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The Two Minute Review: Toca Tapioca

What should we know about Toca Tapioca?

It's billed as a superfood, sustainable Brazilian café, set up by a Brazilian/Irish couple who used to work at Thunder Road Café next door on Fleet Street, and who it appears were backed by the bigger business to open something new next door. Their fans seem to fall hard, with frequent posts about those who visit almost every day. What were we missing...

The bright-eyes earnestness seeps from their website, talking about aunts and uncles "tirelessly making tapiocas ... on a humble farm in Brazil", and falling in love with Açaí bowls, wanting to bring "this goodness to all the lovely people here in Ireland." The thing is, they're completely genuine, You can feel it from the first smiley welcome when you walk in the door, and you can taste it in the obviously homecooked food.

What should we have?

Açaí bowls and tapioca wraps are the two big things at Toca Tapioca, with cuscuz, savoury snacks and Brazilian cakes bringing up the rear. The wraps are made from tapioca flour, which comes from the cassava root and is naturally gluten free, and the açaí comes either sweetened with guarana or unsweetened (zero). There's also a high protein 'crepioca' wrap which has an egg added to the flour.

We went at lunch so wanted all the savoury, starting with a chewy, cheesy Pão de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread), and a coxinha (like a breaded, deep-fried dough ball in the shape of a tear drop) stuffed with chicken and cream cheese, on the recommendation of our waitress. It was a good recommendation, and something to file away under "snacks to grab on the go in Temple Bar".

The tapioca wrap fillings didn't have our eyes lighting up, but we went for one with Calabresa (Brazilian cured sausage), Irish mozzarella and red onions. Tapioca is known for its chew, and if you like the texture that the Chinese call "Q" (see also boba, fish balls and Tteokbokki), this will be right up your street. Finely diced, deeply-flavoured sausage with plenty of melted mozzarella and a slight crunch from the red onion had us polishing it off in seconds.

We clocked the cuscuz with corned beef and cream cheese on Instagram and thought it was some kind of Brazilian/Irish hybrid, but no, it turns out corned beef is even bigger in Brazil than it is here. It does what it says on the tin - couscous, corned beef and creaminess from the cream cheese, but you'd want to really like corned beef to finish one off on your own.

Homemade cakes and sweets are another thing they do very well in here, and a fubá (corn flour) and guava jam cake was golden, moist and dense, although we would have liked double the sweet fruity jam - we'd like a jar to bring home actually. A lime brigadeiro was spectacular, but half of this sugary, rich ball of joy would be plenty for most.

Why should I go?

The earnestness coming from every inch of this place is hard to resist, and there's no doubt in our minds that they're doing what they set out to do - introducing Irish people to Brazilian, feel-good food, served with smile on top of smile.

Toca Tapioca

49 Fleet Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2