Words: Shamim de Brún
Photography: George Voronov
Artwork: Paul Smith
Happy Endings is what happens when Colonel Sanders and your favourite Asian street food vendor have a satisfyingly sleazy one night stand in a Temple Bar AirBnb.
There are plenty of purveyors of piping hot poultry in Dublin. They’re all valid in their own unique ways, but none as much as Happy Endings. They arrived on the Dublin food scene with a cocked shotgun level bang, thanks to their fusion of far-eastern flavours and quintessential diner-style comfort food.
When you’ve got a craving for some killer fried chicken, you can take comfort in the knowledge that these lads take the stuff seriously. Meshing Eastern flavours with western notions of deep-fried chicken, this spot has been popping out bangers since it opened.
Who is it for?
Monsters, in the best possible way. If you have an insatiable appetite for food and craic, this is your spot. I can see whole rugby teams never being filled by this never-ending Happy Endings decadence. If you are a group of gluttonous gals who love a bop, then their brunch will bring you all closer together than wearing pink on Wednesdays or recreating Crossroads ever could. It’s also substantially appealing to the munchie brigade. If you feel like you could eat for Ireland after sucking the plant, you should go here and test your mettle. For what is ostensibly a chicken place, it has multiple vegan and vegetarian options, gluten-free, dairy-free, and yet still saucy as the honourable lord and savour dictated it should be.
A messy one. Happy Endings is a spot that thrives on and delivers the hot mess. It is the perfect place for the messy pre-sesh wine and dine. Whether you’re going out out or boozy munching day drinking, Happy Endings is where your poor little stomach will get the lining of its dreams. With banging tunes and friendly knowledgeable servers that talk to you like you’re a real person and know how to pair a meal with a cocktail better than most this place is riddled with great craic. Perfect for a night of painting tiles.
The best thing we ordered
This kind of fried food deserves a sort of culinary reverence. The Chicken Fillet Burger is one of our nation’s most beloved comfort foods. It’s something you never really get tired of sinking your teeth into, especially when it’s done like The Jimmy Burger.
Biting into it you taste sweet, salty, and umami, or savoriness. The human mouth craves these flavours like it’s life depends on it. This need makes you go back for more even when you know you’re already full. It tastes too good to stop. It would be easy to assume that faster eateries use frozen meats for all their menu offerings. But Happy Endings is committed to using quality fresh ingredients, and you can taste the difference in every offering, but The Jimmy Burger, equipped with pineapple and habanero chutney, peanut and lime satay sauce, mayo and peanuts shines brightest.
Not cheap, but still bang on budget. You will spend a minimum of a score if you eat here, thirty if you’re leaning in on the cocktails. That said, bang for your buck goes further than you expect it to. Prawn Crackers with their tastes-like-more peanut and lime satay is the perfect precursor nibble before the main event. Everyone and anyone who eats at Happy Endings will leave stuffed and fortified for longer than the average meal. You’ll get the most out of it if you go for that three o’clock late lunch or early dinner because you won’t have to eat again till breakfast.
Unique Selling Point
The fusion of flavours. You know you’re eating something special from the moment you smell it. The level of physical mouth-watering can not be understated, and that’s all down to the flavours. The attention to detail in the creation of their marinades, sauces, and seasonings subverts expectations and alerts you to the flavour dance in every single offering. Making you exclaim “holy shit” after every mouthful.
You don’t necessarily know why it’s so fulfilling to chomp down into a Happy Endings offering, but it is. The eastern part of the world is dominated by the stronghold of its spices and condiments. Whether it is the pungency of some flavour or the spiciness of others, these flavours never disappoint you. Similarly, the west has been more influenced by bakery-style cooking, meat flavours and smoked flavours. At Happy Endings, these flavours have been married with the intention and intensity of a Rom-Com level couple to become a Dublin favourite. The garnish is thought through in a way that elevates it from frivolous to a necessary part of the experience.
Weirdly it’s the fish. Who would have thought a chicken place would do prawns and calamari justice, but here they do. Again it’s down to the fusion modern street food flavours with classic dishes. The calamari is marinated in kiwi, coated in gunpowder dust and served with pinakurat mayo. This is a whirlwind of flavours that level this up more than a squeeze of lemon and garlic mayo ever could.