Archive for the ‘ Mixed ’ Category

An East Essex Street Jewel

A good end to a good week. So, on Tuesday evening, I went to the theatre. Actually, my favourite theatre: the Project Arts Centre on East Essex Street. To see Focal Point*.

Just opposite the Project, I saw this place …


… and, on the basis of the menu posted outside, marked it down for a visit.

Falafel and Kebab (which seems to be the preferred spelling, despite the sign over the window) has been here for about eight months. It’s clean and well-kept although it looks a little lived in. It has a Facebook page: here.

Inside is a split level dining area and a serving counter with a kitchen behind it. The hookahs in the window …


… are not just for show. They serve shisha – I saw two men sharing a pipe last Tuesday night.

It styles itself as a Mediterranean restaurant, the principal offerings being falafel, kebab (shish and doner), and chicken presented in a variety of ways. As sides/extras, it offers hummus (made on the premises), baba ganoush (however you want to spell it), stuffed vine leaves and tabbouleh (all at a very reasonable price). It also has a tandoor, in which it makes flat breads.

Here’s the menu (click to embiggen) …



I ordered the Falafel Sandwich for €4.50 from the friendly man behind the counter, took a seat and had a look around.

The restaurant seats about 25 people and the predominant colour is that orange you can see just inside the door in the first photo. There are a few wall hangings and ornaments and, although the place is quite small, it doesn’t feel at all cramped. The music was unfortunate (‘Now 66’ or whatever we are up to at this stage).

My food arrived, tastefully arranged and delivered to my table gracefully.


A fresh flatbread on which were four falafel, some fresh and pickled salad vegetables, chopped tomato, a pickled chilli, hummus and two sauces: garlic and chilli.

The falafel were fresh tasting, crunchy on the outside and soft inside. The hummus was good, with enough chickpea texture to indicate that it hadn’t been over blitzed in a processor. The vegetables were tasty and varied. There was just the right amount of sauce, and the sauces accurately reflected their descriptions. The bread was fresh, warm and provided a good background to the meal.

For €4.50, I think this was excellent value. (For an extra €3 you can make this into a ‘meal’ with the addition of chips and a can. I can’t think of any reason why you would want to do that.)

My lunch was filling, tasty, pretty healthy and nicely presented. The surroundings were comfortable and it’s a place you could hang around in for a while. I liked it and I’ll definitely go back to try some of their other offerings. I’d say give it a go.


Today, I bought ink and hemp.


* Focal Point, the play I mentioned above, is produced by TEAM Educational Theatre, with which I have an involvement. It was written by Manchán Magan, a polymath with a refreshing view of the Irish language and how it is being adopted and adapted by young people. Mikel Murfi directed it with an acute sense of dramatic pacing and the actors, Dónall Ó Héalaí and Jody O’Neill, brought it alive. Great stuff. It ends its run in the Project tonight and goes on tour to schools after half term.




I’d noticed the deals advertised in the Abrakebabra window but I’ve been kind of avoiding trying them out. Silly really but I did have a pretty awful experience following a visit to AK a long time ago and I haven’t been in one since.

I had planned to go to Burdocks in Rathmines today. There’d been a sign in its window for months advertising some fishy bites or some such, with chips, for €4.99 but when I got there, the offer was gone. I had biked past AK on the way so I thought I’d take a deep breath and give it a go.

Rathmines always feels to me like a bit of a mess. It’s long. Shops come and go with terrific regularity an the Swan Centre doesn’t quite work as a shopping centre.

But bits of it are thriving. There’s a lot of buzz near Aldi and Lidl. The stretch near Jo’Burger is interesting and there’s a new antique/bric-a-brac shop there called, I think, The Third Policeman, which I enjoyed browsing in a couple of weeks ago. The new pool/leisure centre is great (and if you need private swimming lessons – which aren’t as expensive as you might think – go to Eva) and you can get a rather pleasant back/shoulder massage in the foyer for €15. And if you’re looking for oriental/asian/Polish/middle-eastern foodstuffs, Rathmines has them all.

