Archive for the ‘ Soup ’ Category

So, yes, I was in a film, set in Belfast but shot in Dublin in the early 1970s. It was a made-for-American-TV film called ‘A War of Children‘, starring Jenny Agutter and Anthony Andrews among others. The only reason I mention it (well, apart from pure vanity) was that the opening scene was shot just off Harcourt Road, the location for yesterday’s eatforafiver adventure. Interestingly (to me anyway) the road on which the scene was shot no longer exists. It was Old Camden Street which kind of curved through what is now the Camden Hotel. Charlotte Street, which continued from Charlemont Street to Camden Street is also gone.

(There’s more information about these streets and the history of this area on wideandconvenientstreets and comeheretome, if you’re interested. Both of these sites are fascinating if you’re at all keen on finding out more about the history of Dublin.)

The Birdcage Bakery…

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… is at 21 Harcourt Road, between the Soup Stop (previously described here) and an Abrakebabra (another branch of which I dealt with here). It’s been open since November 2013 and has been the subject of loads of reviews, including ones from Lovin’ Dublin and A French Foodie in Dublin. There are also consumer reviews on Yelp and on its own Facebook page. Overwhelmingly positive. And I’m not going to disagree.

I got there early, just before 12.30pm mainly because I’m fed up arriving at places when half the food is gone. Also, I saw on their Facebook page that there weren’t that many seats. (It seats about 10 or so but it’s mainly a take-away place.) I was greeted warmly (nice) and the choices were explained clearly. You do have to look in different locations in the Birdcage for the price of things and maybe making their price list a bit clearer is something they could look at for the future.

There’s a good choice of food … (click to embiggen)

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… and most of the single items (wraps, calzoni, and so on) are under a fiver. They also do deals …

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My crappy photos …

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… give no sense of the portion size but let me assure you that the items are pretty substantial, especially the calzoni. As you see they also do soup (but not on hot days), coffees and tea, and a range of scrumptiously delicious looking cakes and biscuits (this pic shows only a small selection of the sweet goodies on offer) …

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A French Foodie’s review was tacked up on the window and I saw that she had had a salad box for under a fiver, so that’s what I opted for too although the salad boxes aren’t advertised or listed anywhere that I could see.

For my fiver I got a large salad box (a small one is a fourer) comprising these salads here …

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Ok, so from the left: potato/feta and cherry tomato, chickpea and chicken, and bean and rocket: each dressed freshly and not an ounce of mayonnaise in sight.

The salads are spooned generously into a plastic box and, if you want to eat in, the box is served on a slate.

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Water was offered and accepted gratefully. A fiver changed hands. I sat and ate.

The Birdcage Bakery is lovely and bright, decorated with appropriate murals …

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and shelves containing coffee and ingredients.

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It’s a pleasant place in which to spend a bit of time although one is always conscious of the substantial traffic that seems to speed along Harcourt Road.

Its natural customer base must be the offices opposite and around the corner on Charlemont Street. It’s not a long walk from Adelaide Road and Hatch Street either and I’m sure that they’ve done their marketing there too.

The salads were gorgeous. They were fresh tasting, interesting and quite filling. I love beans and chickpeas anyway so … yeah… good. I’ll go back and I do recommend that you try this place if you work anywhere close. It opens at 7.30am for breakfast

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and closes at five.

My fiver spent, judgement made and integrity upheld, I then had a flat white (€2.50). Oh. Yes. Well-made. Gorgeous.

Do try The Birdcage Bakery out. It’s restored my faith in the eatforafiverthing.

If you work nearby, by the way, please give Darragh next door in Soup Stop a bit of your custom too. I’d love to see these places continue to do their independent thing.

 

To end, here’s a gratuitous picture of our cyclamen …

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Lunch @ Luncheonette, NCAD

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 …

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… 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.

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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.

Tuesday

This was yesterday’s (click=big).

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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.

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And this is my flatbread …

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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):

SECOND HELPING…
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.

 

Stopped for Soup at the Soup Stop

Yeah. I know I don’t usually do soup in this blog but I’m doing one today. In any case, the Soup Stop (see their website and Facebook page) isn’t just a place that does soup: it’s actually a soup place that, for its size, does an astonishing range of good value soups.

outside

Soup Stop is on Harcourt Road, specifically that bit of Harcourt Road between the turn for Ranelagh and the turn for Rathmines. It’s a stretch that has a Bagel Factory and an Abrakebabra, and used to house The Manhattan, a legendary post night club restaurant where you could get a decent bit of fried liver amongst other things. (I was never in The Manhattan because I was one of those people who was rarely let into night clubs: wrong shoes, wrong clothes, wrong hair, wrong face, earring in the wrong ear, and so on. Bitter much? Nah! Well, maybe.)

Soup Stop is tiny, but it’s mainly a take-away place. It does have a counter and a stool and so fulfils some of my blog criteria.

intdarragh

It’s been open for 4 months or so, according to Darragh, Soup Stop’s very welcoming and friendly owner (there he is, in the pic). It’s attractive, clean and bright and a lot of thought has been put into its branding: logo, tagline, signage, menu, bowls, bags, and even Darragh’s apron.

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Soup is served in biodegradable cups or bowls that come in two sizes: 12oz and 16oz. For a while these cost €3.39 and €3.69 respectively. For that you get the soup, a topping, a roll and butter (or Flora), a plastic spoon and knife and a serviette. You’ll find their regular selection here and if you click on the tabs, you’ll find the toppings, bread choices and other offerings. There’s a weekly special soup (this week it was Chorizo) and on Friday, they do a Fish Chowder.

I went for the Chowder which is a little more expensive, at €4.99 for a 12oz bowl, but also includes the topping, bread and so on. Darragh also let me taste the beef and vegetable broth which is indeed a tasty creation, with a decent stock base and none of the aftertaste that you get from cheap packet-based soups. I woud guess that the other soups on offer are pretty good quality too.

The Chowder was good: thick (and not cornflour thick), with a good but delicate fish taste, discernible vegetables and small lumps of fish. I liked it. The roll was fresh and the butter was soft (there are few things more annoying than trying to spread a rock hard pat of butter with a plastic knife: *first world problems*).

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Soup Stop is in a slightly awkward place. You can’t park anywhere near it so it’s dependent on local offices for custom. There are plenty of those but there’s also a lot of local food competition. I’d like to see it do well. Darragh is likely to augment his menu with the addition of a range of sandwiches.

If you happen to work or live in that area of town, give it a go. Darragh will give you a hearty welcome and you’re sure to find a soup to suit your mood.

By the way, if you happen to be a soup fetishist, have a look at the spouse’s soup blog: Minnie’s Soup Kitchen. It’s an enviable record of dedicated soup making (and bee-related ephemera).

 

 

 

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