Bacco’s Sticks and Sum by Hugo’s | Dim Sum worth braving Paceville for

Paceville is not the place for anyone over the age of 25 (a little more if you're a Peter Pan party animal). But if you can brave the horrors of Paceville, this dim sum has all the reward you need.

When I hear about Bacco’s, it’s usually accompanied with a story of late nights and bad decisions. In the heart of Paceville, on the world’s dingiest steps, this bar heaves with sweaty bodies searching for highs well into the early hours of the morning.

But what I’ve also heard about Bacco’s is that they also serve some pretty spectacular food between noon and 11pm, before the party-goer hit.

Armed with this knowledge, I braved the steps, which look worse in the light of day when it’s less busy, and settled at a table that looks like it’s seen better days. The stools are peeling, the menus are even worse but so many people can’t be wrong about this place, can they?

The placemat has some endearing information about dim sum, literally translated as “touch your heart”, and this is exactly what the meal promises to do. Originally served in China as quick lunch, these are served much like Spanish tapas – lot of small dishes for serving. The best way to do this is to go in groups of four (or larger groups divisible by four) as each dish comes in four dumplings. To make the most of your meal, if you want to try as many things as possible, being in group of four means that you get one of everything, and you can order a greater variety.

We decided to go for a mix of dim sum, leaving the soups, skewers and homemade noodles for another day. Whether you’re looking meat, fish or completely vegetarian, the selection is vast. I didn’t ask if any of the options were vegan, but it looks like there’s a pretty good chance that some of the dumplings are completely animal-product free.

The food comes out slowly, giving you chance to savour each of the flavours without being overwhelmed. We started with a vegetarian option, mushroom dumplings. Stuffed with mushrooms, coriander and fresh Thai chillies these dumplings were covered with a translucent pastry that was both soft and sticky and added incredible texture to the delicate flavour of the mushrooms.

Another vegetarian option were the New style Cantonese vegetable rolls. These crunchy rolls are stuffed with egg, Chinese cabbage, carrot and bean sprouts, then rolled in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. Not oily as you might expect, these

New style Cantonese vegetable rolls – egg, Chinese cabbage, carrot and bean sprouts rolled in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. The meatier options included pork dumplings with minced pork and spring onions, pan fried for a little bit of a crispy edge on the soft dumpling.

Spicy duck served with cucumber and plum sauce is served in a soft steamed bun, the perfect combination of spicy and sweet and the texture of the bun is simply exquisite.

Two more fish options were on the way; fresh salmon shaomai, which are made with salmon, ginger and spring onions and the star of the show Vietnamese prawn dumplings, made with Argentinian prawns and coriander all wrapped up in a translucent pastry. 

The verdict of this meal? It is absolutely worth braving Paceville. If the way to a man’s (or woman’s) heart is through his (her) stomach, then this dim sum definitely hits the right spots, through your stomach and straight to your heart.

What I ate

Fresh salmon shaomai

Vietnamese prawn dumplings

Mushroom dumplings

Duck gua bao

New style Cantonese vegetable rolls

Pork dumplings

Total: €17.30, excluding drinks

Address: Bacco’s Sticks and Sun by Hugo’s

Santa Rita Steps, Paceville

Tel: 2016 2498

Opening hours: Daily 12:00 – 4:00, serves food till 23:00

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