Anyway. Lunch. Abrakebabra certainly has a lot of choice for your fiver as you can see … (the pics should enlarge when you click them )

but it was the Daily Steal that caught my attention …

I mean. Eat for €2.99? How could I resist?

In I went …

The place has been there for a while and it’s showing signs of wear and tear but it’s spotlessly clean. Really clean. No grease, grime, dust even. It was also empty. It was 1.50pm so, if there was a lunchtime rush, it had gone.

The staff members I talked to were friendly and chatty. I’ve said it before and it bears repeating – being made to feel welcome in an eatery, however cheap an eatery, makes a huge difference.

I ordered the Daily Steal for Friday: Taco Fries. Normally €4.80. Today: €2.99.

So this is what it looked like:

It comprised chips with a big spoonful of spicy mince, some mayonnaise-like sauce and a handful of grated cheese, all loaded into a polystyrene burger container. It’s not that pretty to look at.

In my experience, a taco usually involves some sort of tortilla thingy. I dug deep into this thing but I couldn’t find one so I’m not sure why it’s called what it’s called.

And the taste? The fries were OK. A little soggy but that was my fault for chatting to the staff for so long. The mince was much as you’d expect really, with a decent lingering chilli sensation on the tongue. The Mayonnaise-like sauce was sweet which I didn’t like at all. Not sugary sweet – but too sweet for my taste. The cheese was grated cheddar.

Now, I’m not going to be too critical here. Remember, I spent less than €3 on this food. It was filling. It tasted OK. The surroundings were clean. There was a big TV to look at. The staff were friendly. The place was warm and I was sitting down for a while. Given the gouging that still goes on in Dublin, this was OK. If it was late at night and I’d had a few pints and needed a feed quickly, this would certainly do the job.

And the receipt. €2.99! You wouldn’t get coffee in some places for that.


The Fumbally

I’m indebted to AoifeMc and Nialler9 (see below*) for tweeting about their visit to this place yesterday. It’s new. It’s gorgeous. It’s relaxing. It feeds you for a fiver.

The Fumbally is on the corner of New Street South and Fumbally Lane in Dublin 8. It’s on the ground floor of a pretty anonymous modern mixed use building.

Unmatched tables and chairs are scattered around the substantial floor space. A piano stands beside a pillar. A raised area has a low table and cushions, rather than chairs, to sit on. An alcove with a picture covered wall contains easy chairs and a few settees. There’s a few cookery books and newspapers scattered around. To the left there’s a few boxes of vegetables (for sale, maybe – I didn’t check). At the far corner is the food preparation area. On one wall is a massive menu board with just two items …

The eggs are lightly scrambled, served on a slice of toasted brioche with tomatoes. The falafel comprises a wrap, with three falafels, and a host of goodies that I’ll detail for you later.

This is a place in which one could spend a lot of time. In addition to the featured menu items, it serves coffee and tea, biscuits, cakes, baklava and home made soup. The atmosphere is relaxed. It’s spacious and this lunchtime it was filled with a mix of people – office workers and local residents, at a guess.

It wasn’t immediately obvious where one should order one’s food from but I was directed towards a friendly staff member with a notebook who explained what was on offer. I ordered the falafel, paid my fiver, grabbed a glass of water from this …

… and found a table. There’s a variety of sizes of tables but most are meant to be shared.

My falafel wrap arrived soon after, itself well wrapped in paper and served on a small board.

Substantial! I unwrapped it to see it in all its nakedness.

I took a bite …

Oh yeah. THIS is what eatforafiver is all about!

Inside the warm toasted wrap nestled three falafel, some coleslaw, beetroot, lettuce, tomato, tzatziki, tahini, hummus, fresh coriander and mint, and a small bit of a tomato and chilli sauce. It was thoughtful composition and I savoured every bite. It was, as I said, substantial and filling. And it cost just one of these things …

I wanted to stay a while. The Fumbally is a very pleasant place to be in. So, having done the eatforafiver thing, I ordered a flat white coffee and a slice of carrot cake. The flat white was one of the best I’ve ever tasted and it was hot (most flat whites seem to be served served in unwarmed cups and tend to be luke warm at best). The carrot cake was OK – nothing special. It might have been enhanced by the addition of a bit of bite – walnuts maybe.

