Brother Hubbard, on Capel Street, just north of the River Liffey, was on my list even before I set off for Dublin. However, when 3FE recommended it as “the place to go for food as well as coffee”, that settled the question of where to meet my friend Sarah for Sunday morning brunch.
Brother Hubbard is as much about the food as it is about the coffee, if not more so (although Brother Hubbard may disagree). Serving breakfast and lunch on weekdays, and brunch at the weekends, it’s a cosy, friendly, welcoming place, the ideal spot to start my Sunday morning. The food is inventive, with a Middle-eastern twist, and the menu changes on a seasonal basis. The coffee menu (all espresso-based) is refreshingly simple. It dispenses with descriptions of beans, sizes and types of drink, merely stating that the coffee’s served “as you like it”.
Brother Hubbard has recently expanded into the shop next door, which has been christened “Little Brother”. I only managed to stick my nose in through the dividing doorway, but I get the impression that it’s more the coffee-shop side of the business and clearly one for my next visit to Dublin.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
From the street, Brother Hubbard’s narrow store front doesn’t look like it’s up to much. Even stepping inside doesn’t initially give the game away. You’re faced with a crew station, where the staff greet then seat you, beyond which the store narrows a little. It’s at this point that you realise that while Brother Hubbard may be long and thin, it goes a long way back. A really long way.
The window, with small bar and four stools, occupies most of the store front to your left as you enter. There’s a cluster of five two-person tables immediately behind it, then Brother Hubbard narrows to corridor-width. To the right is a shelf loaded with delicious-looking pastries and, beyond that, another two tables. Opposite them, against the left-hand wall, is a row of five two-person tables.
If that was it, I’d call Brother Hubbard “small” (it would seat maybe 30 if everyone shared tables). However, there’s more! Through a doorway at the corridor’s end, down a couple of sets of steps, is an enclosed courtyard, with two four-person tables on the right and a six-person table at the back. Between the two sets of steps is the kitchen (left), and, to the right, a doorway into Little Brother, where the coffee is made.
The courtyard looks really lovely: bare-brick walls, stone-flagged floor and semi-transparent awnings soaring high above you. The front has high ceilings too, dark-grey painted walls and wooden floorboards. Both are very bright: in the front, the window provides the natural light, supplemented by multiple green-shaded light bulbs, while at the back, the awnings flood it with sunlight, the row of lights on the wall probably superfluous on all but the darkest days.
The only slight downside is that it can get quite loud, with multiple conversations competing with the classic jazz sound track. However, it never reached unpleasant levels while I was there.
I ordered my usual breakfast accompaniment, a flat white. This was on the large side, but not ridiculously so. I worried that the coffee, from 3FE, might get a little lost, but I should have had more faith. It came through strongly, a hint of bitterness complimenting the smooth creaminess of the milk. Sarah had an Americano, which she thoroughly enjoyed, while I followed up my large flat white with a small one (lesson: always specify the size; you’d think I’d have learnt that one by now!), which was even better than the large one. Our drinks came in lovely bright red cups, while tea-drinkers were favoured with similarly-coloured teapots.
So, to breakfast. I had the amusingly-named “Breakfast of Champignons”, while Sarah went for Eggs Menemin, a classic Turkish dish of scrambled eggs. Other options (on the brunch menu) included a Middle-eastern Breakfast Plate and Semolina Pancakes.
My breakfast was lovely: two poached eggs and baked mushrooms in a creamy, blue cheese sauce on sourdough toast, with spinach, tomatoes and caramelised onions. Given my love of Eggs Florentine, it was likely to be a winner, but the blue cheese sauce was a revelation. Sarah’s Eggs Menemin was equally delicious, but surprisingly spicy.
I even managed to get a second breakfast out of Brother Hubbard, taking a cinnamon and walnut scroll back to my hotel. This proved an excellent way to start my Monday morning!
|153 CAPEL STREET • DUBLIN 1 • IRELAND|
|http://brotherhubbard.ie/||+353 1 441 1112|
|Monday||08:00 – 17:30||Roaster||3FE (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 17:30||Seating||Tables with benches/stools|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 17:30||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 17:30||Service||Table|
|Friday||08:00 – 17:30||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||10:00 – 17:00||Wifi||No|
|Sunday||10:00 – 17:00||Power||No|
|Chain||Local||Visits||11th May 2014|
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