To be honest, I was beginning to think that my future eatforafiver adventures were all going to involve fancy sandwiches or falafels. Today’s fiver meal came about purely by accident. Or rather by idly clicking links on the internet when I was supposed to be drafting bits of a new website. Brazilian food appeared on a Yelp link and quite by chance I saw the word fiver mentioned.
The Mezz is a long, narrow, dark bar on Eustace Street.
I’ve never been in it before but it looks like one of these places which I might not really enjoy when it’s in full swing. That’s not a criticism of it. More a reflection on my age.
Inside, just before 1pm, it was buzzing. Not packed. But full enough for one to have to look around for somewhere to sit.
A sign outside …
… had confirmed that there was food to be had for a fiver but in the gloom I didn’t spot it immediately. And then, when I did, it wasn’t immediately obvious how the system worked. I asked the friendly woman doing the serving and she told me to take a plate, help myself to as much as I wanted from the cold buffet dishes, and that she would serve me my choice of hot food and receive my fiver. Fair enough.
It’s hard to see from the photo but the cold dishes comprised a mayonnaise-y potato salad, grated carrot, sliced cucumber, lettuce, cauliflower, beetroot, a mixed salad of tomato, onion and cucumber and a few others that I can’t remember. Then, as the carbohydrate base for the hot dishes there was a choice of rice, pasta, chips and cassava flour/tapioca.
I filled my plate, my excuse being that I wanted to taste the different elements (rather than sheer gluttony), placed a bed of rice in a small space I had left and handed my plate to the server.
There were four hot dishes: a fried chicken and vegetable dish, a beef stew, a wet pork stew and Feijoada. I went for the last one because it looked interesting.
I know next to nothing about South American food and I didn’t know that the stuff she ladled onto my plate was called Feijoada until I looked it up later. It turns out that Feijoada has Portuguese and Brazilian versions. It’s primary ingredients are black beans and pig, usually cheaper cuts of the animal.
Here’s my massive plateful. All this for a fiver! The salads were freshly made and either unadorned or simply dressed (apart from the potato salad which had quite a lot of mayonnaise in it). The rice was nicely cooked. The Feijoada was really rather tasty, with lots of black beans and smoky fatty pork, including, as you might spot in the middle …
… a tail (click the pic to see it more clearly). If you have an aversion to pork fat (I don’t), choose another dish. They all looked good.
Glasses of iced water are available free of charge along the bar and the bar is open to serve other drinks as required. (Curiously, the area above the bar is adorned with brassieres and foreign currency. I didn’t ask.)
I have to say that this was one of the most filling, satisfying and good value eatforafiver meals I’ve ever had. By 1.15pm, there were a lot of people in the Mezz and a small queue had formed for the food. There was a hum of conversation in various languages, especially Portuguese.
Food is served from 12 until 8pm Monday to Friday which I think is extraordinary, and on Saturdays they offer an all-you-can-eat Feijoada menu for €8 with some samba thrown in for good measure. Goodness!
(The food in the Mezz is provided by Feijoadao Dublin, and they have a Facebook page here on which there are much nicer photos than I am able to take.)
Eustace Street, for those who are trying to place it, leads from Dame Street (opposite the big Spar at the junction of South Great George’s Street) to Temple Bar. It’s the one with the Irish Film Institute, the Ark and the Friends’ Meeting House on it.
Directly opposite the Mezz is Basic Instincts …
where you can buy these most beautiful masks …
… and Christmas presents for Uncle Bob …
and Auntie Betty