The Fumbally is a place I wish I lived/worked closer to. Ironically, we used to live about 100m from it, on Malpas Street, but not anymore. It’s great value, very comfortable and welcoming, and the staff (and there seemed to be plenty of them) were friendly and helpful.

I’ll go again and I recommend it wholeheartedly.


*Aoife Mc is one of my favourite food bloggers. Her blog is icanhascook and she also tweets, writes a column in The Ticket, hosts a show on RTE 2XM and takes good food pics.

*Nialler9 is an award-winning music blogger (, twitterer, columnist, editor of and a superb and helpful freelance web designer for whom WordPress holds no mysteries.



Sunny Sunday

Yes. I know. It’s been a while. Work and real life took over somewhat. Time was short and energy levels for discretionary activities were lowered.

Anyway. Today was Sunday. It was sunny. I was at a loose end. So I decided to go out to Dun Laoghaire to take the sea air and see what the People’s Park had to offer in the way of al fresco cheap eats.

I grew up very near Dun Laoghaire and I’ve always loved the place. Not so much the town as the seafront. When I’m in need of a lift or I need to think, it’s where I go. Some serious problems have been solved at the end of the East Pier. At the spot from which this can be seen …

The People’s Park was a pretty familiar spot too. It was one of the favourite locations for my parents’ foray into Super 8 movie making …

Nowadays, on Sundays, the People’s Park is full of pop up tents offering a variety of products including pottery, toys, books, oils, juices, bread, vegetables and, of course, food. Lots of food. And loads for a fiver too. Here’s a selection (click on the pics to enlarge):




























It’s seems very popular and it is a cut above other markets of this type. It’s advertised variously as an ‘Artisan Food Market’ and a ‘Farmers Market’ but … well … it’s not. But that doesn’t take away from the pretty good value produce on offer.

I’ve been on a middle-eastern thing recently: music, food, (fantasy) travel plans, so I chose falafel from this place:

Here are some of the offerings:

I went for the falafel in pitta bread with all the trimmings: lettuce, red cabbage, hummus AND baba ganooj, and a lovely sharp and green spicy mix. A decent portion. The pitta bread had been warmed, and the finished product was put in a greaseproof envelope so that it didn’t end up all over my trousers. Here it is:

VERY filling and very tasty, right down to the last drips that I sucked out of the bag at the end. Yum.

So, if you’re at a loose end on a Sunday with a serious cash shortage and you’re in need of a feed, i’d recommend a visit.




Well … OK then, if I must …

This’ll be short and sweet. The young lad persuaded me to include Subway. He had a point. The poster in the window offers €4.50 lunch, available all day. And I did mention this offer in a previous post.

The poster

The lunch, as you can see, is a 6″ (I thought we went metric some years ago) sub (apparently a filled bread roll) with a medium drink.

Before you get your hands on the roll, you’ve a lot of decisions to make: the type of roll,

Choices ...

the filling (the choice includes ‘formed’ ham and ‘reformed’ turkey: brings to mind Homer Simpson’s ‘pressed peanut sweepings’), the ‘veggies’ (salad bits and pieces) and the sauce (various sweet and spicy confections).

I opted for Tuna and the young lad opted for Meatball Marinara.

The manufacturing process is quick and expertly done: the rolls are cut and the main ingredient is spread out: the roll goes in a toaster: the now warm roll is filled with additional items of your choice and squirted with sauce: the roll is wrapped and your money extracted from your fist: a plastic cup is pointed to and you fill it up from the dispenser.

The young lad enjoyed his Meatball Marinara sub, considering it to be tasty and filling …


My Tuna sub was OK. Just OK. I chose tuna because I don’t like processed meatballs and the various formed and reformed meats didn’t appeal to me. I do, however, prefer the roll in which my tuna lies to have a crunch to it. Subway rolls are soft.

That’s it, really. Subway is quick and easy and the rolls are filling. Nothing special. Not particularly good value.



