Located two doors down from Drumcondra Train Station is Shouk, a little restaurant with a big personality. This Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurant serves a range of dishes from vegan to carnivorous, and the best bit? Shouk is dog friendly and BYOB, where the corkage fee for wine is €6 and €1.50 for beer.
Initially walking through the door into an intimate cosy room you are met with an array of spicy aromas from all over the Middle East. The room was warm but welcoming. Decorated with paintings and pretty cushions the room had an indie, eclectic vibe.
Some customers have the option of being seated in the back of the building. This is a big conservatory-like room with floor to ceiling windows on two of the four walls. Outside, there is a little courtyard area with more tables, seating and fairy lights. This is a smoking area. Guests wait at a beach hut themed bar for a friendly waitress to tell us our table is ready.
Fairy lights, flowers and plants filled the room giving it a rustic, jungle like feel. The tungsten glow in the room, paired with the warmth and chatter gave the whole experience a warm, fuzzy feeling. The music, although louder than usual played a relaxing upbeat playlist, which was ever so slightly drowned out by the chatter of other customers.
The delf was willow patterned china, all different, but somehow the fact that they were mismatched gave the place another quirky detail. Empty canisters, jars and other vintage trinkets lined the shelves around the tables.
The menu, while small, featured a range of dishes from tapas-like dishes to rib eye steak served in a pita bread. Finding something to choose was easy, especially if you’re looking to share. The tapas-like menu allows you to order a selection of different dishes, meaning you can really get a feel for all of the food here.
Ordering a small platter ‘The Mezze’ to share for a starter was certainly a good choice. The plate came with falafels, pita bread, a generous helping of hummus and four changing salads. The best of these were a shredded carrot dip in chilli oil and a spicy onion sauce. You have a choice of ordering this platter in small or large. For €15 you get the “small” platter which is definitely not small by any means.
Shouk is known for its inventive cauliflower dishes, so this one is a must have. Served with a tahini dressing, grilled cherry tomatoes and sprinkled with pomegranate. This dish was a huge portion, and only €9. Shouk is a place where you can add hummus to every meal, and tahini is actually making cauliflower trendy.
While having only ordered two dishes to share, the food was delicious and so filling. Everything in Shouk is homemade, and you can tell. All of the food tastes so fresh. The falafels was the perfect consistency and the homemade hummus is to die for. Having the option of bringing your own wine/beer is a nice touch, even though they do offer a range of both red and white wines. The house red was a Sicilian Shiraz, priced at €22.50.
This dog friendly and pocket friendly place is a must, especially if you want a chill night with really good food. It caters for vegans, veggies and carnivores too. Besides what’s better than enjoying a good meal while sitting next to a cute pooch? Nothing.
Value for money: 7/10
Image credit: Alison Clair