Soder & Ko.

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Soder and Ko. is one of those places I’ve been meaning to visit for a long time. It’s always on the list, we just haven’t gotten around to it.

Having my cousins in town was a perfect opportunity to try something new. Instead of C and me bringing them to one of our favorites and staring at them wondering “do you love this? We love this. We hope you love this too. Isn’t it the BEST?!” we could all be on the maiden food voyage together.

This was a happy voyage into the wacky world of Asian tapas.

We got the crispy duck sharing platter. I love crispy duck. One cousin was not sure she did. In fact, was almost positive she would not like it. Majority coaxed her around (“It’s like slow cooked pork! It is really good! You’ll love it! It’s not like duck, duck.” and other verbal gems), and she did, in fact, find it delicious. As did we all.

Duck.
Duck.

The less adventurous eating cousin said, “As someone who shies away from duck, it was very yummy. I also really enjoyed the sharing aspect of the meal.”

The other sharing aspects included really fantastic tempura broccoli, rich and creamy aubergine (eggplant) in a spicy soy sauce, raw beet salad, and thick sweet potato fries with toasted coconut sprinkled over it.

Broccoli and Aubergine Sludge
Broccoli and Aubergine Sludge

There was nothing left over. There was a lot of “oh my god, try this!” going around the table as we decimated our portions.

Pretty Beets.
Pretty Beets.

The space is vast: it’s high and long and cavernous. We sat down by the kitchen which felt much cozier than out in the main seating area under twenty-foot ceilings. The decor is of the modern Asian slant; lots of blue and white urns and vases, dark wood, and a very ancient piano that is being used as a table. That bit is not particularly modern Asian…..

Vast Interior
Vast Interior

Like most tapas places, you end up spending a little more than you think you will. It’s never the bargain you imagine it to be. Happily, at Soder & Ko. the food is worth it.

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Soder & Ko.

Camden Exchange

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Clock themed graffiti

Camden Exchange has just opened on Camden Street in what has been a long-empty building. It was used for exterior shots on the TV show Raw, and I wondered what, if anything would go into it.

Fun new places have been opening on Camden Street steadily for the past few years. There is something for everyone: tapas (Tapas de Lola), Burgers (Bunsen), Burritos (Burritos and Blues), Craft Beers (Against The Grain), Asian Street Food (neon), Middle Eastern (Jerusalem), Fancy Irish (Delahunt and Camden Kitchen), Cheap and Cheerful and Cocktails (Green 19). Camden Street is Dublin’s Hell’s Kitchen!

Camden Exchange has opened right in the middle of this dining foray. The interior is modern and hip if a bit schizophrenic. I don’t think there was a “design theme” for this space. The mood board was just all the “hip restaurant elements”: subway tiles, naked lightbulbs, wood floors, bronze grates, some graffiti, an old truck. The Guinness taps are like, “wait, what is this place? Don’t we belong in a pub?”

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Having said that, it is laid out well, there is a garden space in the back and plenty of cozy dark nooks to cuddle up in with a cocktail. The staff are very friendly and obliging. The cocktail list is extensive and includes many “mantails” that involve bacon infused bourbon. Obviously C had to try one. He opted for the one with a chili infusion as well. Because where there is bacon there should be chili? On ice?! Who knows . . . It was strong and tasty, and I believe C felt more manly drinking it. Even if it did come in a cute jar.

Those are chillies. Not raspberries.
Those are chillies. Not raspberries.

I had just come off a full day of work and my brain was in no mood to make decisions as important as “what would I like to drink?”, so I decided to try the new Guinness craft brew: Hope House 13. C had told me he was unimpressed with it. The kind bar staff at Camden Exchange allowed me to sample it before I jumped into a full pint. I thought it was crisp and light and perfect for a sunny evening. So I did take the plunge. It was good all the way down, if not knock-your-socks-off amazing. It’s lighter than other craft beers which, depending on your beer mood, could be wonderful. It hit the spot after a long day at work, that’s for sure.

C, My beer, a truck.
C, My beer, a truck.

Camden Exchange does food: Pig, Cow, Chicken or Fish. There is one dish per animal. There are also a few starters that are vegetarian. The dishes live somewhere between the American south and TexMex. We didn’t have any food, so I can’t comment, but it looked (and smelled) good.* And it all comes out of the little truck that is inside the bar, so, you know, that’s cool.

The alcohol is kept in a cage.
The alcohol is kept in a cage.

We’ll go back. I love a cocktail place close to home. More options on Camden Street can only be a good thing for everyone.

*For a full review of drinks and food, have a lookie at: http://lovindublin.com/reviews/hipster/camden-exchange-is-the-newest-kid-in-the-class-so-whats-it-like

Camden Exchange