Taking one for the team

Zaika is on Lower Stephen Street, opposite what used to be Mercer’s Hospital.


A big poster in the window advertises a ‘Super Fiver Offer’ effective from midday until 7pm and, for students, from 7pm until midnight also. Too good to resist?

10 dishes are included in the offer …

The offering

I wandered in this afternoon at about 1.45. The place could do with a bit of a make-over or, at the very least, a lick of paint. It’s very dull with NO atmosphere. Four tables are firmly bolted to the floor each with six chairs.

At the counter, I ordered the chicken curry with naan bread. I was asked did I want anything to drink. I suggested a glass of ‘ordinary’ water, whereupon the staff member rang up an extra €1.20 on the till. I changed my mind, paid my fiver and sat down.

The food arrived about 7-8 minutes later, on a tray.

Chicken curry and naan

Let’s start with the good points. The naan was freshly cooked and warm, with some nice crispy charred bits. The bowl of curry had a sprinkling of fresh coriander on it. Erm … that’s about it.

So. The not so good points. The curry was VERY oily. It contained a lot of sauce (I’m pretty sure from the taste that it was Patak’s Balti sauce – blandness in a jar). Buried in the sauce were four smallish cubes of chicken – the sort of chicken cubes you’d get in your run of the mill take-away: processed, tasteless and with a texture that isn’t quite what you’d expect from chicken.

eatforafiver’s standards are not high by any means. But this didn’t meet them. It didn’t even come close. I ate it, for the cause, but as I type this, I’m regretting it. Much.

I can’t think of anything else I want to say about Zaika. I’d suggest you give it a miss.

A little way along Lower Stephen Street, going towards Aungier Street there’s the Wok In, offering various noodle dishes in a box, for a fiver or under. There’s one table but no chairs but I might bend my rules a bit and try it out. Next to it is another place offering pizza slices, chips and a drink for a fiver. I think it’s called Sufi’s. Over the crossroads, on Upper Steven Street is a guest house (yeah, I was wondering that too) with a restaurant/bar on the ground floor. A board outside advertises various specials, including steak pie and chips, for a fiver. I’ll explore these in more detail in the future.

The Zaika curry seems to be getting the better of me now, unfortunately, so that’s it for now …




Luke Warm on Dame Street

I try to eatforafiver each week but sometimes real life takes over – you know, family, paid work and so on. So last week didn’t happen.

Today, my target was Speak Easy on both South Great George’s Street and Dame Court. Catherine Cleary had a note about it in last Saturday’s Irish Times where she mentioned that you can get a pizza there for a fiver. Speak Easy is where Shebeen Chic used to be. I never ate there but I always liked the look of it and I enjoyed wandering around the Saturday market there. Anyway, it closed and Speak Easy is in its place. When I got there I found that it doesn’t open until 5pm. So …

I looked around and remembered that the Centra on Dame Street, opposite South Great George’s Street had both cheap food and a seating area. So that’s where I headed.

The place is rather grandly called the Dame Street Cafe. Inside it has no pretensions. Indeed, it’s a rather functional place. At the back of the convenience store part of the Centra is a longish and very busy food counter. They do the usual range of filled rolls, sandwiches, paninis, plain-looking soup and so on. But they also do quite a range of hot food, much of it for a fiver or less.

Included are ten inch pizzas with a variety of toppings, quiche, lasagne, meat or veg pies, ‘gourmet’ pies and chicken or beef noodles. In fact, today, they had a special offer on noodles: chicken or beef noodles with stirfry vegetables and a choice of about six sauces, for €2.99. A pretty decent helping too, freshly prepared in front of you. They also have an all-day breakfast offer for a fiver.

I opted for the quiche. For my fiver I received a decent slice of vegetarian quiche (the other option was bacon and spinach), three ‘dry’ salads (i.e. ones without mayonnaise) and a portion of chips, wedges or potato cubes (I chose the cubes).

You take your tray, pay at the shop till and find a seat. The seating area comprises about twelve small round tables, some with chairs and others arranged in front of a banquette. When I got there, at about 1.30pm, quite a few were occupied but by the time I sat down, most were free, but not cleared (or cleaned).

