Brunch in Dublin – 777 And The Leche Frita Recipe
777 opened in 2012 and it’s taken me until January 2020 to eat there.
I was given a voucher for 777 as a present late last year and their brunch deal was a great way to try it. On Sundays, the menu comprises of small plates. Each plate only costs €7.77 and the staff recommends that you have two or three per person depending on how hungry you are.
There are too many restaurants in Dublin, that much is obvious. But I remember a time, not so long ago where I was complaining that there wasn’t enough choice if you didn’t have a big budget and didn’t want to go to a dull Italian or a lackluster French restaurant. Those days are long gone but I never want to go back to them. So it is my personal resolution to get out of my comfort zone when it comes to where I choose to eat.
Now to set your expectations, please let me warn you that this post or future ones are not a review. I’m not a food critic. I’m a food lover. To be a good food critic you need to understand both food and drink and although I’m great with food I know very little about what makes a good pairing or why some work and don’t. I’ve never worked in a kitchen and so I can’t claim to know what way dishes should be. Finally, a critic should, in principle, be able to highlight the negative of a visit without being mean about it. Truth is, I am a bit of a savage and my blunt ways do not lend themselves to the delicate delivery of a bad review. I also simply don’t have it in me to take time out of my day to write about something I didn’t like. Life is too short and all I will be telling you is what stood out for me and why I think you should try those dishes. I’m just here to spread the love, man.
Before we get down to business, I want to say that if you’ve not been, you will be surprised by the look of this small restaurant. It is sassy and stylish. It’s both dark and vibrant and there is a great atmosphere. The staff all seemed really cheerful, we were looked after by Sarah who is enthusiastic, knowledgeable and was excited to have a pair of first-timers to talk through the menu. She explained most of their clients are repeat customers so the staff always love getting a new person in the door as they get to share in the joy of their first meal at 777.
With dishes named Miss Piggy, Spongebob and Stop Waffling, even ordering is fun. Sarah explained that every Sunday, the brunch menu changes. A couple of items stay as they are popular but the chefs are given the freedom to play in the kitchen and come up with the specials.
On Sunday, myself and my friend, Carol went for six small plates (between the two of us, we’re not animals), one dessert each and a margarita each. If you live in Dublin, you may have heard of the 777 Margaritas, having had one now, I get the hype. The restaurant buys in Don Julio Tequila (I looked it up, it’s fancy) and whatever way they make it, it’s sharp and salty and caught me right behind the eyes. I loved it.
The kitchen is led by Essa Fakhry, a great chef from Dublin, with chefs from all over the world. They come from Mexico, Indonesia, Slovakia, and Thailand. Those chefs clearly have great pathos for 777. The food is delicate and each bite hits those salty, sour, and intense flavours which I associate Mexican food. The tacos are fresh and smell just like the ones I’ve bought in Picado Mexican Pantry, the last time I was there. The meats (Irish) are tender, the oysters (from Carlingford) are as fresh as they get and served with lime. Carol had never had an oyster before, on Sunday, she had two (I had four but could have had another eight). I don’t know if the food there is authentic Mexican food as I’ve never been and I’m far too scared of Lily Ramirez Foran and I’d rather not wake the Kraken up, but what I know is that it is excellent.
Our favourite dishes were Miss Piggy, Barbacoa, and Taco Carne (this one is hot). But what really blew me away was the desserts, well one of them in particular, namely the Leche Frita, a deep-fried milk pudding. I love all things custard but my favourite dessert is another milk pudding made by Karan Mittal of Ananda. Karan’s pudding is work heavy and I think I could have eaten two portions of his gulab jamun in the time it took him to explain to me how to make it. This deep-fried milk pudding served with a big lump of ice cream made me eat slowly and wish I could have a moment alone with it. The crunch of the panko crumb is wonderful against the softness of the barely set custardy texture of the cooked milk and the flavours are sweet and lingering. It is a gorgeous way to finish an already satisfying meal. Even if I had hated everything else, I would walk on hot coal for that dessert.
The good news is Essa’s Leche Frita is not as complicated to make. The bad news being that 777’s Leche Frita is not as complicated to make. Houston, we have a problem. Essa has kindly shared the recipe with me so that I could share it with you. Make it and weep or maybe just go to the 777 masters and let them feed you!
- 500ml milk
- 1tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 egg
- 4 egg yolks
- 120g castor sugar
- 70g plain flour
- Heat the milk and put to one side.
- In a separate pot, whisk together your egg and egg yolks. Add your sugar to the egg mix and whisk until it’s a nice and fluffy consistency. Whisk in your flour.
- Slowly combine the hot milk with the egg mix. Put over low heat for approx. 10 minutes until mix starts to thicken nicely.
- Pour the mix into a tray. Allow to cool.
- Portion out the cold mix and breadcrumb. Cover each piece in plain flour, then dip into an egg wash and then into panko breadcrumbs. Make sure all sides of the dessert are equally covered at each stage to ensure there’s a crush in every bite!
- When you want to eat, just deep fry until golden brown and it’s ready to go 🙂