know what will be too much or too little. Our server suggested that we try the Roasted Char Siu Mushroom bun, pictured below, and it was sensational, almost like garlic bread with mushroom inside. The staff were overall incredibly friendly and knowledgable, which truly added to the experience.
There's just as much on the menu that is veggie and vegan friendly as contains meat, which is amazing to see (and I can say first hand tastes amazing too). As well at Lucky Tortoise, sustainability is key to their business, and they aim to have a low carbon footprint.
Where is it again?
You can find Lucky Tortoise on Adsills Row in Temple Bar.
How to keep up with them?
Keep up with Lucky Tortoise on their Instagram HERE.
How much you spend really depends on you. The All In Platters are €28pp, and you could easily order only this. The individual plates range from €7 to €11, with kimchi costing €4 and jasmine rice costing €2. The small plates could be as little as €4.50 or as much as €14.50.
For the first time in my life, I got a fortune cookie at the end of my meal. It was such a fun addition to the experience; my friend and I loved cracking them open and reading our fortune - a small detail that was honestly just the cherry on top of a fantastic evening.
Would you go again?
I would absolutely go again. Truthfully I hadn't been to dine in Temple Bar in quite sometime, but I enjoyed its hustle and bustle. As for Lucky Tortoise, I'd be back for more okonomiyaki alone, let alone all the other delicious dishes that were on offer. I highly recommend making a booking for Lucky Tortoise soon, I know I will be.