It’s a busy place. Most customers opt for filled rolls and there are four or five staff members behind the counter filling orders. Service is quick.

My quiche slice was generous. The vegetarian bit was fulfilled by some onion and very thin slices of pepper but it was mostly a creamy eggy mix and pastry. I’m not going to write about the quality of it. It was a mass produced quiche. And it filled a gap. My salad consisted of some tomatoes, slices of cucumber and some mixed peppers in oil. All inoffensive. The potato cubes were cuboid.

This isn’t fine dining, nor did I expect it to be. I did expect the quiche, having been heated, to be hot. It wasn’t. The surface was warm but the inside was cool, and not in a good way. The potato cubes weren’t hot either. I’m not hugely fussy about temperature and I ate the food but I’m sure others wouldn’t. But, hey, it only cost a fiver and it was filling. And, on a bitterly cold day, I ate sitting down in a warm building.

My favourite thing to do on Dame Street is to walk near the College Green end and look up. The tops of the buildings are astonishing: ornate and beautiful. Further on, I have to admit a liking for the Central Bank building. It then becomes a bit of a mess until you get to the City Hall. City Hall is a treasure both inside and out (especially when viewed from Parliament Street).

There used to be a tiny park just beside it with some interesting old sculptures. It was replaced some years ago by what may be the ugliest building in Dublin. A grey anonymous piece of crap that could only have been conceived by an artistically and aesthetically bankrupt architect and given planning permission by a bunch of ethically challenged idiots.

Enough. Oh. The bill …

Just by the way, opposite the Dame Street Cafe is a Spar which also has a good range of food for a fiver. Not much seating but noted for a further visit.

As a final note, I met an old college pal during the week and we ate in Kanum on Mespil Road. It’s primarily a take-away but they do have a reasonable seating area and a special lunch menu. There’s a few soups for a fiver. But they also do a daily special lunch deal comprising a main dish, boiled or fried rice and a bottle of sparkling or still water. It’s for €9.99. The thing is – the portions are incredibly generous. Enough, if you’re not ravenous, to share between two on the plastic plates they supply. Jack, my godso,n tells me that Kanum also do fiver deals for those lucky enough to be students.



I’ve been in two minds about this. When I started the blog, I kind of had a mental rule that I wouldn’t include soup. After all, it’s not much of a challenge to find soup and bread at lunchtime in Dublin for a fiver or less.

What swayed me to write about Soup Dragon was the nature of the soup I had on Friday and the neat little package they’ve put together …

Fiver Friday has a nice ring to it. Each Friday, Soup Dragon has a special offer. As you see, it’s a soup (although the previous week it was a stew), bread and a piece of fruit for a fiver. Their Facebook page provides the details each Thursday and, of course, you can see previous offerings there too. Quite a variety.

Soup Dragon is on Capel Street, at the end nearest the river. Not so long ago Capel Street was a scruffy thoroughfare, a street one had to drive along to get from Parnell Street to the south side. It’s changing now. Lenehan’s is still there, as is Brereton’s jewellery and pawn broker shop, McQuillan Tools, the martial arts equipment shop at the corner of Mary Street and a few of the more famous pubs. The discount furniture shops that used to plague the street are fewer now and there are many more restaurants on the street, mostly offering food from the far east. There also seem to be quite a few eastern European foodstores. It’s still scruffy but it’s a lot more interesting now, and (almost) a pleasure to walk along.

Soup Dragon is open from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday and from 11am on Saturday. It’s small. Very small. Most of it is taken up by the kitchen and service counter, with the seating area comprising a counter-top and about 10 seats. When I passed it the previous week, it was packed but on Friday, admittedly at 1.45pm, there were plenty of seats available. It was a bitterly cold day with stop-start rain.

Not a great photo of the inside

I ordered at the counter and sat. My soup was delivered promptly. It was a big bowl of soup with fresh chives scattered on the top. On the plate were three sizeable chunks (not slices) of very fresh bread and a foil wrapped portion of butter. Jugs of water and plastic beakers are available on the counter top.

