TOM DOORLEY "A North African gem that packs quite a bit of bottle!"

Keshk is remarkable in a number of ways but lets take wine first. You bring your own wine or beer and they don’t even charge you for the service of opening it, pouring it into the rather attractive wine glasses provided, washing them up afterwards and recycling the bottle. The food here is, broadly speaking, that of north African and the Eastern Med, apart of the world that is, for religious reasons, largely for teetotal.. It is also the kind of food that appeals to something very deep inside me: Its a sunny kind of food, with lots of garlic, lemon, cumin, lamb grilled over charcoal, flat breads. olive oil…. I suspect you will understand what I’m getting at. Keshk is a gem. Most of the menu is as simple as it gets, good raw materials cooked in a way that goes back centuries, a reminder that you can eat very well indeed without spending a fortune- The bill came to a very reasonable €59.70- and, in the poor excuse for the summer, a reminder also, of the food of the sunnier places. Daily Mail – August 4, 2012

Ross Golden Bannon “KESHK BAR NONE”

Ross Golden Bannon sings the praises of Leeson Street’s Keshk in the Sunday Business Post, a big fan of their good portions and good prices. With mains being served with basmati rice, potatoes or spicy potatoes as standard and no price for corkage for bringing your own bottle (Keshk don’t have a liquor licence) the restaurant endeared itself early on. Golden Bannon had particular words of praise for his baked tiger prawns. Egyptian Coffee impressed and a mere €24.50 a head when the bill was broken down was very well received. – Sunday Business Post – March 27th 2009


“I feel that expensive doesn’t always mean good, having been lucky enough to have eaten in many of Dublin’s so called best restaurants, the real jewel in the city is Keshk. Think orgasmic hummus, amazing ocra and unreal moussaka. The food is freshly cooked with the best ingredients and served simply. The food is Lebanese and seriously healthy, yet yummy. I love the hummus. Fresh as always, with some olive oil poured over it, tomatoes and olives that can be dipped at any time, the tough decision is to decide which to get first. It also comes with freshly baked pitta bread that you can dip into the creamy hummus and savour the flavour. They stock an incredible organic apple juice from the Loire valley in France that complements every meal that I have, no matter what the dish. Myself and my girlfriend have been regulars there since it opened and have sent all our friends. They have become just as fanatical about it as we are. If I could have a meal anywhere in the country, this is it. On a quiet day it feels almost like your own living room, fantastic simple décor with the rat pack on the stereo. When busy, it’s a cool crowd, lots of chat and buzzing atmosphere awaits. The amazing thing about this restaurant is simply the value. The staff are really friendly, they always remember the foods that I like, or to hold the parsley, or on a quiet day, the kind of music I like

Ernie Whalley “THIS KESHK IS KING”

Video highlights care of the foregoing ran in my head as we rocked up outside a newish establishment called ‘Keshk Café’, on the Leeson Street ‘island’. “Funny name” said Lefty. We wondered whether it was a miss-spelling of ‘Kesh’; maybe the owner was a republican, realising a dream he’d had when interned. But no, ‘Keshk’ we were told, was the chef-proprietor’s surname. From a non-specific Middle Eastern menu we kicked off with three starters; hummus (always a good test); falafel and tiger prawns in filo, accompanied by a generous quantity of fresh, leafy green salad, of the kind that makes you feel virtuous for eating it. The prawns were crisp on the outside, properly bouncy within and full of flavour. A friend’s sister (who used to work for me) makes the best falafel I’ve ever tasted; these, while not quite in Hadil’s league, were pretty good. The hummus was outstanding, no need to ask “Was it made fresh and on the premises?” Continuing the theme, we shared a marinated kebab, fashioned from decent chicken and a stupendous lamb dish, tender pieces swathed in an aromatic sauce in which I’d venture to suggest it had been cooked, rather than the two brought together at the last minute. Rather good rice and spiced potatoes completed the feast, which left us unable to do more than nibble on a baklava for dessert – though we did manage two Arabian (like ‘Greek’ or Turkish’) coffees, almost a savoury dessert in their own right and far better than much of the stale, mucky espresso that abounds in Dublin. Mustapha, Mr. Keshk himself, came out of the kitchen to talk to us. He’s an engaging, enthusiastic man whom some might remember from Idle Wilde in Dalkey, where he previously cooked. He’s obviously in love with his new venture. However, he did say he’d like fifty covers which show he’s got his head screwed on. He seemed unhappy with the concept of charging corkage on bottles brought in by customers. Lefty said nobody would begrudge €5 a throw. I pointed out that the restaurant has to provide, wash and, as necessary, replace the glasses used and, maybe, open, decant or chill. Corkage would provide a cushion of maybe another grand a week, worth having. Mustapha still seemed dubious, as if it would be breaking faith with his customers. What a decent skin. Anyhow, I hope for his own sake he’ll come to see the logic. I loved Keshk, food and concept. At, what, €58 plus the cost of a bottle of wine many could afford to eat there once a week. While BYOB is not ‘way to go’ for every restaurant its availability should help hasten the demise of the “3 x RRP” mark-up scandal. Verdict: Keshk could be called ‘Kiss’ (Keep it Simple, Stupid). No frills, just authentic homely food: good ingredients, well cooked. Pleasant atmosphere, everything spotless, do yourself a favour, get there. The damage: €58.75 ex-service for 3 starters, 2 mains, 1 dessert, 2 coffees, Rating **** Ernie Whalley – Evening Herald- March 27th 2009