The Dirty South Comes To The Northside – NOLA inspired hotspot KREWE review
After much trouble in Haiti and the increasing likeliness of more warfare in Europe, Napolean decided to sell Louisiana (New France) to the United States in the Lousiana Purchase of 1803. A massive coup for President Thomas Jefferson, nearly doubling the size of his territory as the purchase included land from many current US states such as Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and even reaching as far north as the Canadian province of Alberta.
Thereafter the traditional colonially French and Spanish influences in New Orleans and Lousiana merged with cultures and cuisines of the new immigrants from Haiti, West Africa and Europe. Modern-day Creole Cuisine is a product of this congregation of world flavours and New Orleans is the home for one of the most famous cuisines in all of America.
Conor McCrohan and business partner Michael Monaghan decided Dublin was in need for some soul food and while taking in the sights of NOLA on an open-top bus they passed the yard of the Mardi Gras floats and what jumped out was the name on every Float ending in KREWE.
A Krewe is a social organisation that puts on a parade or ball for the carnival season like Mardi Gras. Instantly they knew the name was a perfect fit with Irish culture of so many gatherings with friends.
So Krewe was born.
Conor and Michael joined forces with marketing guru Belinda Kelly and in conjunction with head chef Niall Smyth have designed a menu that wouldn’t look out of place on NOLA’s famous Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. From Bourbon Street to Capel Street, Krewe has found a home in an area famous for its diversity in food and culture keeping with the theme of vibrancy and colour.
As you first walk through the door you will notice displayed in red neon on the back wall the famous art sign created by Dr Bob is ‘Be Nice or Leave’. This is a big part of the Krewe ethos adopted from Southern hospitality which is not unlike the Irish equivalent Belinda informs me.
It’s Wednesday night and the place is a jammed creating a very bouncy atmosphere from the bar throughout the tables. Disco Inferno kicking in the background the bar team are hard at it, slinging out cocktails from a list a that incorporates NOLA classics and a few tasty signatures all priced €11-11.5. If you’re looking for a whiskey sour try a Krewe Kut with creme de peche and sage-infused whiskey. The Hurricane is a tropical rum delight or play it vintage with a French 75.
There are options for homemade bottle rested drinks including The Negroni or The Old Fashioned, a decent wine list and some interesting canned and bottled beers. The Montepulciano €27 is delish as is the Riesling €39 and the bar is busy all night if it’s just a drink you are looking for. Although I recommend if you stop by, it is worth taking a seat and checking out some of the cajun, creole and smoked delights coming out of the kitchen.
Full disclosure, I have visited for a second time prior to writing this piece so please don’t be alarmed by the amount of food on the menu I have now tasted!
The starters are home to some of my highlights and I will be returning for some Crayfish Roll €8.95 again soon. Mixed with some cajun sour cream and dolloped on a thick slice of brioche, these 4 or 5 bites kept the cutlery clean and were a promising start. The Buffalo Cauliflower Bites €6.95 are drenched in hot sauce and vegan ranch combined in a bowl with diced pieces of celery. The hot sauce is wicked so I would recommend the Krewe Wings €11.95 further down the menu without having tried them but the combo of everything in that Cauliflower bowl makes even the very last piece of celery irresistible to this carnivore.
The Crispy Pork Boudin €8.95 looks like arancini from the outside and even somewhat when ripped open as smoked pulled pork is mashed together with smoked aubergine, apple and yellow mustard before being coated and deep-fried. The smoker installed in the kitchen creates a distinct flavour here and one might even get the craziest comparison to a spice burger from a Dublin chip shop. Have it noted I love spice burgers so this is a massive compliment.
The Boudin also appears in the Krewe Grill €60. 8oz fillet steak, smoked blood sausage, andouille sausage, hot fried chicken, pot roast brisket, bbq shrimp and a choice of a couple of sides this is a mega meat feast sharing main. The steak was juicy and everything on the plate buzzed with flavour although I couldn’t resist some more of that Krewe Hotsauce that sits upon every table cleverly recycled and created from old wooden doors.
The andouille sausage & smoked blood sausage (black pudding) are another NOLA classic and to get the smoking and spicing just right they collaborated with The Crafty Butcher in Ashbourne.
Cajun Blackened Cod €18.95 is accompanied by some shredded fennel and parsley and laid upon a rather tasty bed of lemon and cauliflower puree. Other mains that caught the eye were an absolute monster of a Buttermilk Hot Fire Chicken Burger €13 or the Jambalaya €15.95. Jambalaya is the paella of the south and in this creole style dish, you will find shrimp, andouille sausage and chicken as the rice dance partners.
There is a whole range of tasty sides to get stuck into from Kimchi Slaws €4.25 and Cajun Mac n Cheese €5.95 to Chilli Roasted Brussel Sprouts €5.95 and Creamed Corn €7.95 or check out one of the ‘Dirty Fries’. Debris fries are served up with big chunks of the stout braised brisket or the Cajun Spice Bag is their delicious take on the Dublin phenomenon of recent years.
Dessert is all about the Beignet Bowl and for those unfamiliarly, think mini square doughnut without the hole. The deep-fried choux pastry is slightly lighter than your typical doughnut and I would truly have no problem devouring these repeatedly with the bourbon salted caramel and hot chocolate sauces. I am informed the chocolate fudge brownie is another winner if you’re not into these doughy delights.
The menu changes at lunchtime with Po-Boys front and centre, the first Po-Boys introduction into Ireland. Big, stuffed to the brim with fillings, Louisana style sandwiches. With seven Po-Boys to choose from as well as Po-Bowls, there is 1 for every day of the week. How good does this sound? Lamb Belly, tzatziki, tomato jam and gravy €10.95. Drool.
This place really does ooze coolness and you will no doubt be sure to see many Instagram photos of the artwork from Sumsone popping up on your feed soon. Baron Samedi, the famous loa of Haitian Vodou occupies the stairs up to the second floor of the restaurant that is available to rent for private parties or larger groups. Among other murals around the place, you will Louis Armstrong, NOLA native, trumpeter and one of the influential jazz musicians ever. Fancy a semi-private booth with a roof? Then book one of two large huts that sit down near the kitchen.
Krewe has brought a little bit of the dirty south to the northside and add in a buzzing bar, delicious comfort food, a ‘Soul Train’ brunch kicking off in January and some really great service you create no doubt one the must visits on everyone’s 2020 hitlist.
52 Capel Street
(01) 532 8845