My BIG bowl of soup

The soup was bacon, leek and potato. It was thick, based on stock that had no discernible artificial aftertaste, and contained huge chunks of bacon, melt in the mouth lumps of potato and identifiable bits of leek. It was pleasantly seasoned and, most importantly for me, not too salty. The thickness of the soup seemed to be based on potato, rather than flour or corn flour. It was tasty. And substantial – a lot more substantial than some of the other eatforafiver meals I’ve had. (The fruit, by the way, one takes from a basket on the way out.)

Chunky: the reason this soup is in my blog

Soup Dragon is pretty busy as a take-away. In the short time I was in the place, there was a steady stream of customers, most of them ordering the other available special offer: take-away vegetable soup with a piece of fruit for €3. They are strict about not allowing take-away customers eat their food on the premises, which is fair enough.

The other food on offer in Soup Dragon includes various breakfast options, sandwiches, smoothies and a huge variety of different soups. They are also taking orders for Christmas puddings. Interesting.

The bit I love (it obviously wasn't a take out though)

By the way, thanks to all who sent me suggestions for places to eatforafiver. I’m looking forward to trying them out.




So … Ballymount. Not my first choice of location for finding lunch but, actually, it turned out OK.

Why Ballymount? Well, son #2 somehow managed to lose the battery from his phone (I know – don’t ask) and a very helpful person in Carphone Warehouse (where they ALL seem to be helpful) suggested contacting a place called Vibe Centre, which I did. They had a replacement battery in stock (for a tenner) and so I called into them at lunchtime. The Vibe Centre is an amazing place in the Robinhood Industrial Estate that sells bits of, and accessories for, all types of mobile phones.

Battery bought, I felt, much as Pooh felt, that it was ‘time for a little something’.

The Ballymount area is spectacularly unattractive with a lot of what look like newly vacant warehouses and older dilapidated industrial units. It’s also not that flush with places to eat but eventually I spotted a Spar and thought that, if I couldn’t find anywhere else, I’d grab a roll in there. As I drove in to the Ballymount Retail Centre (for that was where the Spar was located) I spotted Josh’s Place, packed with what seemed like happy people eating.



To be honest there’s not a lot of choice for a fiver but, if you could stretch to a tenner you could choose from pretty well anything on the menu. They have a good selection of food from breakfasts (I saw one of them being served – it was massive) to salads to three kinds of soup to pasta or meat dishes. It’s a counter-service place and the staff were helpful in explaining the options (I seem to have hit a good vein of helpfulness today, which was pleasing).

I chose a salad plate for €4.70 which, apart from soup and bread (which I don’t really count as a meal for the purposes of this blog) was the only thing available for my fiver. No meat (that would have added an additional €1.25) but the portion was very generous.



The salad plate comprised shredded carrot with celery and herbs; coleslaw; noodles tossed in a sweet oriental sauce; broccoli, cherry tomatoes and red onion; and sliced tomatoes with cucumber (and a little more red onion). All the salads tasted fresh and the dressings in which they were tossed were well-balanced. (I’m not a fan of over-vinegared dressings which do seem to be quite prevalent.) The coleslaw was a little too mayonnaise-y for me but that’s really a matter of personal taste (and concern over my stubborn waistline).

I grabbed a big glass of water and some ice and made may way to a table. It was about 1.30 and some people were making their way back to work so I was able to find a space without too much bother.

The place was buzzing with animated conversation and, for those eating alone, there were newspapers and FREE WiFi. FREE WiFi – are you listening, all other restaurants, cafés and bars in the city? Free WiFi is a BIG draw for me.



The salad was good and filling and I genuinely enjoyed the atmosphere in the place. There seemed to be plenty of staff serving and clearing away and they were pleasant and smiley, which was nice.


The receipt (till person made a genuine mistake, corrected without fuss)


In the Retail Centre there’s also a Subway, which does a 6″ sub and a medium drink for €4.95, and the aforementioned Spar, in which one can sit/perch and eat a 9″ pizza with three toppings for a fiver.

