There's the tiniest ripple of energy coursing through the city, can you feel it? Little green shoots here and there, whispers of plans being worked on for when lockdown's lifted, existing businesses adapting to changing times. We're not going to say we're out of the woods yet, but things are looking every so slightly up. Here's what's opened in the last few weeks as well as more to look forward to...
Allta Bakery, City Centre
Unless you've been taking an Instagram detox for the past fortnight you're probably aware of Allta's new Bakery, and the fact that people have been happily queuing for up to 90 minutes to get their hands on rhubarb and sheep's yoghurt doughnuts, matcha and pistachio croissants and kouign-amann with salted caramel namelaka. It's open Saturdays from 10am until sold out which has generally only been taking an hour or two, and they're working on ways to make the queue move quicker. We are really hoping this extends past-lockdown and into a permanent Dublin fixture, and that the hype dies down so we can attempt to brave that queue. Check out last week's menu here.
DEADLY Bagel, Churchtown/Terenure
Chef Ciarán Hyland started DEADLY Bagel last month and they're already struggling to keep up with demand. He graduated from Culinary Arts in DIT in 2016, and worked in kitchens in Dublin, Melbourne and Auckland, but after two trips to New York he couldn't shake the idea of bringing NY-style bagels to Dublin.
They're handmade the traditional way with an overnight proof, before being hand-shaped, boiled, topped and baked, and they're using Irish ingredients like Glenstal butter, Olly's Farm Raw Honey and Hegarty's Templegall cheese, both in the bagels and in the whips they sell to go with them - nduja whip on a cheesy bagel FTW. They have a small team of bakers working out of Churchtown with collection from Terenure and limited southside delivery on Saturdays, but they've been so busy that they're hoping to expand to more areas in the next few weeks. Order here.
Puck Lane, Whitehall
After decades of nothing but bad deli push-button coffee, Whitehall in Dublin 9 finally has a quality coffee destination in the form of "coffee and grub barn" Puck Lane, in Whitehall GAA club. They're serving Silverskin coffee, hot and cold breakfasts and sandwiches, and say they're all about stories, both from their suppliers and their customers. They asked for submissions for their first cup design, which they'll change three times a year, and the first one they've picked is from a local couple who devastatingly lost their duck-loving 13-month-old to cancer a few months ago (read the full story about baby Zack here). They're determined to keep his memory alive, so the drawing of him and his ducks will feature on all of Puck Lane's cups for the next few months. Follow them on Instagram here.
Gurj Sandhu grew up in a family who owned Indian restaurants in Dublin (Kohinoor on the NCR, Crown of India in Bray, Akash in Blackrock), but decided to go down the accountancy route instead. A few years later, after constantly listening to his friends complain about how hard it was to find great Indian food at a good price, he did an about-turn back to food and has opened up take-away Dabbawala in Churchtown, with he and his father in the kitchen. They call Dabbawalla their "humble attempt at providing good quality, comfort food that doesn’t break the bank", and you'll find lots of the West-meets-India greatest hits, like chicken tikka masala, butter chicken and chicken jalfrezi (chicken is the only meat currently), as well as starters like samosas and pakoras. Dabbawala is currently open from 18:00 - 21:30, Friday to Sunday, but hope to expand if the appetite is there. Check them out here.
Little Honey, Loughlinstown
Little Honey opened a few weeks ago in Loughlinstown Shopping Centre, and is a little sister to catering company Rustic Honey. Everything they serve is made from scratch on site, and the sausage rolls, cinnamon swirls and cookie sandwiches are calling us. Coffee is from Imbibe, and they're currently waiting on a patisserie fridge to arrive so they can expand to fresh cream cakes and coffee slices. Pleasingly retro.
186 West, Perrystown
The owners of The Laurels bar and restaurant in Perrystown have opened new coffee house 186 West in a 20-foot shipping container outside, serving JJ Darboven coffee. They say they did it to survive and to retain their brilliant staff, and they've just added a soft serve ice-cream machine. Wonder if we could get an affogato... Check them out here.
Tír Deli, Baggot Street
Tír Deli is a new sandwich shop from chef Shane Kelly (formerly of An Fulacht Fiadh, a seasonal Irish street food grill), devoted to celebrating Irish food through fire and fermentation, and putting it between two slices of crispy, chewy sourdough. He'll be smoking, grilling, pickling, fermenting, curing, braising and roasting, and they're keen to stress that the menu won't be consistent because nature isn't consistent, but the love and effort going into the food will be. From the opening menu we're eyeing up the 'roast beef', with smoke-roasted Dexter beef, onion marmalade, Irish cheddar, fermented horseradish mayo and Keogh's salt and vinegar crisps on Tartine sourdough, but would happily settle for the 'pork belly' with smoked free-range pork, crackling, seasonal greens, rhubarb relish and mustard mayo on a Bretzel ciabatta. Follow Tír deli on Instagram here.
Just Chubbys, Ringsend
While Dublin is quite literally drowning in burgers and fried chicken right now, and definitely does not need any more (see also: cookies), we're giving a pass to 147 Deli's Barry Stephens and his new food truck Just Chubbys, because if his fried chicken sandwiches are as good as his other sandwiches, the reality is we'll be queueing up for them. The American-style food truck is going to be parked at a currently undisclosed location in Ringsend and should be open in the next few weeks, and the plan is to have cheese burgers, fried chicken burgers and tacos on the menu (there's also a whisper of ceviche which we're hoping makes the final cut). Follow them on Instagram for updates.
The North County Dublin village of Malahide has never quite had a café worth travelling for, but that's all going to change next month when Póg open their fourth café on main street. It's going into the site that was formerly 'In Love Café', and our main concern revolves around getting a seat at weekends once things reopen. The opening menu features their famous protein pancakes, gut health bowls and beef brisket sandwiches, as well as every colour latté you can imagine, from pink beet chai to blue majik. Póg hope to be open for take-away only to start from Friday 2nd April.
Glas Deli, Ranelagh
Vegan/vegetarian restaurant Glas on Chatham Street is opening site number two in Ranelagh next week and this one's a deli, so you can bring all of that vegetable-based goodness home. There'll be snacks, pantry items, ready meals and desserts made by the chefs from Glas, and the opening line up will include homemade sauerkraut, squash rillettes, lentil meatballs in a puttanesca sauce dish, charred celeriac with dill chowder and horseradish mash, and a pear and olive cake. They'll also be stocking vegan and vegetarian produce from other companies, both Irish and European. Glas Deli opens at 36 Dunville Avenue in Ranelagh next week (day TBC but keep an eye on their Instagram page for updates).