Coffee shops are popping up in Dublin faster than government officials can sign off new hotel deals (not that we’re complaining), but over in Dublin 8, Clanbrassil Street has been changing so fast our heads are spinning. In just a few years it's become one of the best, food-filled streets in Dublin. It’s far enough from the city centre to avoid tourist traffic, but within walking distance, and has so many great options for coffee, cake, lunch or dinner, while maintaining a very chilled out buzz.
It's hard to imagine how run down Clanbrassil street was in the 80's. When the street was extended to four lanes, costing around £2 million Irish punts at the time, locals were very unimpressed about the changes, and the buildings that were being torn down to make room for them. Amongst those was the pub, “The Bunch of Grapes”, which according to locals was “about the only place in Dublin now that you get a decent pint” (check out this archive video gem). If only they knew what was coming! This is how we'd spend a day eating and drinking on Clanbrassil Street in 2018.
Start in The Fumbally for breakfast. Created by Luca D’Alfonso and Aisling Rogerson as a spot for good falafel, it was set up in a forsaken Celtic Tiger office building, but it's far from the traditional office space. Order at the counter and grab a seat wherever you can - sharing tables is encouraged. Their breakfast menu runs all day and we recommend trying the avocado toast with pickled cabbage and popped amaranth or scrambled eggs with gubbeen smoked ham. They use Calendar Coffee from Galway and Coffee Collective from Denmark. They also sell housemade fermented drinks and possibly the best chocolate cake in the city.
Mosey on up to Clanbrassil Coffee Shop for a coffee and a pasteis de nata. If the gods have smiled on you, the pastries might be fresh out of the oven and even a touch too hot to eat. Heaven. Sit in the window, overlooking Eddie’s grocery shop - a definite blast from the past. Both Clanbrassil House and its coffee shop are relatively new to the scene but very much cornerstones of the area.
Afterwards, walk down to Salt and Stove to peruse their artisan food stocked shelves. Since opening at Christmas, they now have a sit-in area that’s quite cosy to do a bit of work in. They also have a well stocked cheese counter and wine on tap. Need we say more?
Head back to Clanbrassil Coffee Shop for their house-made porchetta with rocket and pickled cabbage on homemade sourdough, or go across the road to Daniel, 3fe’s old-man-pub style coffee shop. It’ll take you back to the days of years gone by, eating crisps and drinking Cidona in the local. They don’t do crisps here, but there’s some mikados going if you ask for them. The short and simple menu consists of tea, coffee, toasties and treats, but this is not the food and drink offering you’d expect in your bog standard pub. The quality here is as high as the rest of 3fe’s cafes, and the crockery is gimmicky but nostalgic. For lunch, try the black and blue toastie - black pudding and blue cheese with onion marmalade, or the basic but perfect ham and cheese. Bread and pastries are supplied by the newly opened Bread Nation on Pearse St, and 3fe’s brownies are some of the best we’ve had. Pair one with a flat white for a winning dessert.
After experiencing the hipster coffee version of the old man pub, you might be longing for an actual pint. To remedy this, head to MVP, another old man style pub - the only indications that it's actually a hipster joint in disguise are the staff and the craft beer list. They also do very good cocktails.
You have a few options for dinner. If you’re in the mood for sharing, try Clanbrassil House's family style menu at €42 pp. They also have an early bird menu at €25 for three courses. The baby sister of Bastible, the kitchen in Clanbrassil House is run by head chef Grainne O’Keefe and has recently been awarded a Bib Gourmand by the Michelin Guide. They're known for hash brown fries, meat cooked over charcoal and insanely good smoked trout on toast.
Big brother Bastible is another great option, but be sure to book ahead. Its chef's menu only on Friday and Saturday nights, and this is definitely the best way to experience the kitchen talent here. The dishes are always seasonal and change weekly.
Gaillot et Gray, the French style pizzeria run by couple Emma Gray and Giles Gaillot, is another worthy dinner choice. The pizzas are topped with emmental instead of mozzarella and eating here is a casual affair. They're also a bakery by day, so if you have the time grab a loaf of their bread in the morning. They keep the freshly baked loaves by the window once they come out of the wood fired oven, taunting anyone who walks by to grab one - how jealous are we of people who live around here for all the amazing fresh bread options?
If you're looking for some spice in your life, Konkan on Upper Clanbrassil Street, is a great place to grab some authentic Indian food, specialising in dishes from the south-western coast like Konkani fish (fishcakes with green chillies, curry leaves and mustard seeds) and Raarha Gosht (lamb cooked with black eyed beans and spices), and Passion 4 Food (don’t be fooled by the numerical use) does some of the best kebabs in Dublin. We're also big fans of the fact that they offer a free meal to homeless people on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Wrap up the night with a gin and tonic in 57 The Headline. After a renovation a few years ago, it's become quite the gin destination in Dublin, serving a huge range of Irish gins and craft tonics. They also run a gin membership, where you get a discount off their gin of the week and there’s no sign up fee. No.57, their upstairs dedicated gin bar is open Thursday to Saturday.
After that the best thing to do is probably to take your overly stuffed stomach home to sleep off the immense food and drink coma.
Have we missed any of your favourite Clanbrassil Street spots? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.