First Look: New restaurant Kicky’s brings class and comfort to Dublin’s George’s Street

Kicky’s, by former Chapter One head chef Eric Matthews and business partner Richie Barrett, opens Monday

The first thing you notice when you walk into Kicky’s, the new restaurant from former head chef at the Michelin star Chapter One, Eric Matthews, is the kitchen. Not because it’s open, but because the pass has a bright, colourful and bold mural painted by artist Leah Hewson encompassing it between a plain painted white brick wall to the left and a muted almost clay-like wall to the right.

The next thing you see is the lighting, complimentary but not overpowering, a nice ambience that makes you feel welcome, a classy, but accessibly so, eatery.

Nestled in between Dublin Business School and an Enable Ireland charity shop on Dublin’s bustling George’s Street, Kicky’s is comfortable, down to the maroon coloured, soft seats at the bar, which are completed with a marble countertop and Japanese lanterns overhead.

Matthews, and his business partner Richie Barrett, have known each other for more than a decade, having worked together previously in different restaurants. But now, they have one they can call their own.

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“We’re doing it ourselves, and we’re very proud of it, and that’s why, if you look at the place, it’s a reflection of us, we love art, we love food, loud music,” Matthews explains.

“The goal is not to be taking myself seriously, as you can see it’s all about a good team, nice art, great room and a really, really nice kitchen that I’m really happy about.”

Matthews likened the kitchen design process to The Founder on Netflix, as he took a 24 sq m piece of cardboard and chalked a design over and over again until it worked for his layout. “When else will you get to design your own kitchen?” he says.

The kitchen is also paperless, to reduce waste, using three separate iPads in different areas to alert staff of orders in their different work stations.

The restaurant is going for a Mediterranean inspired style, with hand rolled pastas – made in a dedicated pasta room – and signature cocktails.

“The tag is like, Mediterranean inspired, the idea behind that is, I know officially Portugal is not the Med, but it’s on the way, and I like the idea that we can cook from Portugal to Turkey, do whatever we want, we’re not going to call it the authentic version of something, but it’s nice to use little techniques, spices,” Matthews says.

The menu is broken up into light bites with prices ranging from €4.50-€12, dishes to share priced €16-€18, and main courses cooked over charcoal from €34-€39, save for a Peter Hannan strip loin on the bone, which serves two for €82 and includes sides.

The sharing dishes include a mussel tartare, a rabbit Bolognese on toast and an egg yolk ravioli with black truffle butter.

However, the main goal of the restaurant is to give people good food, where they can “chill and have fun,” and sit at the bar with their food, somewhere that Matthews and Barrett would eat themselves.

“My background obviously is the fancy stuff, right? So I’ve no interest in doing the tweezer-y kind of, stressing,” Matthews says, adding that he is using the same suppliers as he did in Chapter One.

Both Matthews and Barrett stress that they want their restaurant to be a place people go to regularly, rather than a “go to once for the experience” eatery.

The pair are also big on sustainability and accessible prices, with wines ranging from €35 to not more than €100 per bottle, all matching the Mediterranean feel of the food, and cocktails priced €12-€16, Barrett says.

Anyone hoping to get a latte or a flat white after their meal may be disappointed however, with the pair having forgone the traditional espresso machine and choosing to use pour over coffee instead, with Ethiopian and Costa Rican blends on offer.

Vegans and vegetarians also do not have to worry as Matthews says, “they’re going to be well sorted,” with dishes on offer including vegan pasta.

“We’re gunning to go, we’re about absolutely rearing to take [the restaurant] on, and I think where we are, it’s just a dream come true, for sure,” he says.

The pair are full of realistic ideas for the future in their small, 50-ish pax restaurant, and it is clear that they have the passion, expertise and excitement to use the freedom they now have to do what they want to do with Kicky’s.

The restaurant will be taking walk-ins once they open to the public at 5.30pm on Monday, November 6th, after a friends and family day on Friday, and an industry day on Saturday. Bookings are now open on their website.

Kicky’s will be closed on Sundays and Tuesdays for the month of November, and will be open all days bar Sunday for December, when they will offer a three-course Christmas party menu for €72.

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