Someone, somewhere probably loves Thomas Street. I’d like to love it and I’ve looked at it from lots of different angles. But I can’t.
I do like the National College of Art and Design though. It’s not pretty but it’s pleasantly and creatively messy. Look in any window and there are bits of art, in various states of unfinished-ness and there are people with paint or clay on their clothes, engaged with the creative process. You can feel the energy. I love that.
Luncheonette (you must look at the photostream on their Facebook page) is new and it’s not signposted but I’m going to tell you where it is to save you the bother of having to ask, as I had to. As soon as you’ve gone through the archway …
… turn right and enter the building in front of you. Walk straight across the atrium and go down the stairs. And it’s just there.
It’s a lovely space: a little crypt-like, with arches. Nicely lit, with upsidedown cups and mugs as lampshades. There’s a variety of tables and chairs and benches.
It seemed huge for the number of people there at a quarter to one yesterday but, by the time I left half an hour later, it was filling up quickly.
The menu is simple and it seems to change every day. Tuesday’s menu persuaded me to visit sooner than I had planned. This was it and I’m sorry I didn’t go then.
This was yesterday’s (click=big).
Not quite as intriguing as the day before, but inviting nevertheless. I chose the flatbread and coffee although I have to say that I was tempted by EVERYTHING else.
This is a glimpse of the serving area with a bit of kitchen.
And this is my flatbread …
It was substantial. The hummus was lemony. The leaves were, indeed, multi-coloured. And there was a satisfying crunch to it. A sort of healthy salad-y crunch. Tasty. The coffee was good too. €4.80. Not a huge meal but good for lunch and it certainly kept me going until dinner time.
Before the lunchtime rush it was a very relaxing and pleasant place to be. That’s not to say that it became unpleasant later. Just that, in its emptier state, I could imagine spending a bit of time there, you know, thinking. Or just being.
Catherine Cleary wrote this about Luncheonette in the Irish Times on 4 January (nice to see that she dipped her toe in the eatforafiver thing):
My memories of student food are a sea of dismal stodge. But a new student cafe, Luncheonette, is breaking that mould. It’s in the vaulted basement of the National College of Art and Design on Dublin’s Thomas Street. The cafe only opens during college hours so there’s no weekend service but the food makes it worth a weekday visit. I had a Pastel de Nata warm out of the oven one morning. It’s a small splodge of custard baked in puff pastry, a little bit of heaven for €1.70. The “complicated flapjacks” come with creme fraiche and pomegranate seeds on top. It’s all served on paper plates and in takeaway cups with funky (well what else would you expect) decor. The range of €3 sandwiches sound a cut above with red pepper hummous, roast tomatoes and flat bread one option and a baby spinach dahl with rice also €3. Luncheonette is serving posh ingredients at student prices.
Just by the way, if you’re not an artist but ever feel the urge to learn about creating art, I really recommend NCAD’s evening courses. I’ve done two: one, many years ago in art metalwork and another, more recently, on drawing. Both taught by practicing artists. Great stuff altogether.