Unless you work nearby or are in the market for power tools, fitness equipment or expensive office furniture, there wouldn’t be much to bring you to the Ballymount Retail Centre, I’m afraid but, if you happen to be within shouting distance, Josh’s Place is well worth a visit.



And finally, another quote from Pooh: “Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.”




Honest and Good

I’ve always liked South Great George’s Street in Dublin (well, one side of it anyway). I like its proportions, the attractive red brick facades and the way it sweeps down to Dame Street. It’s a pity it’s always been run down, that various attempts to pretty it up have not been successful and that the planning authorities sometime in the 1970s (probably) sanctioned the destruction of a big chunk of its west side in favour of an anonymous block.

Shops in particular seem to have been spectacularly unsuccessful. Pubs and restaurants are another matter. From the long established Long Hall and The George to the new Rustic Stone, South Great George’s Street has plenty of drinkeries and eateries of all styles and types, and to suit most pockets.

I’m pretty sure the Market Arcade on South Great George’s Street is unique. I can’t think of any other arcade in Dublin with such a curious mix of market stalls and permanent shops. It’s a must for anybody looking for vintage clothes. Retro, near the South Great George’s Street entrance has been in the arcade for about 20 years and I remember buying a tuxedo there about 12 years ago. The arcade is also a place where you can find vinyl records, old coins and badges, posters and old advertising signs, hats and scarves, and get your ears pierced. It has a few eateries: Simon’s Cafe is probably the best known of them but it, unfortunately, has nothing more substantial than soup or a cake for a fiver.

Honest To Goodness, on the other hand, and at the other end, is a bit of a find. I had coffee there a few weeks ago when I had time on my hands. Nice coffee it was too and the atmosphere was very pleasant and calming. I noticed than that, although most of the items on the menu are between €6.95 and €8 to eat in (but between €5.20 and €6.50 to take away), they do a special every day for a fiver. I’m not going to list the specials here – you can find them on their Facebook page.

Today's venue

Friday’s special is a Sloppy Joe. In Honest to Goodness this is spicy minced beef, a slice of cheddar cheese, a slice of tomato and some mayonnaise between two slices of bread baked in the shop. You get two of these and a couple of spoonsful of couscous. What’s more, you get a choice of breads. The young lad chose white bread and I chose tomato bread.

My Sloppy Joe

The young lad tucking in

Honest to Goodness is small. And narrow. About two thirds of it is taken up with a kitchen/serving area, the remaining third containing ten small tables seating two people each. It’s popular. I had heard this and so we arrived at about 12.20. From the door it looked packed. And there seemed to be a substantial queue. It turned out, however, that the queue contained people who had ordered food to take away and it so happened that there were a few tables free.

The internals

It’s a busy place. I counted seven people behind the counter cutting, spooning, assembling, coffee making, getting ready to serve food, and clearing up. The seating area is a tiny bit cramped and the young lad observed that it’s not a place for having a private conversation. That being said, it’s not uncomfortable and it’s not unlike many lunch places you’ll find in the city. And it does have a busy but warm and friendly atmosphere, with unobtrusive decent music.

The food came quickly, with glasses of water, and we tucked in. The Sloppy Joes were delicious. The meat was nicely spiced with a pleasant and not overpowering chilli heat, the tomato fresh, the mayo tasty and the couscous moist. The cheese slices were a little superfluous, I felt. The portions were generous and it was very filling. This was an excellent value meal.

The bit I love

I read some reviews of Honest To Goodness written on other sites. A few mentioned, in negative terms, the service. We found it fine. Our order was taken efficiently, we were helpfully pointed to a free table, our food was served with a smile, plates were cleared from tables quickly and without fuss, and the cash transaction at the end was handled with a smile and pleasant conversation.

This is certainly a place to revisit. Have a look at the menu on the site. There are some gorgeous looking sandwich combinations, fresh soups and nice looking breakfasts. I recommend it very highly.

*The traditional Sloppy Joe is an American invention consisting of minced beef cooked with tomato and served in a hamburger bun. I’m sure I saw a TV programme once that suggested that it was the precursor of the hamburger but I’m not certain that that’s true.




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