Archive for July, 2015

Ashes Dosa

Soooo … every so often my pal Richard, the older lad Tom and I go to Britain to watch some cricket. It’s customarily an England v Australia Ashes Test match, or a few days of it, anyway. It’s difficult to explain the allure but cricket played well contains just the right mix of aggression, psychology, skill, elegance, excitement and serenity to make watching it for 6 hours a day a very worthwhile and absorbing experience.


This year, the first test was in Cardiff. It was last week, in fact. Our tickets were for Thursday and Friday but I travelled on Wednesday to avail of reasonable fares, and found myself exploring Cardiff city centre and eventually feeling peckish. The real discovery for me in Cardiff was the existence of arcades (and a vibrant market) which have become home to a refreshing array of independent shops, cafes and parlours. (The Claire’s and Mangos and all the other international chains have been thankfully corralled into one commercial mausoleum-like structure. The main streets contain a mix of shuttered premises, bars, restaurants and banks and, late at night especially at the weekend, the centre metamorphoses into a drink-fuelled dystopian nightmare. That’s a little over the top: I just liked the phrase. It does get a little wild but, underneath it all, it’s a pretty friendly city with some lovely sights.)

castle clock tower

I was just about to give in to my hunger and head to a burger joint when I spotted Sophie’s Creperie in the High Street Arcade.

arcade entrance

What drew my attention was this …

Dosa sign

… and I thought to myself: that’s exactly what I want right now.

Sophies sign

Sophie’s is a bright, spacious cafe …


… and I was welcomed warmly by the charming and friendly Michael …


… who explained what came with the dosa. I ordered one, took my seat, was presented with an interesting table marker …

table marker

… and waited. (I should come clean at this stage that, although the dosa was going to cost me £3, I also ordered a smoothie which was going to push the cost of my visit a little over the fiver in local currency. Forgive me!)

In fact, my smoothie came first. It was the second one on this list …

Smoothy menu

… and was cold, refreshing, summery and delicious.

Michael and I chatted, about drama amongst other things. Turns out she’s a fan of Wicked the musical, so we talked about the costumes, the spectacle, the incredible impact of the special effects and, of course, the songs.

My dosa arrived and I tucked in. Still chatting, I completely forgot about photographing the dosa until I’d almost finished it. Here’s the last couple of mouthfuls …

My Lunch

I’ve written about Masala Dosas before, here, so I won’t repeat myself. This one had a beautifully spicy potato filling, a coconut chutney and a thickish tomato-based sauce (not a sambar, though). It was tasty, filling and satisfying. And did the job it was designed to do. And it so happened that I was the first person ever to have one in Sophie’s.

The other savoury items on offer at Sophie’s are …

Savoury menu

and they also offer a range of sweet crepes.

I spent a very pleasant 30 minutes or so in Sophie’s. It wasn’t busy but it was about 2.45pm when I got there anyway so it was well after any lunchtime business. I read some online reviews of Sophie’s and they’re consistently positive. So, while I’m not suggesting that you hop on a plane especially, I am saying that if you happen to find yourself in Cardiff when it seems as if it’s, as Pooh would say, time for a little something, then Sophie’s would be a good choice.


Australia lost, sadly.



I Believe in Cheap Food

The eatforafiver cogs have been stationary for a while. The day job takes over in April, May and June and the opportunities for taking a jaunt into town or elsewhere in search of cheap food are limited.

Last October, a helpful man called Sean McElroy pointed me towards a few places in the Camden Street area. One, I tried soon after but the other has been gathering dust in my inbox ever since. Until today.

In the 1980s, I worked in Montague Street, a narrow street that connects Camden Street with Harcourt Street. It’s home to a few casinos, a post office, the National Youth Council of Ireland (where I used to work), a few sandwich and pizza places, Gerry’s …


and Credo, the location for today’s extravaganza.

I haven’t eaten in Gerry’s since I worked in NYCI but it has to be one of the best value restaurants in Dublin. It’s not cutting edge cuisine, fine dining, fusion or, indeed, anything other than meat and two veg, cooked plainly and well, served quickly and designed to satisfy your mid-day hunger. And all for well under a tenner. I’ve hesitated and I don’t really want to do this but I’m going to call it an institution, unless by the time I’ve finished this post, I can think of something better and less hackneyed to call it.

Credo is a little further towards Harcourt Street beside the very popular Green Bench Cafe.


The link above will bring you to Credo’s lunch menu. Credo is also on Facebook (where its page features daily specials) and is reviewed on Yelp.

For its size, Credo has a pretty good range of offerings: pizza, pasta, soup and sandwiches, to take away or eat in, the latter in a small (seating about 16-18), but not cramped, room beside the serving area.

Here’s the inside out view …

window from in

My lunch companion today was PJ, a friend with multifarious interests and multiple talents but for whom wheat is a thing to be avoided.

We entered, and consulted a most helpful woman (with a most eye-catchingly attractive tattoo) behind the counter who explained the options and offered various suggestions for wheat-free eating. Sean (see above) had mentioned that Credo does a pasta option for a fiver. Today there were three pasta dishes on offer, two of them costing €5. One was a fettuccine dish with a creamy sauce, spinach and green beans, and the other rigatoni with a tomato sauce, aubergines and spinach. The aubergines swayed me towards the latter.

PJ chose a Caesar salad without croutons but with a little extra protein thrown in to compensate, for €4.50.

We paid and took our seats. Our food arrived soon after, served in boxes, nicely presented on paper-covered boards. Condiments and cutlery were available close by.

Of the rigatoni, there was plenty. The sauce was rich but otherwise unexceptional (I’m describing, not critiquing, you understand). There was spinach and there was aubergine. And there was a good sprinkling of grated parmesan. It was tasty and filling.


PJ’s Caesar was a revelation, his container filled to the brim with dressed leaves, both lettuce and spinach, with some tomato and a generous helping of chicken and bacon, also sprinkled with parmesan.


Here he is, getting outside it …


… and, having done so, he pronounced himself satisfied.

Credo was busy and, by the time we were leaving, there was a small queue outside. Most people ordered to take away but we weren’t alone in the dining area.

Do have a look at their Facebook page (link above). Some of those sandwiches and salads look very appetising and are excellent value.

If you work in the area, or study in DIT down the road, put this place on your list.

(It’s only when you write one of these things that you realise how important commas are.)




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